Shortcut has been changed, moved or renamed error: fix

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When an error like this appears when executing any program or game in Windows, it may create some confusion, especially among the most inexperienced users, so we are going to see the causes and how to solve this problem.

Causes of the error when executing a shortcut

The error “The item this shortcut refers to has been changed, renamed or moved” means that the files cannot be opened when we click on their desktop shortcut. The most common cause why it can happen is because we have tried to copy a program to, for example, a pendrive, from the direct access. Keep in mind that the direct access is not a program itself, but only a link that indicates to the operating system where it is stored. For this reason, if we transfer the direct access to another computer, thinking that it is the program, it will not work for us, hence the appearance of the error.

Other causes that may have originated this error is that we have inadvertently removed the executable itself of the program from its folder, as long as we leave the shortcut in its original location, or we have changed the name of the folder. It can also happen if we have changed drive letter where the program was installed. Another cause is that it is possible that this message could be due to the presence of malware on the system. Some antivirus at the time of eliminating possible threats from the computer disable the program, so we will not be able to open it.

In addition, sometimes, larger Windows 10 updates are incompatible with some programs, so they are automatically uninstalled, leaving only the shortcut on the desktop, which causes this error to appear when we run it.

Fix problem with shortcuts

Next, we are going to see some adjustments and changes that we can make on our Windows computer in order to solve the problems caused by the error “The shortcut has been changed, renamed or moved.”

Re-create the shortcut

The most feasible option to resolve the error is to recreate the shortcut. We may have inadvertently changed the drive where the program is hosted or the name of its folder, which implies the appearance of the error when executing the shortcut. This is something that we can verify in the destination field of the shortcut in its “Properties” section. Here we can see if the executable file and the path are correct.

Shortcut properties

To recreate the shortcut, just go to the program folder and find the executable file .exe of the program. Click on it with the right button and select “Create a shortcut”, which Windows will be responsible for creating it directly on the desktop.

Create Shortcut

Check system errors with SFC

Windows has a built-in tool like the System File Checker, through which it can detect and repair different problems. That is why it may be a good option to try to solve the error: the shortcut has been changed or moved and cannot be executed.

To do this, we are going to type cmd in the search box of the Start menu and run the Command Prompt with administrator rights. Once the Command Prompt window appears, we must write the following command and press Enter:

sfc /scannow

Run SFC on Windows

It is likely that the tool will take a long time to analyze the system for faults, so we must be patient. Once finished, it will inform us of the errors found and corrected.

Delete the UserChoice folder from the Registry Editor

Another possible solution for the error the shortcut has been changed, renamed or moved is to delete the UserChoice folder from the Registry Editor, related to the icons of the programs. Once eliminated, the operating system will recreate it. Making incorrect modifications to the registry can cause problems in the operating system, so any modification must be done at the user’s own risk.

To access the Registry Editor we must launch the shortcut Windows + R so that the Execute command appears. Once open we write regedit and press Enter or OK. Later we navigate to the route:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER / Software / Microsoft / Windows / CurrentVersion / Explorer / FileExts / .lnk

Once here, we will find three folders between which UserChoice should appear. If so, we must click on it with the right button and select Delete. Finally, we will restart the computer and check if the error the shortcut has been changed, moved or renamed no longer appears.

Remove UserChoice

In case the UserChoice folder is not visible, we must create a new local user account in Windows. To do this, click on Windows + I to access the Settings menu, click on the “Accounts” and “Family and other people” section. There, click on “Add another person” to this team and we will create a new user account without a Microsoft account. Once the account is created, we close the current session and start the new one. We access the registry and the folder to be deleted should already be visible.

Add users without a Microsoft account

Use Windows PowerShell

To solve this problem we can also use a powerful and advanced tool such as PowerShell. In case the shortcuts do not work on the PC, we must do the following.

We write powershell in the search box of the Start menu and run it with administrator rights. Once its window appears, we must write the following command and press Enter:

Get-AppXPackage -AllUsers |Where-Object {$_.InstallLocation -like "*SystemApps*"} | Foreach {Add-AppxPackage -DisableDevelopmentMode -Register "$($_.InstallLocation)AppXManifest.xml"}

Fix shortcut error with PowerShell

Once this command is run the problem should be completely resolved and the shortcut icons should work again.

Perform a clean boot of Windows

Sometimes third-party services and applications can negatively interfere with the operation of Windows, causing this error to appear. Therefore, if the shortcuts do not work, it may be caused by a third-party service.

To try to solve it, we press Windows + R, we write msconfig and click on OK. In this new “System Configuration” window, click on the “Services” tab. Here, we mark the box “Hide all Microsoft services” and in the “Disable all” tab

System settings hide Microsoft services

Later we click on Start and click on “Open Task Manager” which will show us a list of startup applications. We right-click on the first entry and press Deactivate. Subsequently, we repeat all the steps for all the entries in the list. Once finished we return to the System Configuration window, click on Apply and Ok and restart the computer.

Task manager disable