I just noticed today that windows 7 folder shortcut manages to stay point to the folder even when the folder it points to changes location.

Since when has this feature being available and what's done behind the scene?

I also discovered today that that MS Office's recent documents manage to open even when I moved the file with Windows Explorer.

Are these the same feature? Is it an OS feature? Does it involves file system change? How does the OS or the office manage to follow files?

1 Answer 1


Since Windows 95, the OS has had the capability to repair shortcuts.

Starting with NT, the shortcut doesn't just store a path, but an Object ID. Then Windows uses the Distributed Object Tracking service to relink the shortcut.


  • So it should already be there for the average consumer since Windows XP? I didn't notice it at all. :p So I guess the recently opened file has recently gained this capability? I'm almost certain that wasn't the case two years ago.
    – huggie
    Commented Jan 21, 2012 at 9:14
  • I guess for a long time I've used to run FAT for Linux compatibility, and I don't usually use shortcuts. That's why I didn't notice.
    – huggie
    Commented Jan 21, 2012 at 10:07
  • @huggie: Under Windows 95, it would just search certain paths for a match. It was just a shortened find routine. And it popped up a dialog box IIRC, unlike now.
    – surfasb
    Commented Jan 21, 2012 at 19:21

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