I am trying to create a symbolic link on my Windows 10 64bit to redirect the iTunes backup file to my external hard disk (D:\)

This is the link I added in my command window:

mklink /J "%APPDATA%\Apple Computer\MobileSync\Backup" "D:\iTunes Backup"

It didn't work fully as the backup file was still created in the parent directory (C:\) even though the same file was also created in D:\

Now I can't complete my phone backup because I do not have enough storage.

Why were two files created ?


Why were two files created?

mklink /J "%APPDATA%\Apple Computer\MobileSync\Backup" "D:\iTunes Backup"

The above command is broken. The syntax for mklink is:

MKLINK [[/D] | [/H] | [/J]] Link Target

where link is the "The new symbolic link name", so not the name of a directory including the full path.

In addition, you can't make a link where the name already exists.

If you were in directory "%APPDATA%\Apple Computer\MobileSync" and you tried the command:

mklink /J Backup "D:\iTunes Backup"

Then you would have received an error:

Cannot create a file when that file already exists

Note the error message says a file already exist instead of a folder. This is because the system sees links as shortcuts (files) and not as folders.

How do I redirect the iTunes backup file to my external hard disk?

Use the following procedure:

  1. Create D:\iTunes Backup if it doesn't exist. Now you have a target for the junction:

    md D:\iTunes Backup
  2. Go to the existing backup directory:

    cd "%APPDATA%\Apple Computer\MobileSync\Backup"
  3. Move any existing files to D:\iTunes Backup:

    move * "D:\iTunes Backup"

    If there are any folders move those as well.

  4. Go up one directory to "%APPDATA%\Apple Computer\MobileSync\:

    cd ..
  5. Delete the backup directory:

    rd Backup
  6. Create the junction:

    mklink Backup "D:\iTunes Backup"

    You should see a message like:

    Junction created for Backup <<===>> D:\iTunes Backup

Further Reading

  • Hi there! Thanks for your help. I did received "Junction created for Backup <<===>> D:\iTunes Backup" However, two files were created. One in my C:\ and one in my external hard disk D:\ - I'm not sure why? – michelleishigh May 31 '16 at 3:04
  • I've no idea. There is not enough information in your question to even guess. – DavidPostill May 31 '16 at 9:38
  • What information do you need? – michelleishigh May 31 '16 at 10:08
  • I deleted the original back up file in my C:\ and created a new folder "itunes backup" in my D:\. Opened command window in \Apple Computer\MobileSync and entered: mklink /J "%APPDATA%\Apple Computer\MobileSync\Backup" "D:\iTunes Backup". Got a message: Junction created for Backup <<===>> D:\iTunes Backup After which I went ahead to back up my phone on itunes. A backup file was created in both my C:\ and D:\.. – michelleishigh May 31 '16 at 10:10
  • That is iTunes backup doing something weird. I've no idea how to fix it. – DavidPostill May 31 '16 at 10:18

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