How To Find and Remove Broken Shortcuts Automatically

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chklinkshead   How To Find and Remove Broken Shortcuts Automatically 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

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”Âť

image23   How To Find and Remove Broken Shortcuts Automatically

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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image24   How To Find and Remove Broken Shortcuts Automatically

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.

image25   How To Find and Remove Broken Shortcuts Automatically

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!

image26   How To Find and Remove Broken Shortcuts Automatically

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:

image27   How To Find and Remove Broken Shortcuts Automatically

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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19 Comments - Write a Comment



i was going to try on windows 7 but it found no dead links at all. my system is squeaky clean


I think that’s because it’s still new, let it run for another 3-4 months and give this tool a try again.



Spelling error — “Microsoft has a nifty utility in it’s Windows Server 2003 Resource Kit.” >> possessive “its,” not contraction “it’s.”

Jackson Chung

Keen eye. Thanks!

Karl L. Gechlik

I swear it wasn’t me – musta beeen my grammmmmer checkah. :P

Can we fix that up Jackson?



will try on my vista..



I have tried it on Windows 7 and it worked perfectly well.


Danny Keith James

Didn’t work for me using Windows Vista Ultimate. It found the dead links. I selected all of them and hit finish but when I ran the app again all the dead links were still there. :-(

Karl L. Gechlik

Try running it as administrator.



My PC is abput 5 years old. No dead links found. Thanks, CCleaner!

Karl L. Gechlik

Wow you run a tight ship – eh?



Tried it on Windows 7RC and it works perfectly.



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


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


Don Stichert
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??

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:


just checked, the link works



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.



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 :(

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