It is not allowed to create a hard link for a dir.

But the soft like will not work, if I later change the name of the dir. How would you solve the dilemma?

Are there applications which can

  • make soft links work after changing the dir's name? Or

  • make hard links work for dirs?

  • Some systems (notably HFS+ on OS X) do permit hard links to directories, however. See this Stack Overflow post for details. Jul 27, 2014 at 2:00
  • 1
    mount --bind does the thing you want. There are also slave, shared, and unbindable mount types. You can move mounts. You can do these things recursively as well - as in, you can mount a tree and all of its submounts elsewhere as simply as mount --rbind
    – mikeserv
    Jul 27, 2014 at 4:50
  • @Tim dooes that mean the question MichaelHomer linked to answers your question? It doesn't sound like a duplicate to me, but if it answered your question then I guess it is.
    – derobert
    Jul 27, 2014 at 5:25
  • it doesn't. @derobert
    – Tim
    Jul 27, 2014 at 5:26
  • 1
    @derobert The question has been edited substantially since then, and it's no longer a duplicate. I retracted my close vote. Jul 27, 2014 at 5:45

1 Answer 1


As you have said, directory hard links are not possible.

Perhaps you could move the original directory to a different location, such as a hidden folder, and make both of your directories soft links to the real location. That way you could rename them freely, and the links would still be valid.

This shell alias may help:

function mkdirlink {
    mkdir "$directory"
    ln -s "$directory" "$1"

You may also be interested in Dantalian, a command line tool for managing files using hardlinks.

  • That is very troublesome, since it is inevitable that I need to reorganize the actual directories, change their names and contents sometimes.
    – Tim
    Jul 27, 2014 at 3:05
  • 1
    What is the problem? You just create a hidden directory somewhere and put your directories there, then link to them where you actually want them. You can just ignore the fact that you are dealing with links rather than actual directories. Jul 27, 2014 at 3:09
  • I need to swap files between directories, move directories to be children of other directories, create new directories, change names of directories, ...(any operations with directories). If not working with the actual directories but with soft links, I don't know how to keep my mind clear.
    – Tim
    Jul 27, 2014 at 3:11
  • You just pretend they aren't links. Real directories are just links to inodes, so they are much the same, just at a lower level. Soft links act like actual directories for most purposes. Jul 27, 2014 at 3:16
  • (1) When you back up a whole partiiton, will the soft links still work in the backup? (2) when removing a dir, removing a link and the contents of the dir it links to, will it be good to leave an empty useless actual dir?
    – Tim
    Jul 27, 2014 at 3:23

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