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.LNK File Extension

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File TypeWindows File Shortcut

DeveloperMicrosoft
Popularity
4.2 (750 Votes) Thanks for voting!
Rare Uncommon Average Common Very Common
CategorySystem Files
FormatBinary

Binary

This file is saved in a binary format, which requires a specific program to read its contents.

What is an LNK file?

An LNK file is a shortcut or "link" used by Windows as a reference to an original file, similar to an alias on the Macintosh platform. It contains the shortcut target type, location, and filename as well as the program that opens the target file and an optional shortcut key. The file can be created in Windows by right-clicking a file and then selecting "Create Shortcut."

More Information

LNK files typically use the same icon as their target file, but add a small curled arrow to indicate that the file points to another location. When double-clicked, the shortcut acts exactly the same way as if the user clicked the original file.

LNK files with shortcuts to a program (.EXE file) can specify attributes for how the program runs. To set the attributes, right-click the shortcut file, select "Properties," and modify the Target field.

LNK files in Windows do not show the ".lnk" file extension even when the "Hide extensions for known file types" folder viewing property is unchecked. While not recommended, users may enable its display by editing the "NeverShowExt" property within the "HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\lnkfile" Windows registry entry.

Read more about Windows shortcuts in the FileInfo.com Help Center.

NOTE: Changes to the LNK file association may cause your Windows desktop icons to unexpectedly change or disappear. You can visit the Help Center for instructions on how to fix your Windows icons.

Programs that open LNK files
Microsoft Windows LogoWindows
Microsoft Windows
Flint LinkInfo
Mac OS X LogoMac
Parallels Desktop for Mac with Windows installed
CodeWeavers CrossOver
Linux LogoLinux
CodeWeavers CrossOver
Updated 4/15/2016