Sunday, September 28, 2008

Reading Shortcuts with PowerShell and VBS

This post provides a simple method of enumerating shortcuts and retrieving their properties, either using PowerShell or VBScript. There is nothing particularly clever here, but I had a need a while back to use the enumeration, and I wrote the simple powershell equivalent to see how easy it would be. Note that I couldn't easily see a managed code .Net method to process shortcuts, so I fell back on the wscript COM object. More than likely there is a better method (get it? :) than this.

Run the scripts:

powershell . .\ReadShortcut.ps1 -p \\%server%\%share%\folder\path
powershell . .\ReadShortcut.ps1 -f \\%server%\%share%\shortcut.lnk
cscript //nologo "ReadShortcut.vbs" \\%server%\%share%\folder\path
cscript //nologo "ReadShortcut.vbs" \\%server%\%share%\shortcut.lnk

   [string] $path = "",
   [string] $file = ""

$WshShell = new-object -comobject "WScript.Shell"       # Instantiate the COM object

if ($path -ne "") {
    $shortcuts = get-childitem -path $path -filter "*.lnk" -rec    # Find all .lnk files, recursing in to subdirectories
    $shortcuts | foreach-object {$WshShell.CreateShortcut($_.FullName) }  # For each file, pass the fullname to the COM object to open the shortcut and enumerate the properties
} elseif ($file -ne "") {
    $shortcut = get-item -path $file       # Get the single file
    if ($shortcut -ne $null) { $WshShell.CreateShortcut($shortcut) }   # If exists, read the shortcut properties
} else {
    write-output "No arguments specified, please use either -p to specify a path or -f for a specific .lnk file"


' Read a shortcut or a top-level directory of shortcuts and write the properties to stdout
If WScript.Arguments.UnNamed.Count = 1 Then
 strShortcut = WScript.Arguments.UnNamed(0)
 WScript.Echo "Please supply the name of an lnk file or directory to read, eg c:\test.lnk or c:\shortcuts"
End If

Set objFSO = CreateObject("Scripting.FileSystemObject")

If objFSO.FolderExists(strShortCut) Then      ' Was a directory specified?
 Set objFolder = objFSO.getFolder(strShortcut)     ' Get the folder
 For Each objfile in objFolder.Files      ' For each file in the top-level directory
  If objfile.type = "Shortcut" Then     ' Is this file a shortcut?
   Call Readshortcut(objFile.Path, strProperties)   ' yes, read the properties
   dtmCreationDate = objFile.DateCreated
   WScript.Echo dtmCreationDate & "," & strProperties  ' output the results
  End If 
ElseIf objFSO.FileExists(strShortCut) Then      ' Was an individual file specified?
 Call Readshortcut(strShortcut, strProperties)     ' read the properties of the file
 WScript.Echo strProperties       ' output the results
Else           ' file-not-found
 WScript.Echo "Error: Could not read '" & strShortcut & "'"
End If
Set objFSO = Nothing

Function Readshortcut(ByRef strShortcut, ByRef strProperties)

 set objWshShell = WScript.CreateObject("WScript.Shell")    ' Create the shell object
 set objShellLink = objWshShell.CreateShortcut(strShortcut)   ' Execute the createshortcut method, which also retrieves an existing shortcut
 strProperties = strShortCut & "," & objShellLink.TargetPath & "," & objShellLink.WindowStyle & "," & objShellLink.Hotkey & "," & objShellLink.IconLocation & "," & objShellLink.Description & "," & objShellLink.Arguments & "," & objShellLink.FullName & "," & objShellLink.WorkingDirectory & """"

 ' This propertly can be set, but not read? - objShellLink.RelativePath
 Set objShellLink = Nothing
 Set objWshshell = Nothing
End Function

Wayne's World of IT (WWoIT), Copyright 2008 Wayne Martin.


Anonymous said...


Your script was very valuable to me. Thank you.


Unknown said...

Excelent help Thanks

Ryan Barber said...

This script is great for reading the properties of a shortcut, however, I can't seem to be able to retrieve the value into a string for comparison. ie: strTargetPath = objShellLink.TargetPath

I'm off base here I'm sure, but I need to retrieve the value in TargetPath for comparing to another string. If TargetPath = "x" then delete the shortcut ie: If objShellLink.TargetPath = "x" Then

Is this possible?

Unknown said...


Not sure if this would help me or not, I have lots of shortcuts to webpages in one folder, and i need a script that will read the shortcut target link to the webpage, and write that to a textfile.

would this be able to help me in this problem.

Thanks in advance.

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About Me

I’ve worked in IT for over 20 years, and I know just about enough to realise that I don’t know very much.