Broken links aren’t something I enjoy finding because it means the file or folder I was accessing has somehow been moved or deleted. Regardless of my preferences toward them, ShortcutsMan helps locate all of them and even has an option to attempt repairs for broken links. Being portable, it can run straight from a USB device or network drive and reports can be generated to list all the shortcuts in a given directory and/or it’s subfolders. Take a look at how it works and how to start removing invalid shortcuts.
Scan and remove invalid shortcuts
Right -click anywhere in the ShortcutsMan window to choose “Select Broken Shortcuts.”
Click the “Broken Shortcut” column name until the broken shortcuts are shown in red at the top. We want to filter through this just to ensure we aren’t deleting shortcuts we want to keep for whatever reason.
We have found one above, so we’ll open it’s properties to learn more about it. With it selected, choose the properties icon on the top menu.
Or right-click to select “Edit Shortcut” and open the regular Windows Properties dialog box.
We can now view the target and name as we would in Explorer to get a better feel for what it is we’re missing when it comes to this broken link. ShortcutsMan can attempt to fix broken links by choosing “Resolve Selected Shortcuts” from the right-click menu on any selected entry. This works by looking for files or folders that the shortcut may have been pointing to and then correcting it.
If a match cannot be made you can remove the shortcut entirely by choosing “Delete Selected Shortcut” or entering “Ctrl+Del” on the keyboard.
Confirm the removal to finish.
Command line options are available for scanning a different directory than the default Start menu and Desktop folders.
To scan custom subfolders, a command line window needs to be ran from the ShortcutsMan directory. I am running the “shman” program file from the root of the C drive so in Windows 7 I’ll “Shift + right-click” on the directory (C) and choose to “Open command window here.”
Enter “shman.exe /folders location” where “location” is the folder to search.
Instead of running the ShortcutsMan application to view the results of this command we can run another switch to export it to a file.
Create reports of broken links
Enter “shman.exe /folders %UserProfile%\Documents /shtml C:\Reports\BrokenDocumentShortcuts.html” to export a report of broken links found in “%UserProfile%\Documents” to a file located at “C:\Reports\BrokenDocumentShortcuts.html.”
To search just a folder and not it’s subdirectories, use “/folder” without an “s.”
Note if the above folder name of “Reports” was not created before running the command, an “Error 3” prompt will result.
For just a handy list of all the items found in ShortcutsMan, select “View > HTML Report – All Items” from the ShortcutsMan application window.
ShortcutsMan may not look appealing, or even feel nice due to the custom reports being ran from a command window, but it beats manually searching for invalid links. Shortcuts only take up bytes of space to point to a file or folder. If you seem to find thousands of invalid links it could possible free up a couple megabytes of space. Consider releasing even more space using some other free tools.
This has been tested and found to work in both Windows 7 and Windows 8 x64.