When is a shortcut not a shortcut ???

Posted on 1998-10-15
Last Modified: 2013-11-20
On the desktop there are 'shortcut like' objects such as the InBox and 'Internet Explorer'. The shortcuts are generated through IShellLink. As far as I can tell these other objects are generated through IShellFolder.
Is this correct, and more importantly how can I set one up to reference my executable ??
Points will only be awarded for a complete answer.
Question by:Bridge
  • 2
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Expert Comment

ID: 1323334
(Parts of the code below are taken from a KB article, but i don't know its ID anymore)

// CreateLink - uses the shell's IShellLink and IPersistFile interfaces
//   to create and store a shortcut to the specified object.
// Returns the result of calling the member functions of the interfaces.
// lpszPathObj - address of a buffer containing the path of the object
// lpszPathLink - address of a buffer containing the path where the
//   shell link is to be stored
// lpszDesc - address of a buffer containing the description of the
//   shell link
HRESULT CreateLink(LPCSTR lpszPathObj,
    LPCSTR lpszPathLink, LPCSTR lpszDesc)
    HRESULT hres;
    IShellLink* psl;
    // Get a pointer to the IShellLink interface.
    hres = ::CoCreateInstance(CLSID_ShellLink, NULL,
        CLSCTX_INPROC_SERVER, IID_IShellLink, (void **)&psl);
    if (SUCCEEDED(hres)) {
        ::IPersistFile* ppf;
        // Set the path to the shortcut target, and add the
        // description.
       // Query IShellLink for the IPersistFile interface for saving the
       // shortcut in persistent storage.
        hres = psl->QueryInterface(IID_IPersistFile,
            (void **)&ppf);
        if (SUCCEEDED(hres)) {
            WORD wsz[MAX_PATH];
            // Ensure that the string is ANSI.
            ::MultiByteToWideChar(CP_ACP, 0, lpszPathLink, -1,
                wsz, MAX_PATH);
            // Save the link by calling IPersistFile::Save.
            hres = ppf->Save(wsz, TRUE);
    return hres;
BOOL MakeLink(int csidlFolder,LPCTSTR lpszRelPathToLink, LPCTSTR lpszDescription, LPCTSTR lpszLinkTo)
    LPITEMIDLIST    pidl;
    TCHAR           buffer[MAX_PATH];
    CString         sFullPath;

          return FALSE;
          return FALSE;

    sFullPath       =buffer;
    sFullPath       +=lpszRelPathToLink;

    // Check if there are subdirectories to create
    CString         sTemp;
    int                        iStart=0;
    int             iSlashPos;

    sTemp           =sFullPath;
    do  {
        sTemp       =sFullPath.Mid(iStart);
        iSlashPos   =sTemp.Find('\\');

        if(iSlashPos!=-1) {
            sTemp   =sFullPath.Mid(0,iStart+iSlashPos);
            iStart  =iStart+iSlashPos+1;
        }   else
            sTemp   =sFullPath;
    }   while(iSlashPos!=-1);


        return FALSE;

    return TRUE;

This is a part of a working application (with a little changes).
To use it, you need to call MakeLink() like this:

MakeLink(CSIDL_DESKTOP,"\\My Application Group",
                  "My Application","C:\\MYAPP\\MYAPP.EXE");


MakeLink(CSIDL_PROGRAMS,"\\My Application Group",
                  "My Application","C.\\MYAPP\\MYAPP.EXE");

You have to include winnls.h, winnetwk.h, and shlobj.h. Also, you must call CoInitialize() in
your InitInstance() handler.
Hope this helps,


P.S: Lots of information on shell links and so on can be found at

Author Comment

ID: 1323335
From looking at your answer it seem to generate a shortcut. I know how to do this already.
Maybe I wansnt clear enough in the question.
If you look at the desktop through Explorer you will see some 'system folder' objects. I want to know how these are generated, I think it is through IShellFolder.
Any ideas.
LVL 32

Accepted Solution

jhance earned 200 total points
ID: 1323336
The "links" on the desktop that look like shortcuts but aren't are created using their CLSIDs.  for example, use REGEDIT and look at:


This is the CLSID for the Recycle Bin.  This is added to the desktop folder with:


LVL 32

Expert Comment

ID: 1323337
BTW, the process for creating "Namespace Extensions" is not terribly difficult but it is somewhat complicated.  Most advanced Windows programming books have explanations of how to build namespace extension DLLs and add them to the Desktop.

Author Comment

ID: 1323338
You forgot that you must put at least

in for it to be of any use though. You can have the points anyway.

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