[Python-Dev] cpython: Issue #12715: Add an optional symlinks argument to shutil functions (copyfile,

Brian Curtin brian at python.org
Fri Dec 30 20:51:33 CET 2011

On Fri, Dec 30, 2011 at 13:39, Antoine Pitrou <solipsis at pitrou.net> wrote:
> On Fri, 30 Dec 2011 13:29:36 -0600
> Brian Curtin <brian at python.org> wrote:
>> Can we expect that readers on Windows know how os.symlink works, or
>> should the stipulations of os.symlink usage also be laid out or at
>> least linked to from there?
> I assume it won't make a difference in real life, since symlinks are
> quite rare under Windows.
>> Basically, almost everyone is going to get an OSError if they call
>> this on Windows. You have to be on Windows Vista or beyond *and* the
>> calling process has to have the proper privileges (typically gained
>> through elevation - "Run as Administrator").
> I still haven't managed to use symlinks under Windows 7, myself.
> The recipes I've tried didn't work.

This might be a place where an image in the documentation would be
helpful. I don't think we do that anywhere else, but maybe I could add
it to the (sorely out of date and in need of a rebuild) Windows FAQ?

What you need to do on Win7 is go to Start > All Programs >
Accessories > Command Prompt, but right click on it instead of left
click. Choose "Run as Administrator", then it'll make you choose yes
or no to elevate privileges. At that point, deep in the heart of
everyone's favorite operating system, it should acquire the
SeCreateSymbolicLink user privilege. After that, os.symlink should
work fine.

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