If you are seeing an error message “Problem with Shortcut. The target of this Internet Shortcut is not valid. Go to the Internet Shortcut property sheet and make sure the target is correct” when you click on a desktop shortcut or pinned taskbar icon, follow the steps in this article to fix the problem.
This error message generally appears when trying to open a .url or .htm shortcut but its target is set to blank (“”). Since the target is blank, Windows doesn’t know what to do with the shortcut and shows the error message. This has been a known issue on Windows since the Vista days. On modern systems such as Windows 10 and 11, the error generally appears when using applications such as Steam which makes heavy use of URIs and URLs in the shortcuts, or when you uninstall an application but it did not clean up the shortcut properly.
Thankfully, you can easily fix the problem with a small registry tweak officially announced by Microsoft. Once the registry tweak is implemented, either manually re-create the shortcut or re-install the application, and the problem is solved. Let’s get started.
The target internet shortcut is not valid solution
Windows users experiencing the ‘internet shortcut is not valid’ error have to implement a registry hotfix, that is, create and modify a new registry key and value to fix the problem. Follow the steps below:
With your mouse cursor, click on the Windows logo on the taskbar to open the Start menu. Type “Registry Editor” in the Start menu and click on the top result to open the Registry Editor window. Press the “Yes” button in the UAC (User Account Control) prompt.
Go to the “HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE” > “SOFTWARE” > “Microsoft” > “Internet Explorer” > “Main ” > “FeatureControl” in the Registry Editor. Select and right-click on the “FeatureControl” folder and select the “New” > “Key” option to create a new sub-folder (subkey). Set the name of the new sub-folder as “FEATURE_URLFILE_CACHEFLUSH_KB936881”.
Select the newly created sub-folder (subkey), right-click on it, and choose the “New” > “DWORD (32-bit) Value” option. This will create a blank value on the right panel. Set its name as “iexplore.exe”.
After the new DWORD value is created, right-click on it, and choose the “Modify” option. You can also double-click on the value. Next, change the Value data from 0 to “1” and press the “Ok” button.
After changing the DWORD’s value data, close the Registry Editor window by clicking on the “X” icon on the title bar. Next, reboot your computer by clicking on the Windows logo and pressing the “Power button” > “Shutdown” option.
Once the system has been rebooted, try using the shortcut and it should work. Otherwise, either re-create the shortcut or reinstall the target application. The error message will disappear and not reappear again.
I hope this short tutorial helped you fix the shortcut problem.
If you are stuck or need help, send an email or comment below, and I will try to help as much as possible.