What is the .lnk File Extension Used For?

What is the .lnk file extension?

The .lnk file extension is primarily used by LiNK files on Windows operating systems. .lnk files are known as ?shortcut? and contain a link to a program, file, or directory.

Windows uses .lnk files for quick access to a resource. When you double-click a shortcut file, it opens exactly the same way as the original file. To create a shortcut file, right-click on the target file and select Create shortcut.

.lnk files come under the System Files category and their Mime Type is application/x-ms-shortcut.

Identifying a .lnk file

The shortcut file displays the same icon as the original file but contains an additional curled arrow to signify that the file is actually linked to another file.

The .lnk file extension does not appear when you clear the ?Hide extensions for known file types? folder viewing property in Windows Explorer. The reason being is the display of the file extension .lnk is controlled by the NeverShowExt option in HKEY?_CLASSES_ROOT\lnkfile in the registry.

The shortcut file contains information, such as shortcut target type, location, filename, and the name of the program that opens the target file. A .lnk file referencing a program (.exe file) can specify attributes for how the program runs.

Common issues with .lnk files

You may notice that all shortcut files open the same program.

Cause of the Error

This occurs when there is an incorrect value of HKEY?_CLASSES_ROOT\lnkfile show lnk_auto_file.


To resolve the issue, open the Registry Editor, browse to HKEY?_CLASSES_ROOT\lnkfile entry. In the right-pane, change the value to lnkfile.

.lnk file extension ? Security Rating

The .lnk file type can become infected, that is why it is recommended that you always scan such files before opening them if you receive the file as an email attachment.

Other file types using the .lnk file extension

Name of other file types that use the .lnk file extension are:

  • Advanced Revelation database file
  • 602Pro PC Suite file
  • Playlist file
  • Linker response (script) file
  • XNBC V8 Biological Neural Network Simulation Workstation link configuration file

In case you are unable to open a .lnk (shortcut) file, you may seek the services of FileCure, a reliable file opener program that provides Windows users quick access to numerous file types, including the .lnk file type.