IT Tips & Tricks
The Fastest Way to Fix Broken Links
Link repair software so fast, blink and you might miss it.
19 December 2022
. . . and then they get upset and complain to the IT department like it’s your fault.
Some things — such as sipping a beautifully aged whiskey or indulging in a luscious slice of cheek-clenchingly sweet and tart key lime pie (or turtle cheesecake) — are best performed at a leisurely pace. Others, such as an Olympic sprint or yanking off a band-aid, are best done at high speed. When it comes to finding and fixing broken links, you have the same choice: a snail’s pace or fast as a greased pig. Well, maybe a greased pig isn’t the best metaphor, since speed is, after all, relative.
Take the Ferrari 812 Superfast, for example. Yes, a top speed of 211 mph is advertised, but — and you can double-check this if you like — nowhere do they recommend that you actually drive at that speed. They don’t promise that you can achieve 211 mph in a foot of snow on a steep, tortuous mountain pass in the dark and expect to live to tell the tale. And nowhere do they suggest that granny, failing eyesight and all, should go pedal to the metal, do they? No. There’s always that limiter: “under ideal conditions.” And that would pretty much mean a superbly skilled driver on a perfect day with a tailwind on the Bonneville Salt Flats. (And a decent insurance policy to take care of the family — you know, just in case.)
The field of link protection and repair is similar. What’s the benchmark? What’s the equivalent to that perfect day with a tailwind at Bonneville? There are simply too many factors to consider. Are we talking about a manual find and fix? Is someone using a script to help locate and repair broken links? Or are we talking a tried-and-tested best-in-class software? Are we working on a local machine or an online site? Are we manually repairing a few links, one sub-folder down? Or do we have a terabyte of data to scan, or even petabytes or exabytes to comb through?
Release a bull in a china shop and the results are inevitable: damage everywhere you look. Links are your fine china. Migrate or rename files, folders or drives, and links get broken all over the place.
How long does it take to locate and repair broken links? Well, apart from the method you choose to use, that also depends largely on quantity. One slice of key lime pie, for example, goes down significantly faster than ten, right?
How Much is Too Much?
One company, Dean Health Systems, estimated how long it would take to manually locate and repair 100,000 links. The results were an astounding 2,500 hours. (Do the math on what IT guys cost, and the expense is staggering.)
However, we all know that nobody in their right mind would consider manually locating and repairing hundreds — forget about thousands or millions — of links.
Most people would opt to write a script or have someone write a script for this purpose. WARNING: There are a couple of downsides to going the script route, regardless of whether the scriptwriter is an internal IT guy, software developer or an independently contracted professional.
If someone tossed you the keys to a Ferrari 812 Superfast, would you go for it?
First, unless we’re talking about a really rudimentary and basic script that will only account for a small percentage of the various link scenarios, it can take hundreds of hours to even write some type of program to help you fix links faster. This is time and money through your fingers like beach sand, which is, no doubt, where you’d rather be by that point.
Second, to the best of our knowledge, no noteworthy script has ever emerged that can do the whole job. Why? Because there are simply too many variables involved. There are tons of undocumented variations in all the major file types which can’t all be handled with a single program. How do you cover every eventuality in a single script? Sure, a script can get you part of the way there, but the results are still going to require manual correction by a human. Again, there’s that huge, long-term cost factor, plus the inevitable unavailability of data until the project is complete. But this is not even the worst potential outcome.
When you’re dealing with links, you are dealing with the internal guts of file formats. When you get to that level, it doesn’t take much to trigger an unexpected result, including the types of problems that result in corrupted files.
Where does that leave you? How do you do this safely and in the shortest realistic timeframe? What’s the best approach?
This is time and money through your fingers like beach sand, which is, no doubt, where you’d rather be by that point.
Instead of waiting until after a migration to address the problem of fixing all the broken links, what if you could protect all your working links before you even start that migration project? This is one secret to the speed issue. Another secret (though not-so-secret) is to use an application written by a company that has been handling the guts of files and links for over 20 years and who has run into just about every type of strange anomaly and figured out how to account for them all — safely. Of course, such an application should also be able to rapidly fix links after the fact, in case you hadn’t found that application before you migrated. If you want your links either protected prior to your migration or repaired after a completed migration, and you want it done fast, what are your options?
No Shame in the Inevitable
Release a bull in a china shop and the results are inevitable: damage everywhere you look. Links are your fine china. Migrate or rename files, folders or drives, and links get broken all over the place. We both know how it goes.
Whether you need to protect linked data or repair broken links fast, there’s really only one clear winner.
Maybe you’ve got broken links following a migration to or from SharePoint®, or after a recent move to AWS, to a private Cloud, to Box®, DropBox® or OneDrive®. Or maybe you’re planning to make one of these-type moves and you (being the smart cookie you are) know what is about to befall your links and want to prevent it. Or maybe someone just screwed up, inadvertently moving a bunch of files from one location to another or renaming a root folder. There’s a myriad of reasons for links to break, and it creates the apparency of the linked data having been lost. Users click on a link and receive an error message that the data can’t be found. And then they get upset and complain to the IT department like it’s your fault. (And if we’re being truthful, if you conducted a data migration without taking care of the links, well…)
Hero in Disguise
Clearly, you need a solution that gets the job done fast. You want something that’ll be faster than some poor guy — or even a team — slogging away for thousands of hours. You need those complaining end-users out of your hair and focusing on their work, with none of that missing-data nonsense blowing up your department. (And much as you might be tempted to tell them it’ll take 2,500 hours to fix the problem just to see if anyone’s eyes actually bug out of their heads, you’ll likely have a rebellion on your hands, so don’t do it.)
You need a link repair tool that works — and works fast — which means you need LinkFixer Advanced™.
Want to know where almost a quarter of a century of trailblazing gets you? How about the experience that comes from processing over 2 billion files and in excess of 4 billion links? Think the guys at LinkTek know what they’re doing and how to get the job done fast so that you look like the hero? You bet.
During a recent in-house speed test, they were able to process 817.8 links in 54 seconds on a local machine, which translates to about 15.14 links per second. This is probably the equivalent of that perfect day with a tailwind at the Bonneville Flats.
Nobody in their right mind would consider manually locating and repairing hundreds — forget about thousands or millions — of links.
The human eye takes around 0.4 seconds to blink. Under perfect conditions, LinkFixer Advanced takes less than that to find and fix a link, so were one to say, “Blink and you’ll miss it,” you’d not be far off the mark. LinkFixer Advanced can literally find and fix broken links faster than you can blink. Obviously, that’s under the aforementioned ideal conditions, and your situation may be, well, less than ideal. But it’s still the Ferrari of link repair, hands down. And if you had the option of driving a Ferrari, even at slightly less than 211 mph, why wouldn’t you?
Flexing Your IT Muscles
Not only can you look like a genius for having the ability to find and fix broken links rapidly, but LinkFixer Advanced is also no one-trick pony. This powerful software will additionally allow you to flex your muscles when it comes to timing. How?
Want to know where a quarter of a century of trailblazing gets you? How about the experience that comes from processing over 2 billion files and in excess of 4 billion links?
Well, part of the beauty of LinkFixer Advanced is that you can use it either before or after a data migration. The fastest option is to use it prior to your migration so that your links are prepared and automatically protected during the migration process. But if you’ve already completed a migration and currently have missing data (and end-users that are driving you nuts), then this is the next best time to use it.
Imagine getting through a migration with no missing data due to broken file links. Imagine employees being able to randomly move or rename files and have the links remain intact. Imagine a calmer, quieter IT department where you can focus on the important stuff. It’s a whole new world.
Feel free to share this article on your social media: