<file system> Microsoft Corporation's term for a symbolic link, stored as a file with extension ".lnk". Shortcuts first appeared in 1996 in the Windows 95 operating system. Windows shortcuts can link to any file or directory ("folder"), including those on remote computers, using UNC paths. Each shortcut can also have its own icon. A shortcut that links to an executable file can pass arguments and specify the directory in which the command should run. Unlike a Unix symbolic link, a shortcut does not always behave exactly like the target file or directory.