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File Extension LNK

File extension LNK is a file which is used to point the way to an executable file in the Windows operating system. LNK files are essentially shortcut files which help you easily access an executable file without having to take the steps necessary for navigating to EXE files. LNK stands for the word “link” which means the file acts as a direct link to an executable.

In terms of content included in the file, LNK format contains basic information that pertains to the path to the executable applications and data related to the directory the file is to be launched and started in. You can identify LNK files in your PC’s operating system because they contain an arrow icon next to the file to indicate the file is a shortcut. LNK files work similar to the alias on a Mac PC and provide a different method for opening programs and applications typically from your desktop location.

How to Open LNK Files

Since LNK files are intended to be shortcut files that help you open programs from a second location, the files function as Windows Explorer formats as opposed to file system formats. Windows Explorer is not to be confused with the Internet Explorer web browser. Instead, Windows Explorer is a management application for organizing all the files and folders stored in the Windows operating system.

Every time you open one of your documents or another type of files or programs, this represents an instance of Windows Explorer. It provides you with a way to manage your files and folders and can be accessed by clicking on My Computer on the desktop and then choosing the C drive in Windows.

LNK files cannot replace a file except when they are used with Windows Explorer and are associated with other purposes in Windows Explorer, in addition to providing a direct link to an executable. The double clicking effect on an LNK file, which serves as a shortcut, is the same as double clicking the corresponding program the LNK file points to.

In the event you cannot open a program or application using the LNK shortcut, it may be because Windows shortcuts have separate properties for the target file and the actual directory for starting the program. If the latter parameter is not entered, when you click on the shortcut generated by the LNK file, you may receive a message that says “missing DLL” and you will be unable to open the program.

In summary, LNK files are only shortcut files to an executable program. They exist to allow you to open a file from a second location and typically exemplify the characteristics of the files they point to. Therefore you cannot open LNK files if the original files are not accessible. Additionally, no other user should send you LNK files since this type of files is used as a shortcut. If you receive an LNK file in your email, do not open it and delete it from your system as soon as possible to avoid malware exploits.