What is hard link in Unix?

A hard link is merely an additional name for an existing file on Linux or other Unix-like operating systems. Any number of hard links, and thus any number of names, can be created for any file. Hard links can also be created to other hard links.

In computing, a hard link is a directory entry that associates a name with a file on a file system. All directory-based file systems must have at least one hard link giving the original name for each file. The term “hard link” is usually only used in file systems that allow more than one hard link for the same file.

Basically hard link increases reference count of a location while soft links work as a shortcut (like in Windows) 1. Hard Links. Each hard linked file is assigned the same Inode value as the original, therefore they reference the same physical file location.

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To create a hard links on a Linux or Unix-like system:

  1. Create hard link between sfile1file and link1file, run: ln sfile1file link1file.
  2. To make symbolic links instead of hard links, use: ln -s source link.
  3. To verify soft or hard links on Linux, run: ls -l source link.

A hard link is essentially a label or name assigned to a file. Conventionally, we think of a file as consisting of a set of information that has a single name. However, it is possible to create a number of different names that all refer to the same contents.

Hard link is the exact replica of the actual file it is pointing to . Both the hard link and the linked file shares the same inode . If the source file is deleted ,the hard link still works and you will be able to access the file until the number of hard links to file isn’t 0(zero).

If a hard link is created for a text file. Then the original text file is deleted, then basically a copy of that file’s name is created, in a sense that original file gets deleted.

A hard link is a file that represents another file on the same volume without actually duplicating the data of that file. … Although a hard link is essentially a mirrored copy of the target file that it is pointing to, no additional hard drive space is required to store the hard link file.

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In the case of a regular file, the link count is the number of hard links to that file. However, Unix file systems don’t let you create hard links to directories, yet the link count on a directory is always at least two, and even increases by one for each sub-directory in that directory.

By default, the ln command creates hard links. To create a symbolic link, use the -s ( –symbolic ) option. If both the FILE and LINK are given, ln will create a link from the file specified as the first argument ( FILE ) to the file specified as the second argument ( LINK ).

4 Answers. You can delete it with rm as usual: rm NameOfFile . Note that with hard links there is no distinction between “the original file” and “the link to the file”: you just have two names for the same file, and deleting just one of the names will not delete the other.

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