Does exFAT-formatted RAM drive allow junctions (soft links)?

Started by PrestonLMcClain

Does exFAT-formatted RAM drive allow junctions (soft links)?   07 September 2020, 15:58

I read all the pros and cons of using the exFAT format for a RAM drive from sources on this website and others. One of the disadvantage of exFAT is that I can't use symbolic links. Does this preclusion of symbolic links include junctions (aka soft links)?

Also, I have a minor question about exFAT vs NTFS. From the sources I read, there seems to be an implicit preference for NTFS for Windows RAM drives. Is the 20% increase in speed negligible? Why would I need disk compression, ADS, security permissions, etc?
SoftPerfect Support forum - Andrew avatar image

Re: Does exFAT-formatted RAM drive allow junctions (soft links)?   07 September 2020, 21:08

As far as I know, symbolic links of any type are not supported in exFAT at all. They are only available in NTFS.

However, redirects from an NTFS hard-drive should work, i.e. NTFS C:\somefile -> exFAT R:\somefile.

Performance-wise, you can compare NTFS RAM disk and exFAT RAM disk with DiskMark.

Re: Does exFAT-formatted RAM drive allow junctions (soft links)?   08 September 2020, 05:43

Hi, Andrew,
I hope I'm not bothering you too much. I'm very grateful for all your quick responses and great answers. The customer service provided by you in this forum is top notch and I'm not just saying that. It really is. I genuinely appreciate it. Thank you.

For this post, I had a few additional questions. I was hoping that hardlinks and junctions were totally different than symbolic links and so they might work. I guess I could just try and test it, but my grasp of SoftPerfect RAM Disk isn't very good yet, so it literally would take hours for me to test this.

Second, I also didn't know what you meant by a "redirect". Did you mean that a hardlink (a single file) would be ok, but a junction (linking directories) would not work?

For example, would "mklink /j "C:\link path" "R:\target path" work if the C: drive (an SSD) was formatted in NTFS but the RAM drive, R: drive was in exFAT?

Are hardlinks and junctions different than symbolic links? Or, are they the same so I could use them?
SoftPerfect Support forum - Andrew avatar image

Re: Does an exFAT-formatted RAM drive allow junctions (aka soft links)?   08 September 2020, 10:10

In Windows, features like directory junctions, hard links and symbolic links (sometimes called soft links) only work in NTFS.

They differ in behaviour as to what happens when a link is deleted or its target is moved. The topic is somewhat complex, so I'd recommend checking this article and in particular the Summary section outlining the differences.

Specifically, symbolic links and directory junctions permit crossing filesystem boundaries. Your example with C:\ being NTFS and R:\ being exFAT will work:
mklink /J "C:\some-path" "R:\target-path"
Hi Andrew,

I don't know how a "redirect" is different from a "hard link" but I can verify that hardlinks and junctions do not work with exFAT even if the destination RAM drive is the only one formatted as exFAT.

It took me a couple of hours but I all tests failed. Created an exFAT image on a drive. Tried to create a junction via the admin command prompt which it did allow! It stated that a junction was created! I was so excited. But, when you click on the junction link within the C: Drive, it states that the folder can't be found. I did the same thing, making slight slight variations to the setup to make sure it really doesn't work. It appears that junctions are not possible with an exFAT RAM drive.
SoftPerfect Support forum - Andrew avatar image

Re: Does exFAT-formatted RAM drive allow junctions (soft links)?   09 September 2020, 20:36

Perhaps you specified a non-existent target folder? It works fine for me. My disk configuration is like this:

SoftPerfect support forum

Then I create a link like this:

SoftPerfect support forum

Then I open C:\some-path I see the contents of Z:\temp:

SoftPerfect support forum

Re: Does exFAT-formatted RAM drive allow junctions (soft links)?   12 September 2020, 10:51

Wait! Maybe I've been making hard junctions wrong. Does the target folder have to exist before you execute the command, "mklink /j "link path" "target path"?

I've been making the junctions with no actual folder in the final folder. For example, if I execute "mklink /j "C:\Program Files\Widget" "R:\Program Files\Widget", it would state that the junction was a success. Then, I would put the Widget folder inside R:\Program Files. Do you think that would have made a difference?

As you can tell, hard links is something new to me.
SoftPerfect Support forum - Andrew avatar image

Re: Does exFAT-formatted RAM drive allow junctions (soft links)?   12 September 2020, 15:26

Yes, that's the case: whatever kind of link it is, the target must exist. More specifically, it must exist at the time you are accessing it, since the system permits creating a junction pointing to nowhere. If the target folder is not there, like in your case, you will get 'Path not found' or similar when accessing the link.

Reply to this topic

Sometimes you can find a solution faster if you try the forum search, have a look at the knowledge base, or check the software user manual to see if your question has already been answered.

Our forum rules are simple:

  • Be polite.
  • Do not spam.
  • Write in English. If possible, check your spelling and grammar.

Author:

Email:

Subject

A brief and informative title for your message, approximately 4–8 words:

     

Spam prevention: please enter the following code in the input field below.

  *******   **     **  **     **  **    **  **        
 **     **  **     **  **     **  **   **   **    **  
 **     **  **     **  **     **  **  **    **    **  
  ********  *********  **     **  *****     **    **  
        **  **     **  **     **  **  **    ********* 
 **     **  **     **  **     **  **   **         **  
  *******   **     **   *******   **    **        **  

Message: