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Missing ".lnk" File Association In Registry


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16 replies to this topic

#1 CLH

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Posted 16 April 2006 - 03:01 PM

Hi all,
I hope someone may be able to give me some help with this and I don't have to re-install my Windows XP.
I run XP home edition with SP 2

Several months ago I was getting messages at start-up that my computer had to use a back-up copy of my registry and it was successful. After one of these messages all of my Icons and software shortcuts stopped working. The Icons are no longer shortcuts but are identified as ".lnk" files. After doing some research I have discovered that the entry in my registry for "HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\.lnk" is missing and this is probably the cause of my problem. My PC has no idea what an .lnk file is for.

Windows has a fix for this but it is listed for Windows NT not XP

I would like to be able to "repair" this problem but don't want to have to re-install all of my software (it will take days). I have been told by some that I can re-install Windows and it will fix itself without having to reinstall my software (to get it associated) and others have said I would have to re-install all of my software after re-installing Windows.

I don't know who to believe.

If someone could help with a fix, I would greatly appreciate it.

Best Regards
Chris

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#2 groovicus

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Posted 16 April 2006 - 03:09 PM

There is a file here which should be able to help:
http://www.dougknox.com/xp/fileassoc/linkfile_fix.zip

It is a simple .reg file, and should fix your problem. Here is the list of the rest of the association repairs:
http://www.dougknox.com/xp/file_assoc.htm

There are ways of doing repair reinstalls, but try this first.

#3 CLH

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Posted 16 April 2006 - 03:39 PM

Groovicus,
Thanks for the help. I downloaded the zip file and un-zipped it to my harddrive but when I double click on the un-zipped file, Windows asks what program to run it in.
Am I doing soemthing wrong??

Chris

#4 groovicus

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Posted 16 April 2006 - 08:27 PM

It should have just asked you if you wanted to merge.. right click on the file, and see if it gives you the option to merge. If it does, then select that. If it doesn't, then you have some other file associations that are screwed up also. Can you open regedit?

#5 CLH

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Posted 16 April 2006 - 10:03 PM

If I right click, I only get the option to "open" (along with copy, send to, cut, copy, etc.), no merge.

Yes, I can open regedit.

I tried to run the file using "Start", "Run" but windows still says it needs to know what program to use.

I guess I have a bigger problem than I thought??

Any suggestions?

Thanks
Chris

#6 Enthusiast

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Posted 16 April 2006 - 10:10 PM

See if anything on the following link will help:

Windows XP File Association Fixes
Copyright 2003 - Doug Knox Microsoft MVP

http://www.dougknox.com/xp/file_assoc.htm

#7 groovicus

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Posted 16 April 2006 - 10:30 PM

You have other asociations that are missing. Let's see if we can get the .reg file asociation restored first.

Highlight the following line, then select CTRL-c to copy it to the clipboard:
assoc.reg=regfile
Then click Start, Run and enter CMD. A Command Prompt window will open. Right click in this Window and select Paste. Then press Enter.

Then see if you can run that first file you downloaded. If that still doesn't work, try the instructions above, but use the following:
assoc.lnk=lnkfile

I don't know that it is a huge problem yet. It is rather unusual for file associations to just vanish... usually that means the user deleted something accidentally, but I wouldn't at all be surprised if some malware didn't remove those associations to make it more difficult to remove the malware. If that is the case, it is sometimes necessary to do a repair... of course, that is only of you have a valid OS disk.

#8 CLH

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Posted 16 April 2006 - 10:35 PM

I tried the "REG File Association file fix" and it did the same thing, wanted to know what program to run it in.

I forgot to mention that I run Windows Beta Spyware program in the back ground and when I first tried to run either of these fixes it asked me if I would allow it. I clicked yes but nothing happened. If I double click the file after the first try, I get the "Windows doesn't know what program to run this in" box.

I checked my registry and there was no new .lnk entry.

Thanks again. Any more ideas?

Chris

#9 groovicus

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Posted 16 April 2006 - 10:37 PM

Did you try what I just mentioned?

#10 CLH

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Posted 16 April 2006 - 10:45 PM

Groovicus,
I think the command prompt idea worked. This time when I ran the .lnk fix, it seemed to run OK (I disabled my spyware prior to trying). I'll try rebooting and see if it worked.

Thanks again
Chris

#11 Enthusiast

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Posted 16 April 2006 - 10:54 PM

I agree that there is probably malware present because of the time span between the successful use of the backup registry and the subsequent problems evolving since.

If you cannot get to the command prompt from start>run, press CTRL-ALT-DEL and open Task Manager. Once there, click File, then hold down the ctrl key and click New Task (Run). This will open a Command Prompt window.

Then paste or type in the command groovicus suggested and press enter.

#12 CLH

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Posted 16 April 2006 - 10:56 PM

Groovicus,

IT WORKED! :thumbsup:

Thanks so much for the help. I may have other registry problems that I am not aware of but this was the only problem that has caused me grief.

Is there any decent registry scan/repair program out there that might tell me if I have any other problems?

Also, can you think of why my system has to occasionally use a back-up copy of the registry?

I guess it would be smart for me to make a copy of my registry just in case........

Thanks again
Chris

#13 CLH

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Posted 16 April 2006 - 11:00 PM

Enthusiast,
I run SpySweeper and Microsoft's Beta spyware program once a week and both are running in the background to stop stuff from getting in. Should these be able to find the malware you mentioned (I am not sure of the difference, if any, between malware and spyware).

Thanks
Chris

#14 groovicus

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Posted 16 April 2006 - 11:04 PM

The site that I linked to above has a bunch of different scripts that repair various asociations. Just do a search for something like "doug knox repair associations" and it should be the first thing that comes up. I do not trust registry repair tools. I have seen way more systems broken than helped. The registry is a complex place, and a program needs to consider context when deciding that something is good or bad. It is really hard to create a program that does that accurately.

What you might want to do at this point is do some scans of your system and see if anything else pops up. Usually when you start discovering missing file associations, there is an underlying cause. Your system should not be resorting to a backup of the registry. That could be anything from an imminent disk failure, to some sort of malware present. Chances are that here are more associations broken that you are not yet aware.

Go here:
http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/forums/t/34773/preparation-guide-for-use-before-using-malware-removal-tools-and-requesting-help/
Follow steps 3-6 and se if anything shows up. If it does, then you will want the assistance of the HJT team.

EDIT: Malware is a catch-all term for any type of malicious/undesired software.

#15 CLH

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Posted 16 April 2006 - 11:08 PM

Groovicus,

Thanks again. I'll try the link tomorrow (getting late here).

P.S.: I sent you folks a donation via Paypal. Best money I have spent in a long time!

Chris




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