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A hard link is a link that directly associates a name with a given file in an operating system. Unlike a soft link, which changes the pointer when the file is renamed, a hard link still points to the underlying file even if the file name changes.
Hard links are more persistent in connecting a directory entry or file to the same memory space. Hard links resist file replacement. Having multiple hard links can result in the “alias effect” where files are known under multiple names.
Although some refer to soft links as pointers or shortcuts, experts point out that both hard links and soft links are technically pointers, but that hard links are more persistent pointers. For instance, if someone creates a hard link to a file named “cheese” and then changes the filename to “milk,” the hard link would still work. However, if it is a soft link, the link would then go to a non-existent file.