I have a bunch of shortcuts on my desktop for various programmes I've installed on the computer.

Some of them I can just drag to the trash no problem, but some of them when I drag them to the trash seem to ask me whether I want to delete the whole programme, rather than just the shortcut.

How can I stop this happening and just delete the shortcut?

See screenshots below detailing the shortcut and the popup I'm getting asking me to delete the programme. (although this is shown with Teamviewer as the example programme it happens with various others too.)

application properties

popup asking me to delete programme

I have Windows 10.


Deleting a shortcut never deletes the application associated with that shortcut. If you look closely at the wording of your second screen shot, you'll notice it's asking

...permission to delete this file

Confusingly the location mentioned in the dialog is the folder name that contains the shortcut's target. You can confirm this by inspecting the shortcut's properties and observe that this folder name is present in the path of the shortcut's target. Neither this folder nor its target file are deleted when the shortcut is removed.

The reason it requires administrative permissions is because the shortcut is located in the Public Desktop folder which is shared by all users of the computer. Due to that folder's permissions you must have admin rights to modify its contents. This prevents non-admin users from making changes that would affect other users of the computer.

  • 1
    Can confirm that this only deleted the shortcut. (But the dialog box is horribly worded, it seems to indicate the file in the folder, especially since it requires administrator permission when the removal of typical desktop shortcuts don't.) – Mikal Madsen May 1 '18 at 21:24
  • 1
    @MikalMadsen agreed the wording isn't clear. The reason the shortcuts need admin approval is because they're located in a folder shared by all users of the computer, such as the Public Desktop. Any file saved to such a location will require admin rights to delete; that's not unique to shortcuts. – I say Reinstate Monica May 2 '18 at 1:05
  • sure, and you explained it clearly. still confusing from Windows UX designers :) could at least say something like "shortcut located at X pointing to Y" – Mikal Madsen May 2 '18 at 7:56

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