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Mutagen has full support for symbolic links, both on POSIX and Windows systems. Because these platforms have very different symlink implementations, Mutagen provides a few different symlink synchronization modes aimed at providing maximum compatibility:

  • Ignore: In this mode, Mutagen simply ignores any symlinks that it encounters within a synchronization root. This means that it won't propagate them and it won't delete them. This mode is supported on both POSIX and Windows systems.
  • Portable (default): In this mode, Mutagen restricts itself to propagating only symlinks that it defines as "portable". Portable symlinks are those which are relative paths, containing only safe characters, which do point outside the synchronization root at any point in their target path. In this mode, Mutagen also performs appropriate symlink normalization on Windows endpoints to ensure that symlinks are correctly round-tripped to disk. If a non-portable symlink is detected within the synchronization root, the session will halt synchronization until it is removed or corrected. This mode is supported on both POSIX and Windows systems, though please see the note below about Windows permissions.
  • POSIX Raw: In this mode, which is only supported for synchronization sessions between two POSIX endpoints, Mutagen will propagate raw symlink targets without any analysis or modification. Trying to use the POSIX Raw synchronization mode when either endpoint is a Windows system will prevent synchronization from starting.

These modes can be specified on a per-session basis by passing the --symlink-mode=<mode> flag to the create command (where <mode> is ignore, portable, or posix-raw) and on a default basis by including the following configuration in ~/.mutagen.toml:

mode = "<mode>"

Windows permissions

On Windows, the SeCreateSymbolicLinkPrivilege permission is required to create symlinks. By default, this permission is usually only granted to administrators. This has changed a bit in Windows 10, where anyone can create symlinks if Developer Mode has been enabled.

If you don't have the SeCreateSymbolicLinkPrivilege permission and can't add it for yourself, or you can't enable Developer Mode in Windows 10, then you have two choices:

  1. Do nothing. In this case, Mutagen will attempt to propagate symlinks (if it's in Portable mode), and will simply report that it is unable to do so. This won't hurt anything, and it won't stop other files from synchronizing. The only downside is that you'll see problems indicated when listing or monitoring the session.
  2. Switch to ignoring symlinks.
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