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How to create and resolve a shortcut

, 6 Oct 2003 CPOL 207.3K 72
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This article presents 2 ready-to-use functions to create and resolve a shortcut.

Introduction

Shortcut is a file with an extension .lnk. Each of these files contain a special COM object that points to another file. Usually, when you try to open a .lnk file, the system opens a file which this shortcut points to.

Let's do the following experiment. Create a text file (file with an extension .txt) somewhere. Then create a shortcut pointing to this file (send me a private e-mail if you do not know how to create a shortcut manually). Then try to open the shortcut with Microsoft Word, using File->Open command and select just created shortcut. MS Word will do it correctly: it will open the text file that is pointed by this shortcut. Now do the same with Notepad. Instead of the text file content, you will see garbage. It means that Notepad has no idea how to deal with shortcuts.

So we came to a conclusion: in Windows a program should have a built-in support for shortcuts in order to handle them correctly.

In this article I will show how to do it. I will present 2 functions: how to create and resolve the shortcut. The code is well commented (in my opinion) and self-explanatory.

Code

/**********************************************************************
* Function......: CreateShortcut
* Parameters....: lpszFileName - string that specifies a valid file name
*          lpszDesc - string that specifies a description for a 
                             shortcut
*          lpszShortcutPath - string that specifies a path and 
                                     file name of a shortcut
* Returns.......: S_OK on success, error code on failure
* Description...: Creates a Shell link object (shortcut)
**********************************************************************/
HRESULT CreateShortcut(/*in*/ LPCTSTR lpszFileName, 
                    /*in*/ LPCTSTR lpszDesc, 
                    /*in*/ LPCTSTR lpszShortcutPath)
{
    HRESULT hRes = E_FAIL;
    DWORD dwRet = 0;
    CComPtr<IShellLink> ipShellLink;
        // buffer that receives the null-terminated string 
        // for the drive and path
    TCHAR szPath[MAX_PATH];    
        // buffer that receives the address of the final 
        //file name component in the path
    LPTSTR lpszFilePart;    
    WCHAR wszTemp[MAX_PATH];
        
    // Retrieve the full path and file name of a specified file
    dwRet = GetFullPathName(lpszFileName, 
                       sizeof(szPath) / sizeof(TCHAR), 
                       szPath, &lpszFilePart);
    if (!dwRet)                                        
        return hRes;

    // Get a pointer to the IShellLink interface
    hRes = CoCreateInstance(CLSID_ShellLink,
                            NULL, 
                            CLSCTX_INPROC_SERVER,
                            IID_IShellLink,
                            (void**)&ipShellLink);

    if (SUCCEEDED(hRes))
    {
        // Get a pointer to the IPersistFile interface
        CComQIPtr<IPersistFile> ipPersistFile(ipShellLink);

        // Set the path to the shortcut target and add the description
        hRes = ipShellLink->SetPath(szPath);
        if (FAILED(hRes))
            return hRes;

        hRes = ipShellLink->SetDescription(lpszDesc);
        if (FAILED(hRes))
            return hRes;

        // IPersistFile is using LPCOLESTR, so make sure 
                // that the string is Unicode
#if !defined _UNICODE
        MultiByteToWideChar(CP_ACP, 0, 
                       lpszShortcutPath, -1, wszTemp, MAX_PATH);
#else
        wcsncpy(wszTemp, lpszShortcutPath, MAX_PATH);
#endif

        // Write the shortcut to disk
        hRes = ipPersistFile->Save(wszTemp, TRUE);
    }

    return hRes;
}

/*********************************************************************
* Function......: ResolveShortcut
* Parameters....: lpszShortcutPath - string that specifies a path 
                                     and file name of a shortcut
*          lpszFilePath - string that will contain a file name
* Returns.......: S_OK on success, error code on failure
* Description...: Resolves a Shell link object (shortcut)
*********************************************************************/
HRESULT ResolveShortcut(/*in*/ LPCTSTR lpszShortcutPath,
                        /*out*/ LPTSTR lpszFilePath)
{
    HRESULT hRes = E_FAIL;
    CComPtr<IShellLink> ipShellLink;
        // buffer that receives the null-terminated string 
        // for the drive and path
    TCHAR szPath[MAX_PATH];     
        // buffer that receives the null-terminated 
        // string for the description
    TCHAR szDesc[MAX_PATH]; 
        // structure that receives the information about the shortcut
    WIN32_FIND_DATA wfd;    
    WCHAR wszTemp[MAX_PATH];

    lpszFilePath[0] = '\0';

    // Get a pointer to the IShellLink interface
    hRes = CoCreateInstance(CLSID_ShellLink,
                            NULL, 
                            CLSCTX_INPROC_SERVER,
                            IID_IShellLink,
                            (void**)&ipShellLink); 

    if (SUCCEEDED(hRes)) 
    { 
        // Get a pointer to the IPersistFile interface
        CComQIPtr<IPersistFile> ipPersistFile(ipShellLink);

        // IPersistFile is using LPCOLESTR, 
                // so make sure that the string is Unicode
#if !defined _UNICODE
        MultiByteToWideChar(CP_ACP, 0, lpszShortcutPath,
                                       -1, wszTemp, MAX_PATH);
#else
        wcsncpy(wszTemp, lpszShortcutPath, MAX_PATH);
#endif

        // Open the shortcut file and initialize it from its contents
        hRes = ipPersistFile->Load(wszTemp, STGM_READ); 
        if (SUCCEEDED(hRes)) 
        {
            // Try to find the target of a shortcut, 
                        // even if it has been moved or renamed
            hRes = ipShellLink->Resolve(NULL, SLR_UPDATE); 
            if (SUCCEEDED(hRes)) 
            {
                // Get the path to the shortcut target
                hRes = ipShellLink->GetPath(szPath, 
                                     MAX_PATH, &wfd, SLGP_RAWPATH); 
                if (FAILED(hRes))
                    return hRes;

                // Get the description of the target
                hRes = ipShellLink->GetDescription(szDesc,
                                             MAX_PATH); 
                if (FAILED(hRes))
                    return hRes;

                lstrcpyn(lpszFilePath, szPath, MAX_PATH); 
            } 
        } 
    } 

    return hRes;
}

Using the code

The following code will show how you may use these functions.

void HowToCreateShortcut()
{
    LPCTSTR lpszFileName = _T("C:\\Work\\Window.exe");
    LPCTSTR lpszShortcutDesc = _T("Anything can go here");
    LPCTSTR lpszShortcutPath = 
_T("C:\\Documents and Settings\\Administrator\\Desktop\\Sample Shortcut.lnk");

    CreateShortcut(lpszFileName, lpszShortcutDesc, lpszShortcutPath);
}

void HowToResolveShortcut()
{
    LPCTSTR lpszShortcutPath = 
_T("C:\\Documents and Settings\\Administrator\\Desktop\\Sample Shortcut.lnk");
    TCHAR szFilePath[MAX_PATH];

    ResolveShortcut(lpszShortcutPath, szFilePath);
}

That's it.

License

This article, along with any associated source code and files, is licensed under The Code Project Open License (CPOL)

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About the Author

Igor Vigdorchik
Web Developer
United States United States
No Biography provided

Comments and Discussions

 
GeneralMy vote of 5 Pin
Andreas Strauss25-Oct-12 7:43
memberAndreas Strauss25-Oct-12 7:43 
GeneralWhy this article is similiar with "http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/aa969393.aspx" Pin
transoft13-Jun-11 12:17
membertransoft13-Jun-11 12:17 
GeneralRe: Why this article is similiar with "http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/aa969393.aspx" Pin
Igor Vigdorchik18-Jul-11 13:34
memberIgor Vigdorchik18-Jul-11 13:34 
Generalhttp://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/aa969393.aspx Pin
transoft13-Jun-11 12:16
membertransoft13-Jun-11 12:16 
GeneralHow about shortcut under "Start" "All Programs"? Pin
transoft13-Jun-11 8:36
membertransoft13-Jun-11 8:36 
Generalhttp link Pin
limelect23-May-11 3:37
memberlimelect23-May-11 3:37 
GeneralResolving can be simpler : AfxResolveShortcut Pin
Alexandre GRANVAUD18-Jan-10 0:17
memberAlexandre GRANVAUD18-Jan-10 0:17 
GeneralRe: Resolving can be simpler : AfxResolveShortcut Pin
Yogurt25-Jan-11 11:39
memberYogurt25-Jan-11 11:39 
Generalcreate url shortcut Pin
Keith K. S. Lee22-Aug-08 0:11
memberKeith K. S. Lee22-Aug-08 0:11 
GeneralRe: create url shortcut Pin
Igor Vigdorchik22-Aug-08 16:58
memberIgor Vigdorchik22-Aug-08 16:58 
GeneralDoesn't work anything!!! Pin
Capitanevs12-Nov-07 4:04
memberCapitanevs12-Nov-07 4:04 
GeneralRe: Doesn't work anything!!! Pin
Igor Vigdorchik12-Nov-07 6:34
memberIgor Vigdorchik12-Nov-07 6:34 
GeneralVery Helpful. Thanks Pin
SoftwareGeek14-Aug-07 0:49
memberSoftwareGeek14-Aug-07 0:49 
Generalcant include atlbase.h Pin
mohsen nourian1-Feb-06 21:31
membermohsen nourian1-Feb-06 21:31 
GeneralRe: cant include atlbase.h Pin
Igor Vigdorchik2-Feb-06 6:45
memberIgor Vigdorchik2-Feb-06 6:45 
GeneralDelete the UNC path information Pin
asimeqi12-Apr-05 9:42
memberasimeqi12-Apr-05 9:42 
GeneralArguments Pin
Vadimeti14-Nov-04 5:07
memberVadimeti14-Nov-04 5:07 
GeneralRe: Arguments Pin
Igor Vigdorchik14-Nov-04 8:46
memberIgor Vigdorchik14-Nov-04 8:46 
GeneralGetPath may "succeed" without returning a path Pin
--.-4-Nov-04 10:59
member--.-4-Nov-04 10:59 
GeneralRe: GetPath may &quot;succeed&quot; without returning a path Pin
Igor Vigdorchik4-Nov-04 11:49
memberIgor Vigdorchik4-Nov-04 11:49 
GeneralRe: GetPath may &quot;succeed&quot; without returning a path Pin
--.-4-Nov-04 12:32
member--.-4-Nov-04 12:32 
GeneralRe: GetPath may &quot;succeed&quot; without returning a path Pin
Igor Vigdorchik4-Nov-04 12:43
memberIgor Vigdorchik4-Nov-04 12:43 
GeneralRe: GetPath may "succeed" without returning a path Pin
Abraxas2325-Dec-11 16:32
memberAbraxas2325-Dec-11 16:32 
QuestionRelease? Pin
Anonymous14-Sep-04 0:09
sussAnonymous14-Sep-04 0:09 
AnswerRe: Release? Pin
Igor Vigdorchik19-Sep-04 6:18
memberIgor Vigdorchik19-Sep-04 6:18 

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