.lnk files ?


Hardcore MB Enthusiast
Aug 19, 2002
Central Scotland
'99 S320 W140
My daughter has an HP PC running I don't know which version of Windows Vista . The computer is maybe a couple of years old , so I guess reasonably up to date .

While I'm reasonably competent with Macs , I must admit to not knowing much about Windows .

Anyway , Gill has had this machine for a couple if years and it has been fine up to now . When I visited at the weekend she asked me to look at it as all her desktop icons have changed to .lnk files . Some are shortcuts to apps which still work and others don't .

I tried deleting the desktop shortcuts and creating new ones from the program files - made no difference . Tried right clicking on the icon , going into properties , then change icon . Using her iTunes shortcut as an example , this allowed me to select the correct iTunes icon , but despite clicking apply , I could not save the proper icon .

I'm guessing this happened as the result of some software update ?

Is there any way in Windows of turning back the clock as with Time Machine on a Mac ?

Would I be better just buying her a copy of Windows 7 for her Christmas ? ( assuming the machine will run it - but it is reasonably recent so I imagine will be ok ) .

Anyone else seen this problem and have any tips ?

I have already advised her to back up all her photographs , music etc onto her extrernal drive ( she has two 1Tb drives which mirror each other and backs up alternately to each of them every so often , so most of her data should at least be safe ) .
Last edited:


MB Enthusiast
May 21, 2009
Planet Earth
Yep, one of THOSE !!!
IIRC there is a System Restore function that can restore to a previous backup point - when that was last done is the real question ...

If she has got all her sensitive data backed up then I would be inclined to do a fresh reinstall of Windows and start over.


MB Master
Jun 24, 2008
W204 C180 Executive SE 2013 Automatic / COMAND NTG4.7 and Morel speakers fitted by www.comand.co.uk
Under Control Panel / Folder Options you can define whether the system displays the file extension for known file types. The default is 'Hide...' ticked.

.lnk files are just shortcuts, and these shortcuts would not display the .lnk suffix under the default settings.

I suspect someone somehow changed the settings by un-ticking the 'Hide..' option and now all the shortcuts are displayed with their full name e.g. 'application.lnk'.

Have a look to see if Word files now similarly show as .docx and Excel files as .xlsx etc.

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