How to Create a Symbolic Link in Windows

On my Linux server, I use symbolic links all the time to make shortcuts for myself (if you need to know how, this tutorial from Indiana University can help). I recently istalled XAMPP on my Windows machine and wanted to use a shortcut so that I could access my PHP scripts from my browser. I figured out how to, but from several different sources, so I thought I would consolidate. Here are the steps:

  1. Click the Start Button.
  2. Type cmd in the search box at the bottom.
  3. Press the Ctrl + Shift + Enter keys all at once.

    Note: This opens up the command prompt as Administrator. If you don't do this, you'll get a error saying that there are insufficient permissions to create the symbolic link later on. You can also right click and select "Run as Administrator" to accomplish the same thing.
  4. A box saying "Windows needs your permission to continue" will pop up. Click Continue.
  5. Go to the directory you want to create the link in. For example:
    1.   cd c:\xampp\htdocs\
  6. Use mklink to create your symbolic link (or shortcut):
    1.   mklink /D symfolder "c:\Users\username\Documents\My Folder\"
    Note: The /D is there because, in this example, we are linking to a directory. symfolder is the name of our symbolic link, you can change that to whatever you want. And, we have quotes around the target because there is a space in the name of it – if there's a space, you have to use the quotes, otherwise you'll get an error. To see more info about mklink, simply type mklink into the command prompt and then press Enter. A help dialogue will appear.

That's it! Your symbolic link has now been created.

If you were doing this in order to run a PHP script locally, here's how… Let's assume that your filename was c:\Users\username\Documents\My Folder\hello-world.php for this example. All you have to do is open up your browser and type http://localhost/symfolder/hello-world.php into the navigation bar. XAMPP is looking for files in the c:\xampp\htdocs\ folder and you told your system that symfolder should actually point to My Folder, so the hello-world.php script is found.


November 25, 2014, 2:49 am
Awesome, worked perfectly. Saved me from a big headache later on :)
January 4, 2015, 12:49 pm
Perfect !! Super like it

Leave a Comment

Name and email are required. Your email will not be published.

This post was first published on April 22nd, 2011 and last updated on October 22nd, 2014 by Robert James Reese in the following categories: Command Prompt, PHP, Windows, and XAMPP. Before using any of the code or other content in this post, you must read and agree to our Terms & Conditions.