If I move a folder (to temporarily stop people running programs in that folder), the desktop shortcuts they use to access those programs sometimes follow the folder. Is there any way to stop this behaviour?

This is on Windows machines.

To duplicate the behaviour...

  1. Create a text file on your desktop.
  2. Create a shortcut to that file.
  3. Rename the original file.
  4. Double-click the shortcut.

This behaviour is called Link Tracking.

If the files are on a different machine, I think you need to switch off the "Distributed Link Tracking client" service.

If the Files are on the same machine, you can either ...

Change the registry

HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\Explorer add a DWORD value of 1 against value NoResolveTrack


tick the "Do not use the tracking-based method when resolving shell shortcuts" check box in User Configuration\AdministrativeTemplates\Start Menu and Taskbar group policy

  • Stopping the service alone worked me on my local machine only. Instead of automatically fixing the broken shortcut I got the error: "shortcut cannot be found", which is what I wanted. I didn't test the network or domain. – Samuel May 7 '15 at 13:44

there is a service called distributed link tracking server and client wich are responsible for the behaviour you are observing

  • 1
    The "distributed link tracking service" is right, but it doesn't seem to work for local files. – seanyboy May 22 '09 at 10:08

I haven't seen such a behaviour. If so First make a copy then delete the original instead of moving it. :)

  • 1
    Unfortunately, I can't copy and delete. I'm releasing new files to servers while people have them open. I can rename the file and copy a new file in, but if someone tries to open the shortcut in the period between renaming and copying, then the shortcut location gets changed. – seanyboy May 22 '09 at 9:50

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