Quick Tip: Don’t associate .lnk files with Internet Explorer in Windows Vista

There is a trick circulating around the internet which tries to get Windows Vista users to associate .lnk files with IE. Don’t do it… below I give instructions on how to fix it.

If you haven’t done it yet, visit this the reason you don’t want to is that it will make all of the icons on your desktop and in your Quick Launch bar try to open in IE which will continually give you the “open or save” dialog box but will never let you open anything. In addition, ailment all of your icons will change to the IE icon so you can’t even tell what they’re supposed to be by looking at them.

On top of that, page there is no easy way in Vista to “un-associate” the file-type after you have associated it… so many users feel pretty trapped.

Anywho… if you or someone you know associated .lnk with IE 7, here’s how to fix it:
1. Hold down the “Windows” key and press “r”.
2. Type “regedit” (short for registry editor) and press enter.
3. Click around until you find the keys in “HKEY_CURRENT_USERSoftwareMicrosoftWindowsCurrentVersionExplorerFileExts.lnk” and delete all of the sub-folders below that folder (but not the .lnk folder itself).
4. The icons should work now, but if they don’t look like the picture they represent (and instead, you see the Internet Explorer icon everywhere), restart your computer and you should be ready to rock.

The reason that this is so popular is that someone found this trick while Vista was still very young, and it’s extremely difficult for most users to reverse (since you can’t just “un-associate” the file-type after you’ve associated it), so if someone wants to do some damage but is too big of a n00b to write actual code, they can just tell people this exploit really easily to have a decent amount of annoying-to-revert damage.

Hope that helps!