Windows 7 Forums
Welcome to Windows 7 Forums. Our forum is dedicated to helping you find support and solutions for any problems regarding your Windows 7 PC be it Dell, HP, Acer, Asus or a custom build. We also provide an extensive Windows 7 tutorial section that covers a wide range of tips and tricks.

Windows 7: Windows Explorer does not follow Symbolic Links

19 Mar 2015   #1

Windows 7 x64
Windows Explorer does not follow Symbolic Links

I have several symbolic links (SYMLINKS) to php files. Until recently when I clicked on the symbolic link, Windows would follow the link and open the php file with an editor. Now it doesn't seem to follow the link in resolving the file extension: it asks me to "Choose the program you want to use to open this file." When I select my editor, it opens the file properly. But next time it asks me again to choose. (Yes, I have "Always use the selected program to open this kind of file" checked.) Any thoughts?

My System SpecsSystem Spec
19 Mar 2015   #2

Triple Boot - Win 7 x64 Ultimate x2 + WinXP-mce x1

You might have installed something else recently that may have messed up your default file associations. Have you tried using the Control Panel > Default Programs?
This is a link to an interesting tutorial on the subject in this forum as well.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
19 Mar 2015   #3

Windows 7 Home Premium 64 bit

Same problem here. And yeah, I have installed something: the latest Windows update. I know that's the cause, because I noticed the problem on one computer. Then checked on a different one, and no problem there. I immediately applied Windows update to the second machine, and... bam! Explorer no longer resolves symbolic links. Other programs deal with links just fine, but not explorer or alternative file browsers that avail themselves of the services provided by the Windows shell. Bravo Microsoft!
My System SpecsSystem Spec

20 Mar 2015   #4

Windows 10, Windows 8.1 Pro, Windows 7 Professional, OS X El Capitan

I experience the same problem too.

With a System Restore to a earlier date, I was not able to duplicate this issue, thus I can positively confirm that there currently stands a bug with regards to Symbolic Link behaviour in Windows Explorer, introduced after a recent Windows 7 update.

As a work-around for now: if you would like to navigate to a linked file through Explorer, and you require a programme to access that link, consider using a Hardlink.

If you absolutely require Symbolic Links to function properly under Explorer, you may choose to System Restore to an earlier date.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
27 Mar 2015   #5

Windows 7 Pro x64
"Symbolic links?" "Choose * program * open * file" -linux

I'm having issues too. Searching using the above query in this post title yields this as the only search result, and it's only a few days old, possibly further suggesting it was a recent update.

My issue is that when pointed to an executable causes the "Choose a program" dialog. They do appear to be working for other file types.

From 3/12/2015 to 3/26/2015 the only update, besides MSE Definitions, was KB2952664 installed on 3/24/2015. The update was released on 4/16/2014 but Microsoft has continued to silently re-release it every few months. Nobody seems to know what it does.

On 3/12/2015, 45 Updates were installed. The logs show KB2952664 was to be included but failed. It was successfully installed until 3/24/2015. Going through my logs show's that this update continually installs then a few days later (Once even just hours later) uninstalls itself? Here's what I'm seeing.
  • Installed: 03/24/15 - <06 Reboots Later> - Exists as of: 03/26/15 - <07 Reboots>
  • Installed: 02/12/15 - <17 Reboots Later> - Uninstalled: 03/12/15 - <01 Reboots Later>
  • Installed: 12/10/14 - <12 Reboots Later> - Uninstalled: 12/10/14 - <35 Reboots Later>
    • Shortest Runtime:33s ○ 8 Uptimes<=25min ○ Installed 14hrs Total
  • Installed: 11/12/14 - <03 Reboots Later> - Uninstalled: 11/24/14 - <05 Reboots Later>
  • Installed: 10/16/14 - <Insuffi. Log Data> - Uninstalled: 10/23/14 - <05 Reboots Later>
  • ReInstld: 09/10/14 - <Insuffi. Log Data> - Uninstalled: 10/07/14 - <No Data>
  • ReInstld: 08/26/14 - <Insuffi. Log Data> - Was a Direct Upgrade - <No Data>
  • ReInstld: 05/20/14 - <Insuffi. Log Data> - Was a Direct Upgrade - <No Data>
So what do you guys think? It will uninstall itself again and everything will go back to normal? Was it some other update?

I can't rollback using System Restore.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
26 May 2015   #6

Windows 7 Ultimate x64

I've just ran Windows Update and now all my Symbolic links from within Explorer are broken - each opening the "Open With" dialog box.
Rolling back with System Restore isn't an option for me. I last used Windows Update around Feb 2015 but since then there's been a lot of updates. I have no idea which one broke symlinks

@Circle, installing/uninstalling KB2952664 seems to have no effect. Perhaps that update is related to Windows 10 compatibility upgrader, GWX?

According to this thread it was KB3039066 which broke symbolic links! I've just uninstalled it (you must restart Windows for it to take effect) and my symlinks are no longer redundant!
My System SpecsSystem Spec
29 May 2015   #7

Windows 7 Home Premium 64 bit

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Shoes View Post
According to this thread it was KB3039066 which broke symbolic links! I've just uninstalled it (you must restart Windows for it to take effect) and my symlinks are no longer redundant!
Yesssssss!!!! It works! Thanks for the tip!

My System SpecsSystem Spec
13 Aug 2015   #8

Windows 7 Ultimate x64

Broken again with KB3079757 (replaces KB3039066).
My System SpecsSystem Spec
14 Dec 2016   #9

Windows 7 64bit

Hello all, i see this is quite an old thread but I thought I would respond anyway. Symlinks as of 12/8/16 were not working for us when calling Java. Mklink did not create the symlinks when viewing through Windows explorer. However when opening a command prompt, and browsing to the directory and running a dir commnad. The command prompt was showing the symlinks as successfully being created. As a test i took the command line from our shortcut target path and entered it into the command line. The applications successfully launched. When clicking on the shortcut file I'd get a file not found since it was looking for the symlink. As a work around you could create a batch file to call the symlink, or if you're using a shortcut pointed to the symlink, edit the shortcut properties and at the beginning of the target path enter cmd /c at the beginning of the target path followed by a space and the rest of your command.

On another note updates installed on 12/13/16 resolved the issue w/ Windows explorer not showing the files as symlinks.

Thought this might help someone.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
16 Jan 2018   #10

Windows 7 x64

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by fred543 View Post
Broken again with KB3079757 (replaces KB3039066).
After installing a batch of back updates I see this is broken again. Does anyone know which update broke it this time?

My System SpecsSystem Spec

 Windows Explorer does not follow Symbolic Links

Thread Tools

Similar help and support threads
Thread Forum
Symbolic Links - Copying
Greetings, I have a large number of symbolic links (soft links) on my PC that I want to migrate to a new machine with an identical directory structure. When I use various backup or copy programs that clone files (bit copy), the symbolic links do not work on the target machine (they get...
General Discussion
Symbolic links, how can personal folders move-point to another drive
Hi friends! My question is about symbolic links (janction) One from the reasons to use them is when you are out of space, so you can move folders with a lot of data to another drive e.g music, videos etc... eg. mklink /j "C:\Users\Name\My music D:\Music, so that personal folders point...
Windows 7 to 10 upgrade with SSD main / HDD Symbolic Links
I am interested in upgrading from Windows 7 Pro x64 to Windows 10, however my current installation has been customized and tweaked to minimize unnecessary storage on my main SSD. Currently I have a few symbolic links within my appdata pointing to a simulated appdata on my HDD storage drive. I also...
Installation & Setup
A quick question about symbolic links
I read that when using symbolic links you shouldn't replace "Program Files" or "Program Files (x86)" with one because it can mess with OS upgrades, but does that apply to sub-folders inside "Progam Files" or "Program Files (x86)"? I ask this because I was planning on moving my OS onto and SSD and I...
General Discussion
Please help me set up symbolic links in Windows 7
Hi, I have thoughT about using symbolic links in my system for the data I store from my Android devices. I have read about it on internet and I understand that there are several ways to create them. Which way is the better one? The DOS method or the method using 3rd party applications? What are...
General Discussion

Our Sites

Site Links

About Us

Find Us

Windows 7 Forums is an independent web site and has not been authorized, sponsored, or otherwise approved by Microsoft Corporation. "Windows 7" and related materials are trademarks of Microsoft Corp.

Designer Media Ltd

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 21:19.
Twitter Facebook Google+