If you have a link to a network drive, folder, or other network resource on your Windows 7 machine, and don’t connect to that network resource often enough, Windows 7 will periodically treat the link as ‘broken’ and delete it automatically.
Windows 7 has an automated maintenance task that runs from Task Scheduler that performs system maintenance and, among other things, automatically deletes those broken links. There are a few different ways to fix or work around this.
This can be extremely frustrating and annoying.
This issue has been discussed in great length on Microsoft TechNet here. A workaround has been discussed by Microsoft here, which is largely to disable the maintenance task (described below). Microsoft has also released a registry fix, available here. However, for users which aren’t comfortable or do have have permission to modify the registry (non-Administrative end-users, for example), the registry fix is not a solution.
The below detail several possible workarounds, but the one that will likely work the best is the following first method:
Method 1: Create links that don’t break
This is the most preferred method, as the scheduled task continues to run, but your links never break.
To do this, start by creating a link to a network resource. For my example, I’m using diskstationhome.
First, create your link in the typical fashion, by right-dragging a network location and selecting Create shortcuts here.
Next, right-click your newly-created shortcut and click Properties
For the target, insert explorer.exe in the beginning, and surround your network path with quotes, like so:
This changes the target of the shortcut to be explorer.exe, and therefore the link will never “break.”
Method 2: Copy your network shortcuts elsewhere
You can copy those shortcuts onto a USB flash drive, external hard drive, or other removable media, so that Windows can’t reach them to automatically remove them.
Method 3: Disable the maintenance task
You can disable the maintenance task that runs. While this isn’t the best workaround, as it disables the other productive features of the maintenance task, it’s not hard to do.
To disable the maintenance task, click Start, right-click Computer, and click Manage.
Next, expand Task Scheduler, and go to Task Scheduler Library > Microsoft > Windows > Diagnosis.
You will see a task in the right pane labelled Diagnosis. Right-click the task and click Disable.
Method 4: Apply the registry fix
This is just a reiteration of the registry fix linked to above, from Microsoft KB 2642357.
Click Start, and run regedit
Navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESoftwareMicrosoftWindowsScheduledDiagnostics
Create a New DWORD Value called IsBrokenShortcutsTSEnabled with a value of 0 (zero).
Create a New DWORD Value called IsUnusedDesktopIconsTSEnabled with a value of 0 (zero).
Questions, comments, feedback, or other thoughts to share? Please feel free to add them in the comments below. Thank you!