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Hard links
Authored by: thinkyhead on Dec 16, '02 04:50:08PM

... are quite unique. They are additional directory entries for a given file or folder. The file itself maintains a reference count indicating how many directory entries are allocated to it. If you delete the original file and you have a hard link to that file then the file is not in fact deleted, but only the directory entry for the file, and the reference count is decremented. The hard link then becomes the primary directory entry for the file. Only when all hard links are deleted - and the reference count goes to 0 - will the file actually go away.

Hard links can sometimes cause complications for backup software, because they treat each hard link as another copy of the same file. I think Retrospect has this problem, perhaps because there are any system level APIs to distinguish between a real file and a hard link. OTOH such APIs may have been incorporated at some point.

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