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Desktop and Start Program icon .LNK File Associations

    Question

  • The file associations for .LNK files on a Vista Home Premium SP1 computer have changed from their default association to another application program, ie. Internet Explorer Picture Viewer, with the result that none of the program shortcut icons or desktop icons launch their respective programs - they all attempt to launch Explorer.  Changing the file association on an individual shortcut results in all shortcuts being changed to the selected program.  Is there a way to change the .LNK file associations back to the Windows default in order to relate the shortcuts to their respective application program?

    Monday, May 18, 2009 11:21 PM

Answers

All replies

  • Hi, thanks for the post. We can modify registry to fix the issue. Let's download the file below:

     

    http://cid-4fc3e8fc77f77286.skydrive.live.com/self.aspx/.Public/lnkfix.zip

     

    Compress the zip file and simply double click the .reg file and it will some add registry entries, restart the computer and see if the issue is resolved.

     

    Hope this helps!


    Sean Zhu - MSFT
    Tuesday, May 19, 2009 6:26 AM
    Moderator
  • Hi Boogysk,

    Thans for the post.
    You can restore the file associations for .lnk filetype by running a registry fix from the following link.
    http://www.winhelponline.com/fileasso/lnkfix_vista.zip 

    I am sure it should work.
    Check it out.
    • Proposed as answer by Error_Counter Friday, May 22, 2009 11:28 PM
    Friday, May 22, 2009 1:34 AM
  • Thanks Error Counter,

    The Fix also works with windows 7.

    Cheers
    Friday, November 27, 2009 11:14 PM
  • Dear error counter,

    Thank for the post. I download your link and it just works.


    Thanks.

    Wednesday, December 02, 2009 3:10 AM
  • Had the same problem and followed the Vista and Win 7 posts on the subject. 

    One other test.  I created a "New User" with administrator permissions.  Tested all the short cuts and they worked fine.  That tells me the corruption may not have been in the registry but in the profile instead.  So I moved off all the user files to the "New User" and this has worked fine.
    Thursday, December 10, 2009 1:18 PM
  • Hi Error_Counter,

    Thanks for the link to lnkfix_vista.zip.
    It worked fine in Windows 7
    • Proposed as answer by eniwei Tuesday, February 09, 2010 4:37 PM
    Sunday, January 03, 2010 8:36 PM
  • thank u very much, my computer files changed into .lnk today, and this fix cured it, again thank u very much, after it got fixed i immediately made a new acct. here.
    Wednesday, January 27, 2010 10:52 AM
  • Hi Boogysk,

    Thans for the post.
    You can restore the file associations for .lnk filetype by running a registry fix from the following link.
    http://www.winhelponline.com/fileasso/lnkfix_vista.zip  

    I am sure it should work.
    Check it out.

    Thank you Error_Counter .
    It's working with my Windows 7 OS.

    Best Regard
    Eniwei
    • Proposed as answer by eniwei Tuesday, February 09, 2010 4:37 PM
    Tuesday, February 09, 2010 4:36 PM
  • Yap pear_tree. It's working with Windows 7.
    Tuesday, February 09, 2010 4:37 PM
  • Hi Sean,

    Your post was extremely helpful...saved me lots of stress :)

     

    Thanks for your advice. The error was fixed straight away.

     

    Monday, April 05, 2010 2:19 AM
  • Hi Sean

    Just to let you know that you have made another person very happy. After trying to resolve this exact same issue (Windows 7) for 2 hours. I searched the web and found your solution. It worked first time.

    Thank you.

     

    Saturday, April 10, 2010 9:04 PM
  • Error Counter,

    I cannot thank you enough for your simple solution to what appeared to be a complex problem!  I took a leap of faith that there wasn't anything bad in running that file, and all the darned .LNK obsession my new Win 7 laptop had developed has disappeared.  I really appreciate that your method did not involve my having to unzip stuff, access the sacred registry, etc. 

    BTW, do you know a way for file extensions to show in Win 7 without making the .LNK mess?  That's how it all began, I suspect.  I'm an old DOS user, so I really like to see what is what, and Win 7 seems to be determined not to let me know.  After all these years, using DOS, Win 3.1, Win 95, 98 and XP Pro, I couldn't believe that Win7 seems the least user friendly!  Go figure.  Perhaps I'll change that opinion over time, though.  Again, thanks, and to anyone who is afraid to just do it, it works like a charm!

    Sincerely, Gini

    Saturday, April 10, 2010 10:16 PM
  • Error Counter,

    Does it work with XP Pro as well?  I understand that it works on Vist and Win7 but what about XP Pro?  Thanks in advance.

    Tuesday, April 20, 2010 3:01 PM
  • dude, god blase you. :D
    Thursday, May 13, 2010 12:07 AM
  • Holy ____ Error counter. i cant thank you enough for this, been looking for a week (not very hard, but still looking.) and finally, finally my links work again.....im super freakin stoked....now immma go play some halo, USING MY NOW WORKING DESKTOP LINK. Thanks bro.

     

     

     

     

     

    oh i have windows 7 x64 bit BTW

    Tuesday, May 25, 2010 3:33 AM
  • Nice Link everyone I fix my problem in 1 second! thanks a lot.

    http://cid-4fc3e8fc77f77286.skydrive.live.com/self.aspx/.Public/lnkfix.zip

    Don't forget to unzip

    Tuesday, May 25, 2010 5:40 AM
  • great post worked for me thanks i been really worried.thanks agaim
    Saturday, June 12, 2010 6:54 AM
  • This worked fo me on XP> http://rapidshare.com/files/405904508/lnk_and_exe_fix.rar.html

    (both fixes and instructions)

    I had same prob with lnk and exe files.

    I can upload seperately if you are unable to decompress the rarred files.

    I'm sure it was an issue with adwatch.exe that caused the initial problem, unticking "automatic " stopped the problem recuring.

    Friday, July 09, 2010 10:40 AM
  • Error Counter that fixed the problem try for ages to fix with other things but yous link fixed it first go thanks for your help.

    Wednesday, July 28, 2010 2:26 AM
  • glummy

    Got the same 'fix' from another site and didn't fix mine.  Still searching before I reload the whole thing

    Thursday, July 29, 2010 4:00 PM
  • hey sean ,

    ur ink zip just worked for my girlfriend's laptop in windows 7 os,

    thank u very much :)

    Friday, August 06, 2010 12:24 PM
  • Error Counter: After several months of trying, your link solved my problem in just a minute.  I created a username just to thank you.  Thanks so much!!
    Saturday, August 07, 2010 6:35 PM
  • hey!!

     

     

    thanx a lot for the help....it really worked....thanx again!

    Sunday, August 15, 2010 1:49 PM
  • Thank you so much for this fix - it worked instantly - saved me much more agita!!!
    Friday, September 17, 2010 3:55 PM
  • OMG i love you guys, =D just i got one little thing, as all my programs were changed to link files all the icons are unable to change to the real ones, so i got like 50 things on my desktop with all the same icon, and it doesn't allow me to change them?  and yes i am admin of my PC...

    it works GREAT!! with Windows 7 Ultimate 64bit.

    Can i Please get some help
    byronbay_007@hotmail.com

    • Edited by 1Byron Monday, October 04, 2010 10:38 AM Edit
    Monday, October 04, 2010 10:37 AM
  • I tried the fix above with the same problem, and it didn't work for me. Is there something I'm doing wrong?
    Friday, October 15, 2010 7:27 AM
  • Try to download the registry fix file from here:

    http://www.winhelponline.com/articles/105/1/File-association-fixes-for-Windows-Vista.html

    Click on either exe or lnk from the blue box to download. Unzip and import the registry file and restart. I worked fine for me this morning.

    Hope that helps.

    Tam

    Friday, October 29, 2010 11:48 PM
  • It works like charms on my windows 7. thnks a lot Sean Zhu for help. Cheers.
    Wednesday, November 10, 2010 10:17 AM
  • thank u so much,.... it works!!!!
    Wednesday, November 17, 2010 11:46 PM
  • Hi, thanks for the post. We can modify registry to fix the issue. Let's download the file below:

     

    http://cid-4fc3e8fc77f77286.skydrive.live.com/self.aspx/.Public/lnkfix.zip

     

    Compress the zip file and simply double click the .reg file and it will some add registry entries, restart the computer and see if the issue is resolved.

     

    Hope this helps!


    Sean Zhu - MSFT

    thanks buddy its really works

     

    pankaj keshari

    Saturday, November 27, 2010 5:08 PM
  • Hey guys, its been long time. The link is working but looks like tis damaged can any1 post the reg or zip?

    BTW: what causes this issue? is it a trojon /virus? my nephew did some mess with my lappy :(


    Devudu Andari Vaadu
    Sunday, November 28, 2010 8:45 PM
  • Error counter.   Well done thanks, quick and easy fix on windows 7.   thanks again
    Sunday, December 12, 2010 9:55 AM
  • Thanks man you rock, This worked for windows7 too :D

    made my day!!! 5/5 :)

    Thursday, December 23, 2010 9:34 PM
  • Thank you a gazillion times it worked like a charm on Vista SP1.

     

    Saturday, January 01, 2011 1:40 PM
  • I am still having problems fixing my lnk issue, because I can download the zip file but it wont do anything because no programs will work.  I unzipped the file to my desk top but nothing.  I am using winxp.  I saw in another forum to use the run command and link to the location but that did not work either.  Any suggestions? 
    Saturday, January 01, 2011 5:19 PM
  • Thank You very much it really worked and gives me relief of that .lnk. I must say thanks to you. Awesome work.
    Sunday, January 02, 2011 6:33 PM
  • It's nice to actually receive a tried and true resolution for a common problem. So many posts are untried or only work for the person who made the post. 

     

    Thank you for this resolution, as I only wish I found it 8 hours earlier :(

     

     

    Thursday, January 27, 2011 1:43 AM
  • works gr8 10x
    Sunday, February 06, 2011 11:10 PM
  • Is there a way to fix this without the file. I am not an admin on my laptop.
    Monday, February 28, 2011 5:50 AM
  • It worked! Thanks much.
    Sunday, March 06, 2011 3:20 AM
  • Hey Thanks alot man i just wanna know how to get the icons back ?
    Monday, March 21, 2011 4:48 AM
  • Thanks so much! This file worked perfect on my Windows 7! I couldn't even get this problem resolved at my local tech store, this is great!

    Wednesday, March 23, 2011 1:52 AM
  • Just a quick question. Due to Group Policy, our REGEDIT and CMD are disabled at work (Yes, very complicating) Is there another way I can restore the file associations? Thanks, Shane
    Wednesday, March 23, 2011 12:31 PM
  • thnx a lot man

    you help me just in middle of my revision for exams

    again, thnx loads

    Monday, April 18, 2011 3:00 PM
  • If CMD and regedit are not available, then use Powershell.
    Wednesday, May 11, 2011 9:36 PM
  • I"m not sure if it was installing Open Office or the file search I did right before, but I surely wandered into one of the biggest computer mine fields of my career. Every icon had went all white and nothing would work. Not from the desktop... Start/Programs. Nothing. We're talking about my poor Win7 pooter going from a champ to a boat anchor in about 3 seconds. 

    I did manage to get Firefox going and finally found my way to you. I had tried every other piece of advice.

     

    Anyway, I ran the program, rebooted, and I'm back to the way it is sposed to be. I have NO idea what that fix does...but it WORKED!!!  MANY greatful thanks.

    If all of your icons have gone berserk, all with that goofy .lnk extension, all the same, and not working..grab the little restore program and run it. No guess work or buttons to push. Run it, see it say all fixed, and then reboot. All happy then! Three seconds flat.

    Mega Monster Thanks!!!

    Norm




    Saturday, May 28, 2011 4:53 PM
  • So when I hit the link I get an "ERROR" page with a link back to SKYLINK 
    Sunday, July 24, 2011 8:26 PM
  • Thursday, July 28, 2011 11:31 AM
  • Thanks Error counter

    This is perfect, I got my issue fixed.

    Friday, August 12, 2011 8:48 AM
  • Thanks alot for your technical support. As per the directions in the solution, I just down loaded the http://cid-4fc3e8fc77f77286.skydrive.live.com/self.aspx/.Public/lnkfix.zip and installed. Then I made my computer to restart. Problem was solved.

    Onceagain I thank you for your support

    m paul prasad. 

    Friday, August 12, 2011 1:24 PM
  • @Error_Counter

    It worked...! on Win 7 as well!

    thanks

    Monday, August 15, 2011 3:12 PM
  • Thank you very much Error Encounter !! you just saved my day and health!!

    It worked like magic after searching through the internet for a whole day!!

     

    Regards

    Thursday, August 18, 2011 4:27 PM
  • Hey Error_counter this file association type was making my mind sick for almost 3 hrs but coz of ur link with just 1 click and restart i was surprised to c every thing fine ,,,thank u vry much error counter bundle of thanx and hats off to u.

    for all others! it also works on windows 7....

    Sunday, September 11, 2011 11:44 AM
  • sean zhu: man i tried this and downloaded the infix file but when i double click on it ,its  registry editing has been disabled by your administrator...please give me solution for this problem

     

    Sunday, September 25, 2011 8:23 AM
  • best  and the easiest solution thanks dude you are just.. tooo great

     

    Friday, September 30, 2011 1:11 PM
  • THIS FILE IS A LIFE SAVER thank you so much :D

    Saturday, October 22, 2011 3:12 AM
  • Thank you very much................
    Tuesday, November 08, 2011 6:10 PM
  • Hello, I had the identical problem on my Windows 7 highest version. Actually how it happened> I received over the SKYPE connection a .jpg picture file. Normally I open these in Windows Live Gallery. This time, it asked me, what program I want to open it in. I must have unintenmtionally, without a second thought hit the Windows Photo Gallery (different from above)  and probably indicated to always associate it with this type of files. The picture did not open, but it changed all my icons on my desktop from .exe  to .exe.lnk  Thereafter I could not get to my programs from the icons.

    Thanks to the Post by Sewan Zhu - MSFT -- on  May 19, 2010 at 6:26 AM -- after two days of going around in circles I resolved my problem in less then two minutes. Thank you,  Leslie

    Thursday, December 29, 2011 2:47 AM
  • Thank you for your help. It worked.

    I had the identical problem as BOOGYSK on Monday, May 18 2009  11:21 PM -- on my Windows 7 highest version (Laptop) as BOOGYSK. 

    Actually how it happened: I received over the SKYPE connection a .jpg picture file. Normally I open these in Windows Live Gallery. This time, it asked me, what program I want to open it in. I must have unintentionally, without a second thought hit the Windows Photo Gallery (different from above) and probably indicated to always associate it with this type of files. The picture did not open, but it changed all my icons on my desktop from .exe to .exe.lnk Thereafter I could not get to my programs from the icons.

    Thanks to the Post by Sewan Zhu - MSFT -- on May 19, 2010 at 6:26 AM -- after two days of going around in circles I resolved my problem in less then two minutes.

     

    Thank you, Leslie

    Thursday, December 29, 2011 2:51 AM
  • Hi, thanks for the post. We can modify registry to fix the issue. Let's download the file below:

     

    http://cid-4fc3e8fc77f77286.skydrive.live.com/self.aspx/.Public/lnkfix.zip

     

    Compress the zip file and simply double click the .reg file and it will some add registry entries, restart the computer and see if the issue is resolved.

     

    Hope this helps!


    Sean Zhu - MSFT

    thanks a million mate :)
    Monday, January 02, 2012 1:28 PM
  • i have had this problem via a windows movie maker video and now everything on my desktop goes white...i have tryed the vista .lnk file but it just keeps coming up with a wordpad file? plz help me as i cannot open any of my games.

     

    Wednesday, January 04, 2012 9:56 AM
  • little late i know and you probably fixed it by now, but for those with the same issue...

    if you are unable to execute the .reg file:

    manually link your .reg files to the regeditor

    start > enter "%windir%\system32\control.exe /name Microsoft.DefaultPrograms" in the search bar end enter.

    choose associate a file type or protocol with a specific program,

    scroll down to the .reg extension

    double click the extension and double click the Register editor icon.

    if the icon is not there browse for it, it usually is located in "C:\Windows"

    now you are able to start the reg file to restore your icons

    regards,

    Marcel

     

     

    Thursday, January 26, 2012 11:10 AM
  • 3 years ago and it's still the answer. 

    thanks so much!

    Thursday, February 09, 2012 7:43 PM
  • hi bro i owe you big time i was going to restore my window. but saw ur link ..thnx a lot man....life saver

    God bless u

    Sunday, March 04, 2012 11:13 AM
  • This work too :)

    1. From the affected machine, launch registry editor (regedit.exe) with your Admin Account
    2. Navigate to below key and export to make a backup in C:\Apps (file:///C:/Apps)
      • HKEY_USERS\users key\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\FileExts\.lnk
    3.  Delete other key under .lnk, leaving OpenWithList and OpenWithProgids
    4.  Press F5 to refresh then close Registry Editor
    5. Launch Task Manager > Processes and locate explorer.exe then right click and select End Process
    6. Click on File > New Task (Run) and key-in explorer.exe and hit Enter
    7. Test to confirm that issue should now be fix

    10 cents from burn ;)

    • Proposed as answer by Paul Kappler Sunday, March 17, 2013 12:22 AM
    Friday, March 09, 2012 2:26 PM
  • thanks man!!!!!!!!!!!!!! i wanted this thing from 1 week and it worked on win7 home basic
    Monday, March 19, 2012 5:07 AM
  • Thanks man! It works in Windows 8 Consumer Preview, too!
    Tuesday, March 20, 2012 5:37 AM
  • hey thanks a lot for the fix
    Saturday, March 24, 2012 10:38 AM
  • i got it fixed right now, means today... too 

    pheew, what a relief! :P


    abubakkar

    • Proposed as answer by snipernsn Wednesday, April 25, 2012 3:49 PM
    • Unproposed as answer by snipernsn Wednesday, April 25, 2012 3:49 PM
    Tuesday, April 24, 2012 4:31 PM
  • If your using windows 7. Try this

    1. HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\FileExts\.lnk 

    Note:  Make sure you back up the FileExts folder before deleting the UserChoice Folder

    2. Delete the UserChoice folder

    3. Restart your computer

    • Proposed as answer by vykram Monday, May 06, 2013 3:03 AM
    Wednesday, April 25, 2012 3:50 PM
  • Thanks Error Counter,

    The Fix also works with windows 7.

    Cheers

    OMG.  Can't believe that the fix worked within seconds after I've spent hours of total frustration getting nowhere.

    Thanks Error Counter, I'll buy your drink any time you like.

    Grumpyoldbloke now happyoldbloke.

    Thanks again.

    Friday, June 01, 2012 3:50 PM
  • Thanks dude, i found the problem, i fixed with lnk reg file.... thaks a lot
    Monday, June 18, 2012 8:17 AM
  • Thank you so much! Works perfectly fine in Windows 7 Ultimate. Thumbs up for this info. :)

    -here at Philippines.

    Wednesday, August 08, 2012 9:35 PM
  • Thank,s man !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Thank,s...

    Wednesday, August 22, 2012 7:27 AM
  • i don't know how i did it but all of my programs even solitare has an icon of windows documents.  also i don't know how to unzip a file or remove what your instructions are telling me to do to get rid of this .LNK file. once i download a fix, i have windows 7

    can you PLEASE walk me through it? 

    Wednesday, August 22, 2012 9:02 PM
  • can u help me?  i don't know what i did but somehow all of my programs have the 'windows documents' icon, can't even open solitare.

    i don't understand what exactly to download to fix or get rid of .LINK file.  i also do not know how to unzip and then take out what? 

    would you please help me?

    thank you

    diane

    Wednesday, August 22, 2012 9:50 PM
  • once u download the infix.zip folder what do you do for it to run and return all the files back to normall

    Monday, September 10, 2012 8:30 AM
  • thanku for the post... it did work...!! thanks a lot... :)
    Tuesday, September 11, 2012 4:57 AM
  • Hi, thanks for the post. We can modify registry to fix the issue. Let's download the file below:

     

    http://cid-4fc3e8fc77f77286.skydrive.live.com/self.aspx/.Public/lnkfix.zip

     

    Compress the zip file and simply double click the .reg file and it will some add registry entries, restart the computer and see if the issue is resolved.

     

    Hope this helps!


    Sean Zhu - MSFT

    Tuesday, September 11, 2012 4:57 AM
  • Solution from Error_Count still works - thanks!
    Friday, October 26, 2012 11:17 PM
  • Hey Error_Counter  

    Thanks so much!!!! This worked for my laptop. I thought I would have to take it to a computer shop or something bc I couldn't fix it myself and all my programs and files were changed to lnk. You saved me a lot time and money. Thanks again!!!

    Monday, November 05, 2012 2:48 AM
  • Nice!

    As I'm on a computer with no administrator privilege, this solution resolved my file associacion problem.

    Great! Thanks!

    Monday, January 28, 2013 12:48 AM
  • this solution works to my user.. I've tried downloading those unassociate.exe but it doesn't work at all.. i just deleted some values under .lnk, leaving OpenWithList and OpenWithProgids and restart the whole pc.. all icons was back to normal..

    thanks a lot! 

    Monday, May 06, 2013 3:05 AM
  • So, 4 years later the link fix STILL works on Windows 7! Just fixed a client of mine who opened a link from a dropbox file. It changed all her icons to .lnk association. Ran the registry fix and it worked great. Immediately I had programs back. I was trying to figure out how to get the images for the icons back to normal - I went and changed one and all of them changed back upon refresh. I would probably suggest a reboot of the machine as a good practice, too.

    Thanks for the solution! I like things that work!

    Wednesday, June 26, 2013 9:52 PM
  • Just go to this site:

    http://www.winhelponline.com/blog/unassociate-file-types-windows-7-vista/

    You'll download a file (I swear it's not infected, tried it myself) and then be able to eliminate the .lnk extension.

    Hope this helped, it sure helped me.

    Saturday, January 04, 2014 5:50 PM
  • Awesome..Thank you I was trying to find a solution and after three days the link has saved me from a lot of frustration.Thank you..
    Sunday, February 02, 2014 2:25 AM
  • thank you very much this worked for me :)
    Thursday, February 20, 2014 2:16 PM
  • Thank you so much, I was very dubious about using this program because I don't know too much about computers, and the one drive site looked very strange to me, but it works very well and I am so grateful, I thought my PC was dead for sure.

    thank you

    Sunday, March 02, 2014 2:26 PM