What is the File Extension For a Shortcut?

What is the file extension for a shortcut

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In Windows, a shortcut is a link to a program or document on your computer. When you click on it, the shortcut file locates and opens the target file.

Shortcut files are a great way to save time and energy.

They allow you to open the target file by simply clicking on them instead of navigating through your computer’s system.

This can be especially helpful when you have a large number of files open and don’t want to close one just so you can open another.

Most Common Shortcut File Extension

There are two most common types of file extensions for a shortcut. For Windows applications the extension is LNK and for web browsers the extension is URL.

LNK Extension

LNK is a file extension for a shortcut file used by Microsoft Windows to point to an executable file. It stands for “link” and has been part of the Windows OS since its inception in 1985.

The icon of LNK files are by default that of their target file but they also have a small arrow on top to indicate that they point to another location.

When you double-click the shortcut, it will behave the same way as if you had double-clicked the original file.

In other words, this shortcut file is used as a direct link to an executable file (.exe), and it sends a message to start and run.

URL Extension

This extension connects to a web location. Your default web browser is using the URL files to one specific website address.

The ‘.URL’ extension is used for website links in text form. When you click on the link, it will open in your default browser.

Where Can I Find These Extensions

In Windows, the most common location to find a shortcut is a Start menu or on the desktop. Some programs will also install shortcuts in location to help you navigate your computer faster.

Can LNK or URL Extensions Become Infected With a Virus?

As with other files on your computer, both .lnk and .URL file extensions can be infected by a computer virus. The best way to protect all your files is to scan your computer regularly with antivirus software.


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