All files have a .LNK extension?How to fix Windows error.

You are trying to start a program from a desktop shortcut and,to your surprise nothing happens or Windows is asking you with what program would you like to use to open the .lnk file.
If this is happening then you have a Windows Registry error,which is caused by a failed Windows update,a faulty driver or in some cases a computer virus.

STEP 1: Restore .LNK file association settings in Windows registry

Your machine does not recognize the .exe extension because of an error in your Windows Registry,to fix this issue,we can run any of the below steps to fix it.

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:
  3. Click on the arrow to expand it and delete the sub-key named UserChoice.
  4. Exit from Registry Editor and reboot your machine.

OPTION 3: Run Repair .lnk (Shortcuts) File Association utility

  1. Download Repair .lnk (Shortcuts) File Association utility from the below link
    Repair .lnk (Shortcuts) File Association DOWNLOAD LINK (This link will open a new web page from where you can download Repair .lnk (Shortcuts) File Association)
  2. Double click on the previously downloaded file, then click on the Start button.
    [Image: Repair LNK]

OPTION 4: Restore your system to an earlier state

  1. Open System Restore by clicking the Start button [Image: 4f6cbd09-148c-4dd8-b1f2-48f232a2fd33_818.jpg] .
  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.

STEP 2: Scan your computer for malware

Some forms of malware are known to change Windows file association settings,we strongly recommend that you scan your machine with the below software:

STEP 1: Run a system scan with Malwarebytes Anti-Malware FREE

  1. Download the latest official version of Malwarebytes Anti-Malware FREE.
    MALWAREBYTES ANTI-MALWARE DOWNLOAD LINK (This link will open a download page in a new window from where you can download Malwarebytes Anti-Malware Free)
  2. Start the Malwarebytes’ Anti-Malware installation process by double clicking on mbam-setup file.
    [Image: Malwarebytes Installer]
  3. When the installation begins, keep following the prompts in order to continue with the setup process. Do not make any changes to default settings and when the program has finished installing, make sure you leave both the Update Malwarebytes’ Anti-Malware and Launch Malwarebytes’ Anti-Malware checked. Then click on the Finish button. If Malwarebytes’ prompts you to reboot, please do not do so.
    [Image: Finishing Malwarebytes installation]
  4. Malwarebytes Anti-Malware will now start and you’ll be prompted to start a trial period , please select ‘Decline‘ as we just want to use the on-demand scanner.
    [Image: Decline Malwarebytes trial]
  5. On the Scanner tab,select Perform quick scan and then click on the Scan button to start scanning your computer.
    [Image: Starting a full system sca]
  6. Malwarebytes’ Anti-Malware will now start scanning your computer for malicious files as shown below.
    [Image: Malwarebytes scanning for malicious files]
  7. When the scan is finished a message box will appear, click OK to continue.[Image: Malwarebytes scan results]
  8. You will now be presented with a screen showing you the malware infections that Malwarebytes’ Anti-Malware has detected.Please note that the infections found may be different from what is shown in the image.Make sure that everything is Checked (ticked) and click on the Remove Selected button.
    [Image: Infections found by Malwarebytes]
  9. Malwarebytes’ Anti-Malware will now start removing the malicious files.After completing this task it will display a message stating that it needs to reboot,please allow this request and then let your machine boot in Normal mode.

STEP 2: Run a system scan with HitmanPro

  1. This step can be performed in Normal Mode ,so please download the latest official version of HitmanPro.
    HITMANPRO DOWNLOAD LINK (This link will open a download page in a new window from where you can download HitmanPro)
  2. Double click on the previously downloaded fileto start the HitmanPro installation.
    [Image: HitmanPro Icon]
    IF you are experiencing problems while trying to start HitmanPro, you can use the Force Breach mode.To start HitmanPro in Force Breach mode, hold down the left CTRL-key when you start HitmanPro and all non-essential processes are terminated, including the malware process. (How to start HitmanPro in Force Breach mode – Video)
  3. Click on Next to install HitmanPro on your system.
    [Image: Starting HitmanPro]
  4. The setup screen is displayed, from which you can decide whether you wish to install HitmanPro on your machine or just perform a one-time scan, select an option then click on Next to start a system scan.
    [Image: HitmanPro installation screen]
  5. HitmanPro will start scanning your system for malicious files as seen in the image below.
    [Image: HitmanPron scanning]
  6. Once the scan is complete,you’ll see a screen which will display all the malicious files that the program has found.Click on Next to remove this malicious files.
    [Image: HitmanPro scan results]
  7. Click Activate free license to start the free 30 days trial and remove the malicious files.
    [Image: Activate HitmanPro license]
  8. HitmanPro will now start removing the infected objects.If this program will ask you to restart your computer,please allow this request.


If we have managed to help with your computer issues, then please let other people know that this article will help them!
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I am the creator and owner of MalwareTips. I am passionate about computer security and technology. I have an experience of 9 years working as a security researcher.

My area of expertise includes Malware Analysis and Computer Forensics. I'm active in the various online anti-malware communities where I do researches for new malware threats as they are released.


All our malware removal guides and utilities are completely free! We do not request any kind of payment for our services, however if you like to support us (with this website maintenance costs), you can make a small donation.
Any amount is appreciated, and will support our fight against malware.

  • sameer

    very nice and helpful tool

  • Lorie

    Thanks for sharing your knowledge i fix my friends computer because of you.. more power godbless..

  • Arun

    Thanx……its tooo good

  • NOOBDude

    Thank you VERY much. The first option fixed everything. Run dl’d file, 2 seconds. Restarts. Everything fixed. Great tool. Great article

  • Kelly Aifuwa Kel-rich

    option 1 worked like mad! took 5seconds and am done thanks to whoever created the program

  • Gatty Lagrama

    followed option 2. issue resolved. very helpful… thanks a lot.

  • vikas

    hey its working …great ..thanks

  • vector sholobela

    Thanks a lot i used set 2 and it worked….

  • rabka evolution

    thanks, it work.
    just tried step 1, and like a miracle. . . so useful.

  • Tanveer Raja

    Thanks, I was facing issue with this and i resolved my issue using this link. Thanks


  • che zuhairi showpi

    thanks it work

  • Ian


  • Danilo

    You sir, desrve a medal.
    Unlike those scums who takes opportunity to advertise their software when others got a problem. You gave me fast and effective solution under option one.
    Thanks again.

  • eric

    thanks greatly for a job well done; option 2 worked great! i’m deeply grateful

  • Algojo

    I tried option 2, then I restart; problem solved!

  • Haryur

    Worked perfectly, tried only option 1 and probs resolved. Thumb up

  • Berhane

    option 1 worked like a miracle for me I was so confused thanks a lot

  • LeAnonimous


  • jonu


  • Hussein

    Thanks alot,it was so easy, I was determind to restore my system, but option2 solved my problem totally:-)

  • Melinda Veach

    #2 worked for me, Thanks

  • John

    Thanks a lot, option 2 worked. took about 2 minutes!

  • John

    Thanks a lot, option 2 worked. took about 2 minutes!

  • HottieFlameGirl

    Thanks sooooo much!! I would’ve killed myself if I couldn’t find a way to restore all of that stuff. And again, THANKS!

  • mutti

    option 1 worked “like a charm” ! thanks Stelian and keep up the good work !!

  • Kendra Richards

    Thanks so much, guys! You never fail me. ;) My mom’s laptop had this LNK error happen today, but it would not let us do anything, not even go online so I used my laptop to put the program you linked to on an SD card, then transferred it to her computer and re-started as you said to do & it worked. Awesome! Thanks.

  • nams

    Thanks for sharring. All thumbs up…

  • Pinkangel

    THANK YOU SOOOOO MUCH!!! I had tried option #2 from another website and it did not work for me, I even deleted the key and subkeys :(… I found your website and read reviews from others, I tried OPTION #1 …IT WORKED!! I could hug you right now!!!! THANK YOU! P.S. I have WINDOWS 7. YOU ARE AWESOME THANK YOU!

  • Nathi

    Option 2 worked thats a mill…..

  • sarsi


  • Ponnu

    Thank you!

  • satvik

    the first option is brilliant thanx thanx thanx thanx thanx thanx thanx!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • mohsen

    very good thank you

  • sujathareddy

    thank u…so much…..its really worderfull…:)



  • victor

    thank you …..option 2 worked for me ….

  • Enita

    Thank you it worked very well put a smile on my face

  • ED


  • The Appreciator

    GREAT JOB ! Thanks !!!

  • Kwame

    lets support this guy-your stuff works

  • Saranya

    it’s working…
    thx a lot…
    i’m soooooooo apppppieeeeeeee…

  • darK_Angel

    thanks…for help ..
    it happens to me twice…
    but now it will not happen trice again..

  • rajesh

    thank u very much…… feeling happy ….. it take my 2 days…. but after ur help i fix it in just 2 min. thanks again…..

  • anonymous

    I LOVE YOU!!!!!!!!! thank god i found this tutorial. this happened to my computer and i didn’t want to tell my parents because I knew I’d be grounded forever so I did it myself before they found out. THANK YOU SOOOOO MUCH!!!!! :D ROCK ON AND GOD BLESS YOU!!!!!
    (P.S. i used option 2)

  • Ana

    Thanks Stelian! It`s working very well :)

  • E

    Option 2 worked! Thanks so much!!!!!

  • yobobs

    thanks you so much just worked for me i use option 2…

  • Johnson

    Thx option 1 has just worked for me

  • Johnson

    Thanx alot. option one just worked for me now. Big Up

  • Stelian Pilici

    Hello Lisbella,
    Please download and run this registry fix:

    Stay safe!

  • Stelian Pilici

    Have you tried option 3?

  • Erim

    Option 2 fixed my issue. Great explanation and wonderful result. Away with the headache.

    Much obliged!

  • Nina

    I tried Option 2. and it worked! Thanks a lot for the easiest explanation! All the best in future!

  • Riko Solupin

    Thank You So Much For The Info…. Thats Were Very Helpful…. yeahhh..!! Thanks to You Stelian Pilici ….. You Are The BEST …!!

  • Taimoor Arif

    Oh My God Thanks Alot Man .! You Were Very Helpful. God Bless You ,

  • snow

    thank you so much for the help. Option 2 works for me right way. I have been look for the fix on the internet for hours. Your method is the best. Thanks a million.

    • Taimoor Arif

      Yeah Man Option 2 is very helpful.

  • C.lasts

    Option 2 really does work! Don’t waste your money call IT support

  • Gherzy

    option 2 is genius! Thanks! :P

  • Snave Evans

    it worksssss!!!!

  • michael locsin

    thx for creating this web site because it’s help me to solve my big problem .. thank you so much .. xD

  • Bob

    Thank you SO much. I used the option 2 too. Solved my problem in 1 minute. Really appreciated your generosity of sharing this.

  • Sean

    Hi All,

    I was hit with a bad virus / malware back in April. ALL of my files were changed to Internet Explorer, when clicked it brought me to a strange webpage. I tried the various virus and malware scans, I tried system restore numerous times and nothing worked. Finally, I actually went into every file folder on my computer and manually had to restore each file to it’s previous version.

    I noticed that when I did this, the files changed to Internet Explorer were duplicates, so for example I had the same picture – one opened in windows photo viewer, the other was an internet explorer link. So I had to manually delete all of the internet explorer links.

    I thought I took care of it, but here we are 2 months later and I found that I completely missed an entire folder. Now, it will not let me restore previous versions – I am too far and attempted too many system restores (to fix this issue) since that April date when the virus took over.

    So now I have this entire folder of priceless family pictures that appear to be mirrored images of my actual pictures. They show as internet explorer files, and when I try to open with windows photo viewer it does not support that file type. My thought is that the actual photos are hidden somewhere but checking on “show hidden files and folders” shows nothing, nor does a search of the photo. Help!!!

  • mohammad reza

    thank you
    i had big problem with LNK & your site was very good

  • Venus Balbuena Miasco

    Thank You For Helping us :)

  • Kamal

    This is an amazingly simple yet powerful post. Tried option 2 and it worked at first instance. Thanks Buddy!

  • priaka namc

    am so happy my problem is now solved using option 2. Thank you :D

  • milli

    So awwwesome!!!! really helps!!!!

  • Michael

    It helps!

  • Michael

    tnx for the tips, my pc is now working properly.

  • tasos

    thanks! really works:)

  • dude

    I thought this was malware but it wasnt thanks for the files.

  • Hardy

    It Works!!!!!

  • troy

    tyvm 8) u guys r geniuses!!! glad i found this page! :) thanksx1,000,000 8)))

  • jhune of philippines

    i want to say thank you so much,my pc now is already fine. thanks to this blog and to the owner.

  • Ana

    thank you, option 2 worked perfect

    • Lisa

      mee to.. this tutorial is awesome!

  • Johnneth

    thanks.. :D

  • sunaina

    the second method worked for me :) thans a lot :)

  • nic

    Thank you! My problem was solved with option 2! Thank you very much and good luck in developing new solutions!

  • vissu

    thank you so…..much first option is worked for me, but my icons are shown “.lnk” extension How can I I changed.

  • Judy.

    Excellent! Option 1 worked for me. Thank u sooo much!!!!!!!

  • Teeka

    Step 1 worked perfectly for me. Thank you sooooo much!!! :)

  • Emmanuel

    Option 2 worked perfectly. Thank u so much…

  • Jessica

    holy crap option one worked perfectly for me thank you so much!!!!!

  • Rudel Obrex

    that was very cool Stelian, I followed option 1 and it worked perfectly!
    HitmanPro found some nasty trojans but it has remove them.10x agaiN!

  • Kcal

    Method 1 worked for me!Thank you!

  • rupesh

    best ever……!!!!!!!!!!!!
    my problem just solved by option 1…
    u ROCK buddy…….

  • Kizito Ernest K

    Thats awesome my problem is now solved after following option 1.

  • AngryBird

    Thank you!!!!!!!!!!

    • Pihu Ingole

      tnaks for helping me