How to create Shortcuts in Windows from the command line

It seems that there is not a direct way to create a shortcut from the command line in Windows. The solution presented here takes less than two minutes to set up and works pretty good. However, if you find a better one, I would like to know.

First you have to create a small text file by the name mkshortcut.vbs. Use your favorite text editor to edit the file, even notepad will do. Then copy the following text and paste it into the file:

set WshShell = WScript.CreateObject("WScript.Shell" )
set oShellLink = WshShell.CreateShortcut(Wscript.Arguments.Named("shortcut") & ".lnk")
oShellLink.TargetPath = Wscript.Arguments.Named("target")
oShellLink.WindowStyle = 1
oShellLink.Save

Then save the file and exit the editor. Make sure that you move the file in a directory in your PATH (usually C:WINDOWSSystem32 is fine). Now, from the command line you can create shortcuts this way:

mkshortcut /target:TargetName /shortcut:ShortcutName

You will have to replace TargetName with the name of the target file and ShortcutName with the name of the shortcut to be created (do not include a .lnk extension!). For example:

C:>mkshortcut /target:"c:/documents and settings/giannis/desktop" /shortcut:"My Desktop"

C:>dir *.lnk
Volume in drive C has no label.
Volume Serial Number is 70FC-EBB4

Directory of C:

12/03/2008  11:12 AM               453 My Desktop.lnk
1 File(s)            453 bytes
0 Dir(s)  46,659,989,504 bytes free

C:>

Make sure that in target you include the full path of the target file name, starting with the drive letter and going down. For some reason Windows seem unable to create shortcuts with a relative path. Always use absolute paths for target.

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19 Responses to How to create Shortcuts in Windows from the command line

  1. Br4dy 5m17h says:

    Just used this on Win7x64 – worked great. Thanks!

  2. Mahindra says:

    Good one. Helped me a lot

  3. KK says:

    Thanks for this tutorial, works great!
    I’m wondering how I can add extra parameters for the shortcut, any ideas?
    What I mean is something like this “C:tempfile.exe -show edited” etc.

    I tried using apostrophes but then it won’t find the file at all!

  4. KK says:

    Got it.
    If you need extra parameters, you’ll have to add
    oShellLink.Arguments = “-params /whatever”
    after the TargetPath. :)

  5. Kyle Clough says:

    How would you set it to open with a program like textpad. Saying its like a config file

  6. Rich says:

    Awesome script – is there any way to add arguments to set a specific icon file?

  7. petcomp says:

    Good Work

  8. Rahul says:

    Awesome, thanks. Am using this in a project.

  9. mircea says:

    how you can specify a location to save the shortcut

    we have target, name of the shortcut but if i want to save on the network drive (example “x:DAYvoice.lnk”)
    we need a new option (example “/save”)
    C:>mkshortcut /target:”c:/documents and settings/giannis/desktop” /shortcut:”My Desktop” /save:”x:DAY”

  10. Mohammad Khodayar says:

    This command maybe help you

    mklink /d %userprofile%desktopdata d:data

    Good Luck

    Iran ahwaz

  11. Sanjay says:

    How can i add this to run on user logon, does the VBS script have to be on the local machine of the users?

  12. Gaurav says:

    Can you please update this script to support generic shortcut creation?
    mkshortcut.vbs /target:”" /shortcut: /location:

  13. Remco says:

    Sweet! I used it succesfully to re-create a shortcut to Excel in my start menu. Doing it straight from the explorer gave me a nasty msvcr80.dll.

    I rewrote the script a little to this:
    set WshShell = WScript.CreateObject(“WScript.Shell” )
    sStartmenuPath = WshShell.SpecialFolders(“StartMenu”)
    set oShellLink = WshShell.CreateShortcut(sStartmenuPath & “” & Wscript.Arguments.Named(“shortcut”) & “.lnk”)
    oShellLink.TargetPath = Wscript.Arguments.Named(“target”)
    oShellLink.WindowStyle = 1
    oShellLink.Save

    More info on SpecialFolders is here:
    http://www.devguru.com/technologies/wsh/quickref/wshshell_specialfolders.html

    Thanks for sharing!

  14. Joeordie says:

    Just starting to learn scripting…

    I think i have the basic language down but can some one post what this script would look like if it had a “location to save .lnk” object?

    Im using this in a batch file process to copy files from a network drive then create a shortcut to delete the files when the user is done, need to copy the shortcut to the C:/User/Public/Desktop location.

    Also when i run the mkshortcut.vbs from the command line i get this error:

    Windows Script Host
    Script: C:Windowssystem32mkshortcut.vbs
    Line:3
    Char: 1
    Error: Invalid proceedure call or argument
    Code: 800A0005
    Source: Microsoft VBScript runtime error

    would appreciate any help.

  15. Joeordie says:

    whoops i meant “location to save .lnk” argument!!!!!!

  16. Jitesh says:

    Thanks. Great stuff.

  17. Graham says:

    Thanks for the tip and taking the time to write it :) . Big help

  18. Larry says:

    Thank you !! Enabled automated build of links to template files under %userprofile%.

  19. Kevin says:

    This is great- thanks!

    If you also need to set the “Start in” or “Working Directory” you can add to the script as follows:

    set WshShell = WScript.CreateObject(“WScript.Shell” )
    set oShellLink = WshShell.CreateShortcut(Wscript.Arguments.Named(“shortcut”) & “.lnk”)
    oShellLink.TargetPath = Wscript.Arguments.Named(“target”)
    oShellLink.WorkingDirectory = Wscript.Arguments.Named(“startin”)
    oShellLink.WindowStyle = 1
    oShellLink.Save

    Then the command would be:
    mkshortcut /target:”C:\target_directory\file” /startin:”C:\target_directory” /shortcut:”C:\shortcut_directoy\shortcut”

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