All files have a .LNK extension – How to fix Windows Error (Help Guide)

If 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, then your PC may have a corrupted registry key. This .LNK extension error may be which is caused by a failed Windows update, a faulty driver or in some rare cases a computer virus.

LNK is a file extension for a shortcut file used by Microsoft Windows to point to an executable file. LNK stands for LiNK. Shortcut files are used as a direct link to an executable file, instead of having to navigate to the executable. LNK files contain some basic properties, such as the path to the executable file and the “Start-In” directory.

How to remove .LNK extension Adware (Virus Removal Guide)

This malware removal guide may appear overwhelming due to the amount of the steps and numerous programs that are being used. We have only written it this way to provide clear, detailed, and easy to understand instructions that anyone can use to remove malware for free.
Please perform all the steps in the correct order. If you have any questions or doubt at any point, STOP and ask for our assistance.
To remove .LNK Extension Virus, follow these steps:

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

The main reason of this error is because your machine does not recognize the .exe extension because of an error in your Windows Registry, to fix this issue, you can use any of the below steps to fix it.

OPTION 1: Use Rkill to restore your file association

  1. You can download Rkill from the below link.
    RKILL DOWNLOAD LINK (his link will open a new web page from where you can download “RKill”)
  2. Double click on Rkill program to stop the malicious programs from running.
    Start the Rkill program
  3. RKill will now start working in the background, please be patient while this utiltiy looks for malicious process and tries to end them.
    Rkill Running
  4. When the Rkill tool has completed its task, it will generate a log. Do not reboot your computer after running RKill as the malware programs will start again.
    Rkill Program

OPTION 2: Use the “Repair .lnk (Shortcuts) File Association” tool

  1. You can download the Repair .lnk (Shortcuts) File Association tool from the below link
    REPAIR .LNK 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 3: Use System Restore to restore your system to an earlier state

  1. Open System Restore by clicking the Start button .
  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.

OPTION 4: Manually 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.

STEP 2: Use Malwarebytes to remove .LNK extension Virus

Malwarebytes is a powerful on-demand scanner which should remove the .LNK extension adware from Windows. It is important to note that Malwarebytes will run alongside antivirus software without conflicts.

  1. You can download download Malwarebytes from the below link.
    MALWAREBYTES DOWNLOAD LINK (This link open a new page from where you can download “Malwarebytes”)
  2. When Malwarebytes has finished downloading, double-click on the “mb3-setup-consumer” file to install Malwarebytes on your computer.
    Malwarebytes installer
    You may be presented with an User Account Control pop-up asking if you want to allow Malwarebytes to make changes to your device. If this happens, you should click “Yes” to continue with the installation.
    Malwarebytes User Account Control Prompt
  3. When the Malwarebytes installation begins, you will see the Malwarebytes Setup Wizard which will guide you through the installation process.
    Setup Malwarebytes installer
    To install Malwarebytes on your machine, keep following the prompts by clicking the “Next” button.
    Completing the Malwarebytes Setup Wizard
  4. Once installed, Malwarebytes will automatically start and update the antivirus database. To start a system scan you can click on the “Scan Now” button.
    Perform a system scan with Malwarebytes
  5. Malwarebytes will now start scanning your computer for malicious programs.
    This process can take a few minutes, so we suggest you do something else and periodically check on the status of the scan to see when it is finished.
    Malwarebytes scanning for malware
  6. When the scan has completed, you will be presented with a screen showing the malware infections that Malwarebytes has detected.
    To remove the malicious programs that Malwarebytes has found, click on the “Quarantine Selected” button.
    Malwarebytes Quarantine Selected
  7. Malwarebytes will now quarantine all the malicious files and registry keys that it has found.
    To complete the malware removal process, Malwarebytes may ask you to restart your computer.
    Malwarebytes removing malware from computer
    When the malware removal process is complete, you can close Malwarebytes and continue with the rest of the instructions.

STEP 2: Use HitmanPro to Scan for Malware and Unwanted Programs

HitmanPro can find and remove malware, adware, bots, and other threats that even the best antivirus suite can oftentimes miss. HitmanPro is designed to run alongside your antivirus suite, firewall, and other security tools.

  1. You can download HitmanPro from the below link:
    HITMANPRO DOWNLOAD LINK (This link will open a new web page from where you can download “HitmanPro”)
  2. When HitmanPro has finished downloading, double-click on the “hitmanpro” file to install this program on your computer.
    HitmanPro icon
    You may be presented with an User Account Control pop-up asking if you want to allow HitmanPro to make changes to your device. If this happens, you should click “Yes” to continue with the installation.
    HitmanPro User Account Control Pop-up
  3. When the program starts you will be presented with the start screen as shown below. Now click on the Next button to continue with the scan process.
    HitmanPro setup process
  4. HitmanPro will now begin to scan your computer for malware.
    HitmanPro scanning for .LNK extension virus
  5. When it has finished it will display a list of all the malware that the program found as shown in the image below. Click on the “Next” button, to remove malware.
    HitmanPro detected malware
  6. Click on the “Activate free license” button to begin the free 30 days trial, and remove all the malicious files from your computer.
    Activate HitmanPro to remove malware
    When the process is complete, you can close HitmanPro and continue with the rest of the instructions.

STEP 3: Double-check for malicious programs with Emsisoft Emergency Kit

The Emsisoft Emergency Kit Scanner includes the powerful Emsisoft Scanner complete with graphical user interface. Scan the infected PC for Viruses, Trojans, Spyware, Adware, Worms, Dialers, Keyloggers and other malicious programs.

  1. You can download Emsisoft Emergency Kit from the below link.
    EMSISOFT EMERGENCY KIT DOWNLOAD LINK (This link will open a new web page from where you can download Emsisoft Emergency Kit)
  2. Double-click on the “EmsisoftEmergencyKit” icon, then click on the “Extract” button.
    Emsisoft Emergency Kit program
  3. On your desktop you should now have a “Start Extract Emsisoft Emergency Kit” icon, double-click on it, then when the program will start allow it to update its database.
    Update Emsisoft Emergency Kit program
  4. Once the Emsisoft Emergency Kit has update has completed,click on the “Scan” tab, and perform a “Smart Scan“.
    Emsisoft Emergency Kit Smart Scan
  5. When the scan will be completed,you will be presented with a screen reporting which malicious files has Emsisoft detected on your computer, and you’ll need to click on Quarantine selected objects to remove them.
    Emsisoft Emergency Kit malware removal

STEP 4: Reset your browser to default settings

If you are still experiencing issues with the .LNK extension adware from Internet Explorer, Firefox or Chrome, we will need to reset your browser to its default settings.
This step should be performed only if your issues have not been solved by the previous steps.

Google Chrome

Google Chrome has an option that will reset itself to its default settings. You might need to do this if apps or extensions you installed changed your settings without your knowledge. Your saved bookmarks and passwords won’t be cleared or changed.

  1. On your computer, open Google Chrome.
  2. At the top right, click “More” (represented by the three dots) and then “Settings
    Google Chrome Settings button
  3. At the bottom, click “Show advanced settings”.
    Google Chrome Advanced Settings
  4. Under the section “Reset settings”, click Reset settings.
    Google Chrome Reset button
  5. In the box that appears, click Reset. ​
    Reset Google Chrome settings

Internet Explorer

You can reset Internet Explorer settings to return them to the state they were in when Internet Explorer was first installed on your PC.

  1. Open Internet Explorer, click on the “gear icon” in the upper right part of your browser, then click again on Internet Options.
    [Image: Internet Options in Internet Explorer]
  2. In the “Internet Options” dialog box, click on the “Advanced” tab, then click on the “Reset” button.
    [Image: Reset Internet Explorer]
  3. In the “Reset Internet Explorer settings” section, select the “Delete personal settings” check box, then click on “Reset” button.
    [Image: Reset Internet Explorer to its default settings]
  4. When Internet Explorer has completed its task, click on the “Close” button in the confirmation dialogue box. You will now  need to close your browser, and then you can open Internet Explorer again.
    [Image Reset Internet Explorer settings]

Mozilla Firefox

If you’re having problems with Firefox, resetting it can help. The reset feature fixes many issues by restoring Firefox to its factory default state while saving your essential information like bookmarks, passwords, web form auto-fill information, browsing history and open tabs.

  1. In the upper-right corner of the Firefox window, click the Firefox menu button, then click on the “Help[Image: Firefox Help button] button.
    Firefox Help button
  2. From the Help menu, choose Troubleshooting Information.
    If you’re unable to access the Help menu, type about:support in your address bar to bring up the Troubleshooting information page.
    Troubleshooting Information in Firefox
  3. Click the “Refresh Firefox” button in the upper-right corner of the “Troubleshooting Information” page.
    Refresh Firefox button
  4. To continue, click on the “Refresh Firefox” button in the new confirmation window that opens.
    Reset Firefox settings to default
  5. Firefox will close itself and will revert to its default settings. When it’s done, a window will list the information that was imported. Click on the “Finish“.
Your old Firefox profile will be placed on your desktop in a folder named “Old Firefox Data“. If the reset didn’t fix your problem you can restore some of the information not saved by copying files to the new profile that was created. If you don’t need this folder any longer, you should delete it as it contains sensitive information.

Your computer should now be free of the .LNK extension malware.
If you are still experiencing problems while trying to remove .LNK extension adware from your device, please do one of the following:

How to Stay Safe Online

Here are 10 basic security tips to help you avoid malware and protect your device:

  1. Use a good antivirus and keep it up-to-date.

    Shield Guide

    It's essential to use a good quality antivirus and keep it up-to-date to stay ahead of the latest cyber threats. We are huge fans of Malwarebytes Premium and use it on all of our devices, including Windows and Mac computers as well as our mobile devices. Malwarebytes sits beside your traditional antivirus, filling in any gaps in its defenses, and providing extra protection against sneakier security threats.

  2. Keep software and operating systems up-to-date.


    Keep your operating system and apps up to date. Whenever an update is released for your device, download and install it right away. These updates often include security fixes, vulnerability patches, and other necessary maintenance.

  3. Be careful when installing programs and apps.

    install guide

    Pay close attention to installation screens and license agreements when installing software. Custom or advanced installation options will often disclose any third-party software that is also being installed. Take great care in every stage of the process and make sure you know what it is you're agreeing to before you click "Next."

  4. Install an ad blocker.

    Ad Blocker

    Use a browser-based content blocker, like AdGuard. Content blockers help stop malicious ads, Trojans, phishing, and other undesirable content that an antivirus product alone may not stop.

  5. Be careful what you download.

    Trojan Horse

    A top goal of cybercriminals is to trick you into downloading malware—programs or apps that carry malware or try to steal information. This malware can be disguised as an app: anything from a popular game to something that checks traffic or the weather.

  6. Be alert for people trying to trick you.

    warning sign

    Whether it's your email, phone, messenger, or other applications, always be alert and on guard for someone trying to trick you into clicking on links or replying to messages. Remember that it's easy to spoof phone numbers, so a familiar name or number doesn't make messages more trustworthy.

  7. Back up your data.

    backup sign

    Back up your data frequently and check that your backup data can be restored. You can do this manually on an external HDD/USB stick, or automatically using backup software. This is also the best way to counter ransomware. Never connect the backup drive to a computer if you suspect that the computer is infected with malware.

  8. Choose strong passwords.

    lock sign

    Use strong and unique passwords for each of your accounts. Avoid using personal information or easily guessable words in your passwords. Enable two-factor authentication (2FA) on your accounts whenever possible.

  9. Be careful where you click.

    cursor sign

    Be cautious when clicking on links or downloading attachments from unknown sources. These could potentially contain malware or phishing scams.

  10. Don't use pirated software.

    Shady Guide

    Avoid using Peer-to-Peer (P2P) file-sharing programs, keygens, cracks, and other pirated software that can often compromise your data, privacy, or both.

To avoid potential dangers on the internet, it's important to follow these 10 basic safety rules. By doing so, you can protect yourself from many of the unpleasant surprises that can arise when using the web.

97 thoughts on “All files have a .LNK extension – How to fix Windows Error (Help Guide)”

  1. Manual Method to Restore the Windows Registry


    1. Go to Start Menu > type regedit in the Start Search Box 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.

    5. Hope it gets fixed.

  2. I had the .lnk problem and used the second option and it worked ,,thanks a lot,,,,hats off to u….

  3. Had the .lnk problem and I was so worried that I was going to reinstall windows! Googled for some help and came across to this site.
    Step 2 fixed my problem. Thanks a lot.

  4. had .lnk problems for two days …took a chance with Malware Tips and solve it immediately with Step 1, Option 1. Great Tip! Thank you so much! God Bless!!!

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

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

  7. 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.


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

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

  11. 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.

  12. 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!

  13. the first option is brilliant thanx thanx thanx thanx thanx thanx thanx!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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

  15. 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)

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

    Much obliged!

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

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

  19. 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.

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

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

  22. 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!!!

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

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

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

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

  27. 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!

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