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I could be wrong, but I'm yet to hear a valid argument for the exploitability that these things deliver...outweighing their very dubious / debatable functionality. They seem to me to be marginally handy, but I don't think I have any need for them. I do have a need for security, however.

How can I delete their entire functionality permanently from my hard drive, please? Microsoft only has pages on how to create them; which seems almost peculiar to the point of being dubious (at least, to me...)


And just a dumb command line question, am I correct in assuming fsutil hardlink list c: will enumerate every single hardlink on that drive?

C:\Windows\system32>fsutil hardlink list c:
\Windows\System32

Also, how do I delete symbolic links please ;)

But I'd just rather have all symbolic linking and recursion-creating stuff removed, if that's possible?

C:\Windows\system32>fsutil behavior query symlinkevaluation
Local to local symbolic links are enabled.
Local to remote symbolic links are enabled.
Remote to local symbolic links are disabled.
Remote to remote symbolic links are disabled.
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4 Answers 4

You cannot remove/disable/or inhibit the functionality of links in NTFS. It's a feature of the base file-system. I am a bit curious as to why you're wanting to disable them. Symbolic & Hard links both have been used for decades in varying forms. As far as exploitability goes... if a virus/hacker/??? can get access to the file system with sufficient privileges to create/delete them... you have far more things to worry about.

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So what is preventing a hacker who lands a single file on your system, the kind of file that self-replicates like Stuxnet's autoplay.ini and the desktop.ini that copies itself to every folder on my hard drive and tries to jump onto every CD I burn, every USB (anything) that is plugged in... ..from doing this. C:\Windows\system32>fsutil behavior query symlinkevaluation Remote to remote symbolic links are enabled I'm tired so probably not stating the case all that well, but if someone can disguise files on my drive which I can't delete...because I can't find them...it seems to be a problem –  jonny Apr 29 '11 at 13:51
    
What does that have to do with symlinks? A self-replicating virus is a virus that replicates itself... symbolic links only provide multiple "mount-points" to the same directories/files. –  TheCompWiz Apr 29 '11 at 13:59
    
I mean, it just seems like unnecessary hassle, no genuine benefit for me; but hassle at BEST, danger at worst. Simple risk/reward says locking the functionality in makes no sense> I'm having trouble accepting the answer actually, and I'll explain why: What would be the point of the output quoted in my question, if your answer is correct? Something that is enabled should be able to be disabled, it stands to reason. –  jonny Apr 29 '11 at 13:59
    
A mountpoint on your computer to my computer is very different from a file replicating itself on my computer, is it not? –  jonny Apr 29 '11 at 14:00
    
The simplest reason to use symbolic links is so that you don't need 50 copies of the same files in 50 places. Create the files one time, and allow everything to use them where they expect to find them. In a practical example... "C:\Documents and Settings" in windows 7 is a symbolic link to "C:\Users"... simply to offer backwards compatibility with older applications that would look in the wrong place for files. –  TheCompWiz Apr 29 '11 at 14:02

You can't. Windows Vista and later actually actively use these filesystem features internally (an example is Vista/7's %SystemDrive%\Documents and Settings junction).

Symbolic links already require elevated (high-integrity) privileges for them to be created.

Think of these objects as "shortcuts". They allow Windows to store a single copy of some data on disk, and create pointers to it where needed. They cannot be "turned off", nor would it necessarily be a good idea if it was possible.

Windows XP was the last operating system to support operation without any of these features, because it can be installed on a FAT32 drive. FAT32 is much slower than NTFS, much less reliable in case of a system crash, and does not support security permissions.

NTFS added journaling (stability & reliability), filesystem-level permission support, and POSIX-style linking support (symlinks and hardlinks), which have existed in Unix/Linux for years.

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Why would you want to remove all of them? The OS uses them to refer to the same physical file (actually data on the disk) from various other locations on the drive. There is really no harm in them.

However, you can remove them just like you would any other file or directory, with the "del" or "rd" command in the Command Prompt screen, respectively (you may need an elevated Administrator Command Prompt for some).

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I have accidentally made junctions points that look like duplicates of certain folders. My documents is an example. In the folder, I can see two my documents icons, one has a little blue arrow in the icon. The other doesnt. The one with w blue icon will not open and says "access denied" the other my documents opens and works functionally. I fixed this by going to: control panel > appearance and personalization > folder options > "Show hidden files and folders".

When you click on that, a properties box pops up and there are three tabs at the top, "general" "view" and "search". Click on the "View" tab. There are alot of folder options with check boxes to the left of them, check means it's enabled and uncheck means the option is disabled.

There is one that says - "Hide protected operating system files (Recommended)" The default, standard is checked. This is why it says "recommended". One day I accidentally unchecked it, and that's when I got all the junction points. So simply check that box, and hit "Apply" to apply these new settings to folders. It worked for me.

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