They are creating shortcuts.
In our office we encourage people to leave all their files on the file server and then create shortcuts on their desktops.
Being awkward with manipulating files and shortcuts, they usually create a shortcut in the folder the file exists in, and then copy that shortcut to their desktop. This leaves a copy of the shortcut in the original directory.
I tend to ignore this, as then others who want a shortcut of their own simply copy that shortcut again to their own desktop. But when I start seeing
"copy of copy of copy of..." shortcuts, I'll clean it out.
So long as the users have copied the shortcuts and have not created shortcuts to the shortcuts, there should be no issues regularly cleaning out the
.lnk files you find.
further comments based on first response:
Yes, it is most definitely a user issue that can be solved by greater user knowledge regarding their computers.
While it is possible and even likely there are some who have shortcuts to shortcuts on their desktops, it is not as likely as them having simply copies of shortcuts on their desktops. This is borne out by my own experience and by the following: Users know how to create shortcuts and they know how to copy and paste. Cut/paste is more difficult, or at least less common, as is drag/drop, and right-click dragging to create shortcuts.
The normal user, trying to create a shortcut on their desktop to a file on a network drive, will right click on the file and select Create Shortcut, and then they will right click on that shortcut and select copy and then go to their desktop, right click, and select paste.
This results in a copy of the shortcut on their desktop. The original shortcut can be deleted without causing a problem with the user's shortcut.
To create a shortcut to a shortcut, they'd need to right click on the shortcut in the folder on the network drive and create a shortcut to that and then copy that newly created shortcut to a shortcut. In my experience this happens much less frequently because the item they're creating a shortcut to begins with the term
"Shortcut to...", which, for all their unobservant habits, does tend to prevent most such happenings.
And for those who have created shortcuts to shortcuts, finding their file shortcuts not working suddenly (after you clean the
.lnk files out of network directories) serves as a good learning experience about the difference between a shortcut and the file itself.
Then again, this is all based on my own experience. Your own users may be much more likely to create shortcuts to shortcuts. So definitely tailor your actions to your needs based on your own observations and awareness of your user environment.