Why does the Links folder keep re-creating itself?

Raymond Chen

Those of you who dislike the Links folder have probably tried to delete it, only to discover that it keeps coming back. Why is that? This is Internet Explorer trying to do some auto-repair. It noticed that the Links folder is missing, so it figures, “Gosh, it must be corrupted! I’d better fix the problem by creating a replacement.” People complain that computers can’t perform self-repair, and then when the software tries to perform self-repair, they get mad. “But I wanted it to stay broken.” You can’t win. The way to indicate, “Yes, I know about the Links folder, but I don’t want to use it” is to hide it. This is extraordinarily similar to a problem some people have with Device Manager. They don’t want Windows to use a particular device, so they delete it. And then it gets re-detected and added back. Because when you delete the device, you’re saying, “Forget everything you know about this device.” Then when it gets re-detected, Windows says, “Gosh, here’s a device I’ve never seen before! The user must have bought it recently. Let me add it to the device tree so the user can use it.” In other words, Windows behaves the way it does because the alternative is even worse: You buy a device, plug it in, and nothing happens.

If you have a device that you don’t want Windows to use, go into the Device Manager and Disable it rather than deleting it. This means, “Yes, I know about this device, but I don’t want to use it.”


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