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.LNK File Extension

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File TypeWindows File Shortcut

DeveloperMicrosoft
Popularity
4.2 (771 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
Windows
Microsoft Windows
Flint LinkInfo
Mac
Parallels Desktop for Mac with Windows installed
CodeWeavers CrossOver
Linux
CodeWeavers CrossOver
Updated 4/15/2016

FileInfo - The File Extensions Database

This page contains information about the .LNK extension and its known file associations. Our goal is to help you understand what an LNK file is and how to open it.

The Windows File Shortcut file type, file format description, and programs listed on this page have been individually researched and verified by the FileInfo team. We strive for 100% accuracy and therefore do not publish any information we have not verified.

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