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I have a bunch of "Shortcut" icons on my Windows desktop folder which don't appear as .lnk files in the powershell view of C:/users/ME/Desktop nor in fact do they show up at all. They do show up in the file manager, however, and right clicking the "Shortcut" and selecting Properties reveals that they refer directly to the corresponding applications in my C:/Program Files/ directory. How can I prevent them from being displayed on the desktop (or in Windows Explorer) without uninstalling them?

Windows Explorer view of my desktop

I tried selecting them and deleting them, but Windows prompted me for administrator permissions to delete the programs themselves, and not the shortcuts.

Prompt to delete the programs themselves. Not the links!

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I'm sure Windows will not delete the program, only the shortcut. –  pleinolijf Dec 5 '12 at 14:30

2 Answers 2

up vote 4 down vote accepted

I tried selecting them and deleting them, but Windows prompted me for administrator permissions to delete the programs themselves, and not the shortcuts.

No, it doesn't work that way. It deletes what you select. And according to your picture you've selected shotcuts, and that's just what it'll delete.

Unless of course you got some sort of weird malware, virus or program running that deletes the shortcut and anything linked to it, but that would be a first to me.

Deleting a shortcut often puts in the full name of the program it links to, which can be confusing. Try deleting just one and see what happens to the program's folder.

How can I prevent them from being displayed on the desktop (or in Windows Explorer) without uninstalling them?

Delete the shortcuts and untick "place shortcut on desktop" during installation (a lot of programs have this).

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That's how it went when I tried. I'm puzzled why Windows prompts for administrator rights to delete a shortcut from my own desktop. –  wdkrnls Dec 5 '12 at 14:37
    
are you using an administrator account? –  MalwareManiac Dec 5 '12 at 14:40
    
I am able to install programs into C:/Program Files so I guess that means I have an administrator account. –  wdkrnls Dec 5 '12 at 14:49
    
Yes, the admin rights pop-ups get annoying but then again they're a good proxy if you'd delete something by accident otherwise. They're like asking you if you're absolutely sure you want to do that. Annoying, but I confess, they saved me from deleting vital files once or twice. –  Don Salva Dec 5 '12 at 15:15

What rights are required to delete a shortcut depends on where the shortcut is being displayed from.

Shortcuts that derive from -

C:\Users\Public\Desktop C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Desktop (XP)

Require administrative rights to delete. But shortcuts within the logged in users profile do not -

C:\Users\$USERID$\Desktop C:\Documents and Settings\$USERID$\Desktop (XP)

A logged in user should be able to delete shortcuts that reside within their own profile without elevating privileges.

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