Duplicate File Hard Linker

Martin Brinkmann
Sep 25, 2010
Updated • Feb 28, 2011
Software, Windows, Windows software

Users have several options to deal with duplicate files. They can run duplicate file finders to find and delete them, handle duplication issues manually or, delete the duplicate files and replace them with hard links so that the operating system and software can still access the files in every location they had been stored in.

Duplicate Commander is a tool that can do that. I reviewed it a few days back, and a commenter mentioned the application Duplicate File Hard Linker in the comments.

Duplicate File Hard Linker is a command line tool, that can replace duplicate files with hard links. The program basically runs recursively through folders on one partition to detect duplicate files. Files are compared byte-per-byte to make sure they are identical, and if they are all duplicate files are deleted and replaced with hard links.

If you have read carefully you have noticed that Duplicate File Hard Linker can only perform that operation on a single partition. That's the main difference to Duplicate Commander, which does not have that restriction.

Then again, Duplicate File Hard Linker is a command line utility which means it can be used in batch files and other scripting languages to automate the duplicate file finding process.

Command Line Parameters


dfhl [options] [path] [...]
/? Displays the command line help.
/a File attributes must match for linking. Files with different file attributes will be ignored.
/d Debug Mode, extended output of console.
/h Process hidden files. Hidden files will be skipped per default.
/j Also follow junctions (=reparse points) in file system. Per default, junctions will be skipped and not followed.
/l Process Hard Links for Files. If not specified, tool will just read (test) for duplicates.
/m Also Process small files <1024 bytes, they are skipped by default. /o List duplicate file result to stdout. /q Silent Mode. /r Runs recursive through the given folder list. /s Process system files. System files will be skipped per default if this option is ommitted /t Time + Date of files must match before comparing files. /v Verbose Mode /w Print further statistics after processing


* Hard Links can only be created on same partition. A permission overriding link creation is not possible due to physical limitations.
* Only NTFS is supported as file system for hard links.
* All hard linked files share the same set of file attributes, security descriptors and timestamps. Changes on one file Meta attribute will reflect to the other linked file immediately. This is limited by the underlying file system.
* When removing files which are hard linked, the space will only be freed on hard drive when the last reference of the file is going to be removed.
* Already linked files can not be linked again to gain space - of course...

duplicate files
duplicate files

The last update of the program dates back to 2006. Despite that, it works fine on Microsoft's latest operating systems Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2. May require an elevated command line prompt. The command line utility can be downloaded from the developer's site.


Tutorials & Tips

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