Super User is a question and answer site for computer enthusiasts and power users. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I love Total Commander. I love Cygwin. But they are not always friends. One thing that bugs me, is the way symlinks work in Cygwin. Suppose I do this:

$ ln -s my/path/to/nirvana budhism

And then do: (because cygwin won't let me view budhism)

$ cmd
Microsoft Windows [Version 6.1.7601]
Copyright (c) 2009 Microsoft Corporation.  All rights reserved.

C:\projects>type budhism
!<symlink> ■m y / p a t h / t o / n i r v a n a

See? I guess a windows .lnk file might have also done the trick, but no, we have a special file here. Wouldn't it be nice if Total Commander would recognize that file as the file/folder it points to?

Is there a plugin for this?

share|improve this question
By the way on "viewing" symlinks, you might want to check out file budhism or stat budhism, if you want to get info about a symlink – Alois Mahdal Mar 23 '12 at 0:23
We all love Total Commander! – SolarWind Sep 25 '14 at 12:38
This isn't just a Cygwin symlink problem. Total Commander can't copy symlinks created with the Windows native mklink command. – Dan Dascalescu Mar 3 '15 at 7:20
up vote 1 down vote accepted

I hate to say, but I believe you can't do it, at least not in a reliable way. This is about Windows vs. symbolic links vs. Cygwin.

Symbolic links as they work in Linux are on filesystem level. The fact that they work with Cygwin is just that it's able to "lie to itself" with help of these special files you mention.

Although there is similar facility on Windows/NTFS, which might suggest that Cygwin could make use of them, there are so many drawbacks (they work differently on XP than on Vista+; they don't work at all with FAT partitions...) that it's reasonable that Cygwin developers chose not to use them for this simulation.

  • on Vista+ you can use mklink or mklink /d to create symlink to file or directory, respectively
  • on XP you can create junction, (which is like symlink but it only works for directories), but you have to use external tool for that (e.g. Sysinternals' junction.exe)

While I could imagine either a package for Cygwin that would make it use different technique (probably some hardcore black magic), I would be surprised if in the small overlap of Cygwin/TC users there was a developer willing to do such thing.

I also love TC. When I'm on Windows, it's my both hands. But with Cygwin, best advice I can give you are:

  • learn to use some Linux shell—e.g bash works on pretty every OS a mortal can find on Earth
  • learn to use Midnight Commander—a popular console file manager. It operates on the same basis as TC and is almost as ubiquitous as bash

As a bonus, these are both console things, so you'll be able to use them under remote ssh connection, which is a must if you ever get work with remote UNIX-like machine.

share|improve this answer
sorry for accepting your answer so late. I had actually totally forgotten about it. I just found it, when googling for this problem. And then, just before I closed the browser tab, I went, wait-a-minute: Did I edit the question at some time or why is my name there? NO WAY! That is actually a question my past-self asked... So TIL, I'm still no smarter than I was more than a half a year ago. Way to go, Daren. You are really making progress! – Daren Thomas Nov 14 '12 at 12:40

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.