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What are directory junctions?

A. Directory junctions allow you to join folders together so you can map a directory to any local target directory. Imagine you had three folders, c:\folder1, c:\folder2 and c:\documents. Its possible to create a directory junction to c:\documents appears as a subdirectory of the other two folders resulting in c:\folder1\documents and c:\folder2\documents. 

Originally a utility was supplied which enabled the creation of these junction points, linkd.exe, however this is now removed from the product and will be supplied with the Resource Kit. Directory junctions can also be created using the Application Programming Interface but you need to write a program.

On first view, directory junctions and the Distributed File System perform some of the same roles as they both give the appearance of a single directory tree which actually consist of multiple, distributed folders however there are differences:

  • DFS utilitizes the Active Directory to store its information
  • Thanks to its Active Directory root Dfs can provide fault tolerance and load balancing, directory junctions cannot provide either of these although in a local context its not so necessary
  • DFS is more geared to merging network resources into a single namespace where as directory junctions only link local machine resources
  • DFS can work using multiple file systems but directory junctions rely on NTFS 5.0
  • DFS requires a client piece, directory junctions don’t

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