Summary: If a user copies one link inside a DFS share into another link in that same DFS share, what happens? Also, what happens if a user copies a DFS link into a local folder on the hard drive or their Desktop?

For our small-medium business Windows domain environment, I would like to set up departmental folders for our office files. Something like this...

(E: drive being a volume on a server)
(etc., with one folder for each department)

We have one DC (Windows Server 2012 R2) and about 35 Windows 7/10 workstations.

The problem with just creating a share to the Company folder and having users map that share name to a local drive letter (with the Windows NTFS permissions set correctly on those folders inside Company) is that, if the user has access to multiple department folders, they could copy one department folder into another, and there is no easy/non-kludgy way to prevent that in Windows that I know of (because if I prevent users from creating folders inside the department's folder, that's not very useful).

I am hoping that with DFS, if a user tries to move or copy a link inside the DFS folder/root into another link folder in that DFS root (for example, if a user accidentally drags-and-drops one folder into another), the most that will happen is a shortcut will be created in that destination link in DFS and the actual source folder will be unaffected.

In my example, inside the DFS root would be a link for each departmental folder: a link for the Accounting folder, a link for the HR folder, etc.

Is this the way dragging and dropping links in a DFS root/folder works? I am hoping not to have to go to all the trouble of installing and setting up a DFS just to answer this question.

Also, what happens if a user accidentally drags a DFS link from the DFS root to, say, their desktop? Does that DFS link disappear from the DFS root/folder?

  • 1
    DFS-N Doesn't add an additional filesystem ACLs or protection. If you can't do what you want with filesystem permissions DFS-N isn't going to help you.
    – Zoredache
    Dec 13, 2019 at 2:44

1 Answer 1


Thanks, Zoredache.

I was hoping DFS would have different behavior when it comes to dragging-and-dropping and copying links, but it sounds like it behaves exactly the same way as a Windows folder, so that means the entire contents of, say, the Accounting folder could get copied to the HR folder by a user.

I have an idea, however, and it doesn't involve DFS.

The E drive will contain the Company folder.

Inside the Company folder, there are SHORTCUTS to the departmental folders (HR, Accounting, etc.).

These shortcuts will be read-only to the users. This way, if a user accidentally tries to copy the HR folder into the Accounting folder (and they will do this!), the worst that happens is the user copies the SHORTCUT into the destination, NOT the entire HR folder!

And, as a bonus, any user who has access to the Accounting folder will only see a HR folder shortcut, but won't be able to open the HR folder if they double-click on that shortcut.

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