How to find the actual location of a Windows shortcut on your hard drive.

A shortcut is the term for an icon you click on in the Windows Start menu. The shortcut is a data file which points to the location of a program so that Windows can execute that program.

Sometimes it is helpful to examine, or even change, the content of a shortcut file. In some versions of Windows you need the file's location on the hard drive in order to view or change its properties. This method of finding the shortcut files will work for all versions of Windows after 3.1.

To find a shortcut's actual location on the hard drive, first click on the Start button in the lower left of your screen. Roll the mouse over "Find", then to the right over "Files or Folders." Click on "Files or Folders."

The "Find:" Window pops up. In the input line labeled "Named:", type the word "start". The drive to look in is "C:" and the "Include subfolders" item should be checked. Click |Find Now|.

In the search results window, find the folder named "Start Menu." Double-click that folder to open it. This is the folder on the hard drive that corresponds to the Start button on the lower left of your screen. If you compare the contents of this folder with the list of icons you see when you click the Start button, you will see they are identical. The items in the Start Menu folder are shortcut files and folders which contain more shortcut files (and more folders, and so on). Find the folder named "Programs" and double-click that. In that folder, you will see some shortcuts. To find the particular one you want, browse through that folder or any sub-folders.

IF you are still having trouble finding the particular shortcut you want, go back to the "Find" window and type part of the name of the shortcut. In the results list of your search, find the item that is in a sub-directory of "Start Menu." That will be your shortcut.

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