How to Fix The Item That This Shortcut Refers to Has Been Changed or Moved?

Shortcuts in Windows 10 and 11 let you run an app or open a specific file from any place in the operating system without copying a file or app to the needed location. For example, you can keep a file or app in one folder on drive C and have a shortcut on the Desktop and the Start menu. Sometimes, when trying to open a shortcut, users encounter the following error: The item that this shortcut refers to has been changed or moved. Here is everything you need to know about this error and how to fix it.

the item that this shortcut refers to has been changed or moved

Understanding the Item That This Shortcut Refers to Has Been Changed or Moved Error

There is only one reason why the item that this shortcut refers to has been changed or moved error happens. Someone or something changed the file or path to the file linked to your shortcut. You can check this by doing the following:

  1. Right-click your troublesome shortcut and select Properties. fix the item that this shortcut refers to has been changed or moved
  2. Find the Target field and copy it. fix error the item that this shortcut refers to has been changed or moved
  3. Open File Explorer, paste the path in the address bar, and press Enter. Most likely, Windows will show you an error. That means the path does not work.

Paths to files shortcuts use can change for several reasons:

  • Someone renamed one of the folders in the path. For example, your shortcut refers to a file in C:\Windows\Test, but someone or something renamed the folder to Test1. Try to manually go to the folder with the app or file you try to launch and ensure all folders have the correct names. Even one wrong character in one folder will cause the item that this shortcut refers to has been changed or moved error.
  • Someone or something renamed the drive letter. All folders can have the correct name, but changing C:\Windows\Test to D:\Windows\Test will yield the same negative result. Changing the drive letter will force you to redo all your shortcuts.
  • The shortcut refers to a removable or internal drive that is no longer connected to your system. The solution is simple: reconnect the missing media.
  • You tried to copy a file or app from another computer but copied the shortcut instead. In such a case, you get the item that this shortcut refers to has been changed or moved error because the file you need remains on the other computer. All you have is a tiny file that tells Windows where to find the required files.
  • Antivirus purged your files or software. Again, the solution is easy: check your antivirus logs and restore the missing files if necessary, unless they are infected with malware.

How to Fix the Item that this shortcut refers to has been changed or moved error?

If you know where the required file or app is, the simplest way to fix the problem is to create a new shortcut. Delete the broken shortcut, then right-click the file or app and select Send to > Desktop (Create a shortcut). Next, move the shortcut anywhere you like.

Tip. If you use Windows 11, right-click the file or app and select Show more options > Send to > Desktop.

If you changed the drive letter and the shortcut you need is now broken, right-click it and select Properties. In the Target field, change the drive letter to the correct one. That will work, assuming the folder structure has not changed. How to Fix the Item that this shortcut refers to has been changed or moved error

Try restoring the deleted file or app from Recycle Bin or in your antivirus settings. Finally, you can try to reinstall the app with a broken shortcut.

Cyril Kardashevsky

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