How To Find and Remove Broken Shortcuts Automatically

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ChkLinksHead Microsoft has a nifty utility in it’s Windows Server 2003 Resource Kit. It is called ChkLnks.exe and it not only works on Windows Server 2003 but on Windows XP and Vista as well. I have not tried it on my Windows 7 installation just yet but I am pretty sure it work there too. If you’ve tried it out on 7, let us know how it went for you.

What is ChkLnks.exe? Well, it is a simple application that will scour your computer for non-functional shortcuts. And every system I tried this on had a few of them, no matter how clean I thought they were!

If you do not want to grab the entire resource kit you can download the 364KB ChkLnks.exe file, zipped up on its own from here http://www.computerperformance.co.uk/ScriptsGuy/chklnks.zip.

Now, let’s see how ChkLnks.exe works.

You start the program there is no installation required. You will see the screen below, dubbed the “Link Check Wizard”

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Hit the Next button to start scanning. The program will start and display results as it discovers them. Each line has a check box next to the title of the broken link. Broken links can come from uninstalling program, deleting applications or files and any number of other ways.

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Simply check the box next to each link which you want to permanently remove. Or, just hit the select all button like I did. These are broken links and will not effect your machine.

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It will take a few seconds for ChkLnks.exe to do its magic but when it is complete, you will get a dialogue box stating it did what it had to do. And you are one step closer to a lean, clean computing machine!

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I decided to run it on another machine which I use for testing freeware and wound up with a huge list of orphaned links as you can see below:

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I hit Finish and in a few seconds all my non-functional links were no longer on my machine. Not too shabby! Thanks for helping me out with my spring cleaning Microsoft!

Did you have lots of dead shortcuts on your computer? Surprised? Have you tried ChkLnks.exe on Windows 7? Let us know how it went.

Need more ideas on spring cleaning your computer? Check out Tina’s post Last Minute Spring Cleaning of your Windows XP System.

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