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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Comments (20)
  • Rob

    Missed desktop shortcuts on vista that were broken. Not terribly impressed as the computer hangs for a good 10-20 seconds every time i try to delete these links :(

  • gary

    ChkLnks.exe did no work in my copy of win7 running on a dell dimension 4700 however you can make a short cut to user/your name/appdata/roaming/Microsoft/windows/recent items and make a shortcut desktop and it is there to use any time.

  • Don Stichert

    http://www.computerperformance.co.uk/ScriptsGuy/chklnks.zip.
    started “flashing” a window but would not let me open or run it!! I’m using Vista Ultimate, and my computer is a custom build… what’s up with this link??

    • Aibek

      just checked, the link works

    • Karl L. Gechlik

      I just clicked on that link and it opens a download windows for me. Maybe your AV is blocking the download?

      This is the page it resides on:

      computerperformance.co.uk/ezine/tools.htm#Link%20Check%20Wizard

  • ahenobarbus

    i just wasted 10 seconds i’ll never get back to find i have no dead links, and another minute typing this, and another…

    • Jennifer

      that’s like saying i wasted 4 hours doing a virus scan to find out i have no viruses….

  • Kenshin304

    Tried it on Windows 7RC and it works perfectly.

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Affiliate Disclamer

This review may contain affiliate links, which pays us a small compensation if you do decide to make a purchase based on our recommendation. Our judgement is in no way biased, and our recommendations are always based on the merits of the items.

For more details, please read our disclosure.