How to deal with The target of the symbolic link doesn’t exist

The other day I came across a Hyper-V host server where an OS crash had occurred. A new OS install was made on the C: drive. After the rebuild, the D: drive’s VMs (VHDX’s etc.) were visible and appeared to be fully available, but when an attempt was made to import the existing VMs or even access the files, the following error message was displayed:

"The target of the symbolic link doesn't exist"

Trying to access the with Windows Explorer gave an Error 0x80070780: The File cannot be accessed by the system.

The following observations were made:

In Windows Explorer, the files appeared with the attributes “APL”, which stands for:

  • L = Reparse Points
  • P = Sparse File

The command attrib was attempted to remove the L and the P, but no avail:

An interesting note, Windows Explorer had “Reparse Points” and “Sparse File” attributes, but looking at Attrib, it saw the files as symbolic links. It threw me off, but looking at how Windows Explorer saw the file started me down the path of Deduplication.

Looking at, we see that Windows Deduplication works with reparse points, so perhaps this data drive had deduplication turned on for data drive.

On that note, the Data Deduplication feature was installed, the server restarted, and YES!!! All the large files (VHDX, ISO, etc.) were available!!

To disable DeDuplication:

If DeDuplication is disabled, it doesn’t actually undo the work that was done, and if it is disabled, garbage cleanup commands can’t be run.

It’s VERY Important that Deduplication is left enabled, but leave the entire drive Excluded.

Once that’s done, run the following two commands (which will take quite a bit of time depending on how much data there is).

The unoptimise command:

Start-DedupJob -Volume  -Type Unoptimization

Check the status:


Clean up the Garbage:

Start-DedupJob -Volume -Type GarbageCollection

Once both above commands are run, you can remove the deduplication role from the server.

Setting the Network Profile in Windows 2012 or higher

I recently had a non-domain joined edge Windows 2016 machine with two separate NICs that I needed to set different Windows Firewall settings to. Why? For instance, I wanted to allow RDP for the Internal NIC, and not allowing it for the External one, etc. The problem was, the NICs were set with the wrong network profile, the external public facing one was set to Private, and the other was reversed as shown in the following screen capture:

Network Connect profile - 1-1

New with Windows Server 2012 and higher, to change the network profile, PowerShell v4 cmdlets need to be used! Those cmdlets are:


Here are the results with the “Get” command:

Network Connect profile - 1

We can see the results are reversed, as the “Internet” connection has the “Private” designation, thus the wrong Windows Firewall profile is assigned to it.

To fix that, we run the “Set” command as shown in the bottom of the capture above, and the correct firewall profile is assigned!

Note: I named the external facing NIC “Public”, and the internal facing one “Private”. You can name it whatever you’d like, and identify it with the -InterfaceAlias property.

Network Connect profile - 1-4

The default profile in Windows Server 2012+ is Public. It automatically changes when you join the server to the Domain. In my instance, I was not joining this server to a Domain, and thus had to set it manually, on top of that, in this instance, the automatic designation was configured incorrectly.