Somehow I went to open a shortcut and Windows couldn't find the target but instead of pointing the shortcut to the .exe it pointed the .lnk file handler to the .exe, so now all my .lnk files are trying to be opened by the borderlands game.

What's going on?

I'm guessing I can do it by resetting the .lnk entry in HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT, but I don't know what to set it to.


5 Answers 5


Open regedit from the Start Menu (You can also invoke the file using Run command).
Navigate to the following registry branch:


Click on the arrow to expand it and delete the sub-key named UserChoice. Exit from Registry Editor.

After this do a reboot.

  • 5
    You can even restart explorer.exe instead of rebooting. May 27, 2014 at 17:20
  • 1
    This answer is correct if it was only the user's preference that was affected. Otherwise, the HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\.lnk registry key will need to be rebuilt, as mentioned in another answer. Jul 17, 2014 at 23:15
  • I navigated to "HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\FileExts\.lnk" please note the \ in the end. This is what I see link to three screenshots. Should I delete allt hat are not Named "(Default)"? Oct 9, 2014 at 14:25
  • 2
    There is a similar question on the Microsoft KB and their solution doesn't work! This answer is better than theirs! =)
    – thiagolr
    Jul 16, 2015 at 21:39
  • Or just log off and then back in. No reboot is required for this.
    – mrTomahawk
    Sep 1, 2015 at 10:26

Follow these steps to save the Registry code below into a .reg file then import it into the Registry:

  1. Open Notepad
  2. Copy and paste the Registry code below into the Notepad window
  3. Save the file to your Desktop with the name fixshortcuts.reg
  4. On your Desktop open fixshortcuts.reg and merge the file into the Registry
  5. Log off and back on to make the changes take effect

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

;LNK file association fix for Windows Vista.
;Updated on April 24, 2007

















  • 3
    That is amazing. You are amazing. It worked like a charm. (After I logged off and on again). Oct 23, 2012 at 13:55
  • Got the message "The specified file is not a registry script. You can only import binary registry files from within the registry editor." I createt a txt file in C:/Users/jl/ and pasted the code and renamed the file to .reg Oct 9, 2014 at 14:15
  • 2
    You saved my day !
    – Jsncrdnl
    Apr 30, 2015 at 12:04
  • 1
    – 8vtwo
    Oct 8, 2021 at 7:55

The extension .lnk is associated with the Lnkfile which is more commonly known as a Shortcut.

To repair the misassociation, open a Command Prompt and type:


Press Enter and you should be good to go.

  • You the star for the day 100% worked for me
    – humphrey
    Apr 18, 2013 at 8:40
  • 1
    That worked instantly to repair damage left behind by malware
    – ppostma1
    Aug 26, 2014 at 14:20
  • This is a great tip, I'd buy you a beer/coffee if I could.
    – Tensigh
    Feb 6, 2017 at 2:12

A system restore to before the problem started will fix it, and likely any other file association changes.

Thank god for system restore points. I don't know a direct fix, but I'm back up and running.

If you can't fix it with a scalpel, try a sledgehammer.

  • 10
    If you can't fix it with a sledgehammer, you're not hitting it hard enough!
    – Phoshi
    Jan 7, 2010 at 23:03

According to what I have found on several places (like here or there), you can fix this with a registry operation.

  • Create a new text file
  • Paste the following inside

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00


[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT.lnk] @="lnkfile"


[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT.lnk\ShellEx{000214EE-0000-0000-C000-000000000046}] @="{00021401-0000-0000-C000-000000000046}"

[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT.lnk\ShellEx{000214F9-0000-0000-C000-000000000046}] @="{00021401-0000-0000-C000-000000000046}"

[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT.lnk\ShellEx{00021500-0000-0000-C000-000000000046}] @="{00021401-0000-0000-C000-000000000046}"

[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT.lnk\ShellEx{BB2E617C-0920-11d1-9A0B-00C04FC2D6C1}] @="{00021401-0000-0000-C000-000000000046}"

[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT.lnk\ShellNew] "Command"="rundll32.exe appwiz.cpl,NewLinkHere %1"

  • Save the file as "Something.reg"
  • Double-click the file

I can't guarantee that it will fix your problem (since I don't have it myself), but having tested this on my current computer, I can tell you at least that this is harmless (and reading the keys which are modified, it seems to indeed restore the behavior for .lnk extensions).

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .