NTFS Junction Points

The NTFS file system used by Windows operating systems includes NTFS (New Technology File System) junction points. In essence, junction points are a kind of symbolic link that lets you join one directory to another inside the same file system.

In this article, we will explore NTFS Junction Points, it’s architecture diagram, their use cases, example code in C#, and their benefits as well.

NTFS Junction Points

The main purpose of junction points is to build directory-level links, which let you change the path's destination to another location on the same volume. This can be helpful in a variety of situations, including organizing files and folders, relocating data without disrupting current pathways, and maintaining compatibility with older software that requires certain file locations.

Architecture Diagram of NTFS Junction Points


Use Cases of NTFS Junction Points

Here are some actual instances showing how to use NTFS junction points−

Redirecting User Profile Folders − User profile folders can be redirected in Windows because they normally live in the "C:\Users" directory. However, you can establish a junction point that routes the "C:Users" directory to the correct place in situations when you want to keep user profiles on a different drive or partition. You can do this to isolate user data from the system drive, making backups simpler, enhance performance, or make room on the system drive for restricted storage.

Moving Game Installations − A lot of contemporary video games need a lot of storage space. Installations for games may by default be located in the "C:\Program Files" or "C:\Program Files (x86)" directory. You can make a junction point that directs the game installation directory to the desired location if you have a separate drive set aside for game installations. This enables you to keep your games organized, independent of the system disc, and still accessible via the paths they were installed using.

Rearranging Media Libraries − You can utilize NTFS junction points to create a unified representation of your media if you have a sizable media library that contains music, movies, or other multimedia items dispersed across numerous folders. You might, for instance, have music files spread across different directories like "C:\Music" and "D:\Music." You may easily access all of your music files without having to navigate through numerous folders by creating a junction point at a central location, such as "E:\Media", that links to both directories.

Folder Syncing and Mirroring − Junction points might be useful for synchronizing or mirroring particular folders between various discs or locales. For instance, you might want to preserve a synchronized copy of a folder holding vital documents on a portable disc if it is located on your local drive. Any modifications made to the original folder will automatically be reflected in the mirrored folder on the detachable drive by building a junction point that connects it to the drive.

Shared Network Devices − NTFS junction points can be used in network contexts to grant shared access to particular files or directories. For instance, if you have a shared network drive "Z:", you can designate junction points inside of it that connect to other network folders, enabling users to access those folders with ease while preserving a uniform directory structure.

Benefits of NTFS junction points

NTFS junction points have a number of benefits and can be helpful in a variety of circumstances. Here are a few current instances that show the benefits of NTFS junction points−

  • File and folder organization − Junction points let you arrange files and folders logically without actually moving them.

  • Application Compatibility − Some programs may need that files to be kept in particular directories. You can maintain the files in their original locations while rerouting the paths to the necessary folders by utilizing junction points. Because specified file paths are used by older software, this guarantees compatibility.

  • System drive management − Management of the space on your system disc may be facilitated by the use of NTFS junction points.

  • Collaboration and Sharing − By enabling many users or groups to access and work with the same set of data without actually copying them, junction points can enhance collaboration and sharing.


The following C# code demonstrates the creation of an NTFS junction point using the System.IO namespace's CreateJunctionPoint function. The code takes the original directory path and the desired junction point path as input. It checks if the original directory exists and if the junction point path is available.

using System;
using System.IO;

class Program
   static void Main()
      string originalPath = @"C:\OriginalDirectory";
      string junctionPath = @"C:\JunctionPoint";

         CreateJunctionPoint(originalPath, junctionPath);
         Console.WriteLine("Junction point created successfully.");
      catch (Exception ex)
         Console.WriteLine("An error occurred: " + ex.Message);

   static void CreateJunctionPoint(string originalPath, string junctionPath)
      if (!Directory.Exists(originalPath))
         throw new DirectoryNotFoundException("Original directory does not exist.");

      if (Directory.Exists(junctionPath))
         throw new IOException("Junction point path already exists.");


      using (var junctionHandle = Directory.Open(junctionPath, FileMode.Open))
         var reparseDataBuffer = Encoding.Unicode.GetBytes($"Microsoft Corporation\0{originalPath}\0");
         using (var handle = new SafeFileHandle(junctionHandle.DangerousGetHandle(), true))
               NativeMethods.DeviceIoControl(handle, NativeMethods.FSCTL_SET_REPARSE_POINT, reparseDataBuffer, reparseDataBuffer.Length, IntPtr.Zero, 0, out _);


Junction point created successfully.


A useful component of the NTFS file system in Windows operating systems is the junction points. They give a method to build directory-level linkages inside the same volume, with a number of benefits and applications.

NTFS junction points enable flexible file and folder organization without the need to move things around physically, facilitating logical organization and quick access to data. By rerouting file paths, they also offer program compatibility, guaranteeing that older software that relies on specific places can still run smoothly.

Updated on: 17-Jul-2023


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