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I am supporting a legacy Windows 2000 system that contains a number of hardlinks on a shared ntfs drive. We have run out of space on the shared drive and want to know the best way to archive some of the data to free up disk space. We also want to retain the metadata provided by the directory structure.

The directory structure looks like this:

01_Data
 |-01_All_Data
    |-2012
    |-2013
    |-2014
 |-02_By_Disk_Set
 |-03_By_Problem_Number

Files in the 02 and 03 directories are hardlinks to files in the 01_All_Data directory. Just moving the 01_All_Data\2012 directory to an external drive will not free disk space due to the hardlinks in the other directories.

What is the best way to archive a ntfs directory containing hardlinks?

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Add hard drives. Link the folders on the new hard drives. If the old links are not maintained you can manually adjust them.


Even better option get a RAID controller say a Adaptec 5805,6805,7805, or etc Connect 8 2tb hard drives and make a raid 6. If 8 is not enough you can get enclosures or sata expanders and grow to 254 hard drives.

Now you have 1 giant pool of storage, then format it ntfs. Copy everything on to it and have plenty of storage.


Almost all backup software can handle links. I suggest Acronis True Image, but dozen of other software packages are equally good.

  • We will have access to a larger RAID array, but that won't be for several months. Backup software isn't a good fit because just deleting or moving 01_All_Data directories after backing up will not deal with the hardlinks in the other directories We have an external drive we can store data on. What do you mean by Link the folders on the new hard drives? – Nomic Jan 13 '14 at 5:56
  • mklink /h Link Target From a command prompt. Say you have a new hard drive G: for example. mklink /h <path>\All_Data\2012 g: Now you have a brand new hard link. /d is symbolic link and /j is a junction. Maybe mklink /h <path>\All_Data\2013 h: and mklink /h <path>\All_Data\2014 i:\ assuming g:,h:,and i: and new hard drives. – cybernard Jan 13 '14 at 13:55

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