What is the LNK file and how to open the LNK file? Are you having trouble opening LNK files or just wondering what they contain? This post explains what the file is for and show you how to open and edit it.

What Is the LNK File

What is the LNK file? Files with a .lnk extension are often referred to as “link files” or desktop shortcuts. These files are often associated with Microsoft Windows, and they often point to .exe files located elsewhere on the user’s computer. When you click a .lnk file shortcut, it launches the program associated with the .exe file that the shortcut references.


Tip: To get information about other file formats, you can go to the MiniTool official website.

Location of LNK File Format

For Windows 7 to 10


Windows XP

\Documents and Settings\UserName\Recent and

\Documents and Settings\UserName\Application Data\Microsoft\Office\Recent

Windows Vista

\Users\UserName\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft \Windows\Recent and


How to Create/Show/Open/Edit the LNK File

How to Create the LNK File

You can create a shortcut to a file, folder, or application by right-clicking that object and selecting Create shortcut. (In Windows 11, you must first select Show more options.)

How to Enable/Disable Show More Options on Windows 11?
How to Enable/Disable Show More Options on Windows 11?

You can access the legacy or classic context menu by clicking on the Show more options option on the right-click menu on Windows 11. Here is a guide.

Read More

How to Show the LNK file extension

Even if you’ve configured Windows to show file extensions for known file types, it won’t show the .lnk file extension. Although not recommended, you can make Windows show the .lnk file extension by deleting the NeverShowExt property in the HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\lnkfile Windows registry key:

  1. Type regedit in the Run dialogue box to open Registry Editor.
  2. In Registry Editor, navigate to Computer\HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\lnkfile.
  3. Create a backup of the LNK file by right-clicking it and selecting Export.
  4. Select the NeverShowExt attribute and delete it.
  5. Restart Windows.

How to Open an LNK file

To open the LNK file, you can double-click it or right-click it and select Open, which opens the file, folder, or program to which the LNK file points.

How to Edit an LNK file’s Properties

You can edit a Windows shortcut’s properties, add a shortcut key or modify how Windows opens the file to which the shortcut points. To edit a shortcut’s properties, right-click the shortcut and select Properties.

How to Fix .LNK Extensions Issues in Windows

If all of your files suddenly have the .lnk extension, you can’t open applications by clicking their shortcuts, or you see nonstop errors about .lnk files, the problem could be from a malware infection or a faulty Windows update. The following are some solutions for these issues.

Solution 1: Run a Virus Scan

Malware or virus infection of the computer can cause the LNK file issue. It’s advised you run your third-party antivirus software to do a virus scan for your computer. After the virus scan, check if the LNK file issue is fixed.

Solution 2: Perform a System Restore

You can try to perform a system restore to fix the LNK file issue. You need to notice that only if you have created system restore point, you can try this method. Follow the guide below to do that:

Step 1: In the start menu, search for create a recovery drive and open it. This will lead you to the system protection tab in the system properties. 

Step 2: Then, click system restore. Now select the restore point to which you want to restore your system. Then, follow the on-screen instructions to finish the steps.

Solution 3: Run SFC

If there are some corrupted or missing system files, you may also encounter the LNK file issue. Don’t worry, you can run Windows System File Checker (SFC), a built-in utility that enables you to scan and restore the problematic system files, to solve the problem.

Step 1: Click the Start menu. Then type cmd in the Search box. Right-click Command Prompt and choose Run as administrator.

Step 2: When you get into Command Prompt, input sfc /scannow and press Enter.

Step 3: Then Windows will scan for system file issues. You need to wait until the process is 100% completed.

Final Words

This post has introduced what the LNK file is and how to show/open/edit the LNK file. Besides, you can also know how to fix the LNK file issues.

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