How to fix .LNK file association error

Discussion in 'How-To Articles, Tips and Guides' started by Jack, Oct 20, 2012.

  1. Jack

    Jack Administrator MalwareTips Staff

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    Upgrading your operating system,installing or removing drivers and some forms of malware can mess up your file extension association resulting in all your programs having a .lnk extension.

    [​IMG]

    At this point,when you want to start any program from the Start menu or shortcuts nothing happens or in some cases Windows will ask you with what program would you like to use to open the .lnk file.


    STEP 1: Fix .LNK file association error

    OPTION 1: Restore .lnk default behavior

    1. Download and run the following registry fix to restore the default behavior for .lnk extension.
      Restore default .LNK behavior for Windows XP users:
      .LNK REGISTRY FIX FOR WINDOWS XP (This link will automatically download the registry fix for Windows XP users)
      Restore default .LNK behavior for Windows Vista and 7 users:
      .LNK REGISTRY FIX FOR WINDOWS 7 and VISTA (This link will automatically download the registry fix for Windows Vista and 7 users)
    2. Double-click on the downloaded file and allow the prompt from the Registry Editor.
    3. Restart your machine.


    OPTION 2 : Remove the unwanted registry change

    1. Click Start Menu, and then type regedit in the Start Search and press ENTER.
    2. Browse to the following registry branch:
      HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\FileExts\.lnk
    3. Click on the arrow to expand it and delete the sub-key named UserChoice.
      [attachment=2510]
    4. Exit from Registry Editor and reboot your machine.

    OPTION 3: Restore your system to an earlier state

    1. Open System Restore by clicking the Start button [​IMG] .
    2. In the search box, type System Restore, and then, in the list of results, click System Restore.
    3. Follow the steps in the wizard to choose a restore point and restore your computer to an earlier state.
      [attachment=2511]

    <hr />
    STEP 2: Scan your computer for malware
    Because this file broken file association can be the results of some forms of malware,we ly recommend that you perform a system scan with the following on-demand scanners.

    STEP 1: Run a system scan with Malwarebytes Anti-Malware
    <ol>
    <li>Download Malwarebytes Anti-Malware FREE.
    <a href="https://store.malwarebytes.org/342/cookie?affiliate=17877&redirectto=http%3a%2f%2fwww.malwarebytes.org%2fproducts%2fmalwarebytes_free" rel="nofollow" target="_blank"><>MALWAREBYTES ANTI-MALWARE DOWNLOAD LINK</></a> <em>(This link will open a download page in a new window from where you can download Malwarebytes Anti-Malware Free)</em></li>

    <li><>Install Mawlarebytes Anti-Malware by following the prompts</>. Do not make any changes to the default installation settings and do not restart your computer if asked so.
    <img src="http://malwaretips.com/images/removalguide/mbam2.png" alt="[Image: mbam2.png]" border="0" /></li>
    <li>On the&nbsp;<>Scanner</>&nbsp;tab,please select&nbsp;<>Perform full scan</>&nbsp;and then click on the&nbsp;<>Scan</>&nbsp;button to start scanning your computer for any possible infections.
    <img src="http://malwaretips.com/images/removalguide/mbam4.png" alt="[Image: mbam4.png]" border="0" /></li>
    <li>When the scan is finished click the '<>OK</>' button and then you will be presented with a screen showing you the malware infections that Malwarebytes' Anti-Malware has detected.
    Make sure that <>everything is&nbsp;Checked&nbsp;(ticked)</> and click on&nbsp;<>Remove Selected</>&nbsp;button.
    <img src="http://malwaretips.com/images/removalguide/mbam6.png" alt="[Image: mbam6.png]" border="0" /></li>
    <li>Malwarebytes' Anti-Malware will now start removing the malicious files.
    If during the removal process Malwarebytes will display a message stating that it needs to<> reboot, please allow</> this request.
    </li>
    </ol>
    STEP 2: Run a system scan with HitmanPro.
    <ol>
    <li>Download the latest official version of HitmanPro</>.
    <a href="https://www.cleverbridge.com/747/cookie?affiliate=17877&redirectto=http://www.surfright.com/downloads" rel="nofollow" target="_blank"> <[b]>HITMANPRO DOWNLOAD LINK</[b]></a> <em>(This link will open a download page in a new window from where you can download HitmanPro)</em></li>
    <li>Start HitmanPro&nbsp; by <[b]>double clicking on the previously downloaded file.</[b]> and then following the prompts.
    <img src="http://malwaretips.com/images/removalguide/hpro4.png" alt="[Image: hitmanproscan4.png]" border="0" /></li>
    <li>Once the scan is complete, a screen displaying all the malicious files that the program found will be shown as seen in the image below.After reviewing each malicious object click&nbsp;<[b]>Next</[b]>&nbsp;.
    <img src="http://malwaretips.com/blogs/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/rsz_hpro5.png" alt="[Image: hitmanproscan5.png]" border="0" /></li>
    <li>Click&nbsp;<[b]>Activate free license</[b]>&nbsp;to start the free 30 days trial and remove the malicious files.
    <img src="http://malwaretips.com/images/removalguide/hpro6.png" alt="[Image: hitmanproscan6.png]" border="0" /></li>
    </ol>
    <hr />[/b][/b][/b][/b][/b][/b][/b][/b]

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Mar 13, 2014
  2. Brian

    Brian Guest

    Excellent guide!
  3. Laurie W.

    Laurie W. New Member

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    Option 2 just helped me resolve this problem on my daughter's computer! Thank you SO much!

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