Question: Windows 10 search returning internet shortcuts as "History Items" - malware?

Hello:

When searching for a file in File Explorer,  at the bottom of the search returns list are items marked with a "globe" graphic.    Unlike all of the other items returned by the search, they do not have any Type or Date information.    Example: if I'm searching for a recently used file, I will get an item at the bottom of the search list with the globe icon and the name of the file.

When I right-click on the item and select "Properties",  the dialogue box lists the Type as Internet Shortcut , with a local Internet Address.  (example:  file:///D:/OneDrive/filename.xlsx)

When I right-click on the item and select "Delete" I get a dialogue box that says WARNING  - Are you sure you want to delete History Item: <filename>?

This does not seem to be normal behavior and I'm not seeing it on my other Windows 10 machine with search results.    Can anyone please advise me if these "History Items" are system-generated by Windows 10 and where?    As the shortcut is pointing to a local file address it seems concerning.

Thanks!

Hi Kevin,

 

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After investigating further it seems that disabling the Start menu history features solves this problem.    

Going to Start > Settings > and then searching for "Start settings" in the search box at the top leads to a control panel where I can disable multiple "recently opened" features.

As a result, Windows no longer seems to be creating strange Internet Shortcuts for recently opened files that show up in a File Explorer search.    It also stops creating items in the hidden Users > (username) > Recent folder.

When I called the Windows support line to ask about the shortcut behavior, the person I spoke to consulted his "support" and then suggested that I had a trojan horse virus.    I completely wiped my machine and rebuilt the system, only to get the same behavior.    Only after looking further at every setting, step-by-step, did I figure this out.    Giant waste of time.

Microsoft:  Creating property-less Internet Shortcuts with a local URL as "History Items" - with no published directory location - looks like a malware behavior.    Even your own support staff thought so!     Please stop doing weird stuff like this.   A history should be saved to one text file that can be cleared, full stop.

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Last updated September 12, 2020 Views 1,107 Applies to: