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Finding Broken Symlinks in Python

Symlinks, also known as symbolic links, are an important feature in the world of programming. They allow you to create a shortcut to a file ...

Symlinks, also known as symbolic links, are an important feature in the world of programming. They allow you to create a shortcut to a file or directory, making it easier to access and manage your files. However, as with any technology, there are bound to be issues that arise, and broken symlinks are one of them.

In this article, we will explore the concept of broken symlinks and how to find them in Python.

First, let's understand what a symlink is. A symlink is a special type of file that acts as a pointer to another file or directory. It is like a shortcut on your desktop that allows you to access a file or folder without having to go through the entire directory structure. This saves time and makes managing files much more efficient.

Now, what happens when a symlink is broken? A broken symlink is a symlink that is pointing to a file or directory that no longer exists. This can happen due to various reasons, such as the file or directory being deleted or moved to a different location. In such cases, the symlink becomes useless and needs to be fixed.

So, how can we find broken symlinks in Python? The answer lies in the os.path module. This module provides functions for working with file and directory paths. One such function is the islink() function, which returns True if the given path is a symlink and False if it is not.

We can use this function in combination with the os.walk() function, which recursively walks through a directory and its subdirectories. By using these two functions, we can write a simple Python script to find all the broken symlinks in a given directory.

Let's take a look at the code:


import os

def find_broken_symlinks(path):

for root, dirs, files in os.walk(path):

for file in files:

full_path = os.path.join(root, file)

if os.path.islink(full_path) and not os.path.exists(full_path):

print("Broken symlink found: " + full_path)


In the above code, we first import the os module, which provides the necessary functions for working with file paths. Then, we define a function called find_broken_symlinks() that takes in the path as an argument.

Inside the function, we use the os.walk() function to iterate through all the files in the given path. For each file, we check if it is a symlink using the islink() function. If it is a symlink and the target file or directory does not exist, we print out a message indicating a broken symlink has been found.

Now, let's test this function on a directory that contains some broken symlinks:




This will search for broken symlinks in the "documents" directory located in the user's home folder. The output will be something like this:


Broken symlink found: /home/user/documents/link_to_file

Broken symlink found: /home/user/documents/symlink_to_folder


As you can see, our function successfully found the broken symlinks and displayed their full paths.

In conclusion, symlinks are a great tool for managing files, but they can also cause problems when they become broken. By using the os.path module and its functions, we can easily find and fix broken symlinks in Python. This can save us a lot of time and hassle in the long run. Happy coding!

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