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Utility hunts down, repairs broken shortcuts

Need a quick way to locate and repair broken shortcuts in a given folder or directory? Try a utility called ShortcutsMan.

The technology behind shortcuts has been around since Windows 95 made its debut -- in short, at least a decade. But it still suffers from some basic deficiencies. For one, if you move or delete the target for a shortcut, the shortcut itself doesn't know it's broken. If you try to launch a broken shortcut, Explorer will make a best-faith effort to find where the file might have gone, but it's time-consuming and inefficient.

Programmer Nir Sofer has produced a utility called ShortcutsMan. It hunts down and identifies broken shortcuts in a given folder or directory. By default, it searches the entirety of the system drive for shortcuts, but you can set ShortcutsMan to search a given directory (such as one's Start menu) through a command-line parameter. Unfortunately, it is not yet possible to do the exploration through the program's own interface, but a future version of the program may address this shortcoming. You can also elect to scan a single folder only, or "recurse" through subfolders in that folder.

When the program finds a broken shortcut, it highlights it and gives the user the option of repairing the shortcut either automatically or manually. The automatic repair function is similar to the one used by Explorer. If you right-click on the shortcut list, you can automatically select all broken shortcuts and resolve them in one click.

Like Sofer's other utilities, ShortcutsMan has HTML and XML export functions. The resulting report can be exported to a file, and the program's prompts can also be changed to other languages through an external file.

Serdar Yegulalp is editor of the Windows Power Users Newsletter. Check it out for the latest advice and musings on the world of Windows network administrators -- and please share your thoughts as well!

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