How to check Windows shortcuts

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One of the threatening elements Windows 10, 8 and Windows 7 program shortcuts on the desktop, in the taskbar, and other locations. Particularly relevant it has become with the spread of different malware (particularly AdWare), causing the appearance of advertisements in the browser, as you can read in the instructions How to get rid of ads in the browser.

Malware can modify the labels so that when they are opened, in addition to launch the assigned program, performed additional undesirable actions, so one of the steps in many guides for removing malware listed «check browser shortcuts» (or any other). About how to do this manually or by using third-party programs — in this article. It may also be useful: Tools malware removal.

Note: since the question most often relates to the testing of the browser shortcuts, it will be about them, although all methods are applicable to other program shortcuts in Windows.

Check browser shortcuts manually

A simple and effective way of checking browser shortcuts to do it manually by means of the system. The steps will be the same in Windows 10, 8 and Windows 7.

Note: if you want to verify the shortcuts in the task bar, first go to the folder with these shortcuts, to do this in the Explorer address bar, type the following path and press Enter

%AppData%MicrosoftInternet ExplorerQuick LaunchUser PinnedTaskBar

  • Click on the shortcut, right click and select «Properties».
  • In the properties check the contents of the target field on the Shortcut tab. The following are the points that can say that with the shortcut of the browser that something is wrong.
  • If after the path to the executable file of the browser is configured with some address site — it was probably added BY the malware.
  • If the file extension in the target box .bat instead .exe and we are talking about the browser, apparently, the label is also not okay (i.e. it was tampered with).
  • If the path to the file to run the browser is different from the location where the browser is actually installed (usually installed in Program Files).
  • What to do if you see that the label of «infected»? The easiest way is to manually locate the file browser in the «target» field or just delete the shortcut and recreate it in the desired location (and pre-clean the computer from malware that the situation is not repeated). In order to create a shortcut — right-click in the empty space of the desktop or folder, select new, Shortcut and enter the path to the executable file of the browser.

    Standard location of the executable (used to run) the file popular browsers (may be in Program Files x86 or just Program Files depending on the bitness of the system and browser):

    • Google Chrome — C: Program Files (x86) Google Chrome Application chrome.exe
    • Internet Explorer — C: Program Files Internet Explorer iexplore.exe
    • Mozilla Firefox — C: Program Files (x86) Mozilla Firefox firefox.exe
    • Opera — C: Program Files Opera launcher.exe
    • Yandex Browser — C: Users username AppData Local Yandex YandexBrowser Application browser.exe

    Program to check labels

    Given the urgency of the problem, there was a free utility to check the safety of the shortcuts in Windows (by the way, tasted great in all respects, anti-malware, AdwCleaner and a couple of others — there is not implemented).

    Among these programs at the moment, it can be noted Phrozen Software Shortcut Scanner and Check Browsers LNK. Just in case: after you download check such obscure utilities using VirusTotal (at the time of writing this article they are completely clean, but cannot guarantee that it always will be).

    Shortcut Scanner

    The first of the programs available in a portable version separately for x86 and x64 systems on the official site https://www.phrozensoft.com/2017/01/shortcut-scanner-20. Using the program is as follows:

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  • Click on the icon in the right side menu, and choose which scan to use. The first paragraph of the Full Scan scans the labels on all drives.
  • After the scan is complete you will see a list of labels and their locations distributed across the following categories: Dangerous Shortcuts (shortcuts), Shortcuts that require attention (needs attention suspicious).
  • Highlighting each of the labels, the bottom line of the program you can see which command triggers this shortcut (it can give information about what’s wrong with him).
  • In the program menu points are provided for clearing (deleting) the selected shortcuts, but in my test they didn’t work (and judging by the comments on the official site is not working and from other users in Windows 10). However, using this information you can delete or change the suspicious labels manually.

    Check Browsers LNK

    A small utility LNK Browsers Check designed for verification of labels of the browsers and works in the following way:

  • Run the utility and wait some time (the author also recommends to disable antivirus).
  • At the location of the program Check Browsers LNK creates the LOG folder with a text file inside containing information about dangerous shortcuts and commands that they run.
  • The resulting information can be used for self-correcting the labels or for automated «treatment» with a program by the same author ClearLNK (you want to move the log file to an executable ClearLNK to correct). Download Check Browsers LNK from the official page https://toolslib.net/downloads/viewdownload/80-check-browsers-lnk/

    I hope the information was useful and you were able to get rid of malware on computer. If something does not work — please write details in the comments, I will try to help.