Friday, December 21, 2012

Find and Remove Broken Shortcuts in Start Menu

The main reason why a Windows computer accumulate so much trash over time is because of poorly written software uninstallers. When you uninstall a program from a system, ideally it should remove all files added to the system by the program installer. Often this doesn’t happen and traces of files are left behind, sometimes more than just traces.

A type of file that is found to commonly leave behind are shortcuts on the start menu, desktop and other places. They add clutter to the start menu because these shortcuts point at objects that no longer exist. You can remove the unwanted shortcuts manually from the directory where they reside. It’s located at C:\Users\Username\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs.

The trouble is identifying which are active and working shortcuts and which are broken. If you have a good memory, you can probably find them but for someone who installs dozens of programs every week, this not an easy task. Which is why we need a software such as ShortcutsMan from the trusted developer Nirsoft.


ShortcutsMan is an extremely tiny tool (less than 52KB download size) that displays the details about all shortcuts that you have on your desktop and under your start menu, and provides tools to delete or fix them.

The main window of ShortcutsMan displays the list of all shortcuts that you have on your desktop and under your start menu. For each shortcut it finds, ShortcutsMan shows the location of the shortcut, the target program, run arguments if any and so on. Broken shortcuts are automatically highlighted in red color. You select one or more shortcuts, and then either choose to delete them, resolve them or save the shortcut's details to HTML/Text/XML file.

When you use the "Resolve Selected Shortcuts" option, the program attempts fix the shortcut if the filename was changed or moved to another folder. Unfortunately, this option rarely works.

ShortcutsMan is a standalone program, so it doesn't require any installation or additional DLLs. In order to start using it, just copy the executable (shman.exe) to any folder you like, and run it.

Also read: Driver Sweeper removes leftover after driver uninstall


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