Configure shortcut link tracking

A shortcut contains the location of the target file, if the target file cannot be found when using the shortcut, then Win2k/WinXP automatically tries to find the target file and update the shortcut with the new file-location (If it finds the file).

There are several methods used for tracking the target-file:
  1. It searches all paths that are included in the shortcut, and if the file is placed on a NTFS partition, then it will also try to use the file ID to find the new path of the file.

    [HKEY_CURRENT_USER \Software \Microsoft Windows \CurrentVersion \Policies \Explorer]
    NoResolveTrack = 0 (Disable Tracking Completely = 1, Default = 0)

    More Info MS KB299780

  2. If tracking isn't completely disabled and the above step didn't work, then it performs a comprehensive search of the target drive to resolve the shortcut. This can take time and will cause a lot of disk activity.

    [HKEY_CURRENT_USER \Software \Microsoft Windows \CurrentVersion \Policies \Explorer]
    NoResolveSearch = 1 (Default = 0)

    More Info MS KB292504

  3. If the above methods doesn't work, and the shortcut was original created on another computer, then it will try to access the other computer to find the target file. This can take time and will cause a lot of network traffic.

    [HKEY_CURRENT_USER \Software \Microsoft Windows \CurrentVersion \Policies \Explorer]
    LinkResolveIgnoreLinkInfo = 1 (Default = 0)

    Note when using a shortcut in Windows NT4, which originally came from another computer, then it will always try to use the target file on the other computer even if having the file placed locally.

    More Info MS KB150215
    More Info MS KB158682

Credits ntcanuck.com

Updated: 23 September 2007

Comments:

  1. Jordan says:

    It looks like this is what's happening with one of my clients... so frustrating! Why can't Windows Keep it Simple, Stupid? People get so confused when a shortcut they created starts pointing at something else (say, an older version of the file on their local drive instead of a network server)...ugh!

    Thanks for the article and registry pointers! =)

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