Phantom Links in Microsoft Office Files

Users have reported to us that LinkFixer Advanced “sees” (and reports) more links than they are able to find in their Microsoft Office files.

When you are dealing with file formats at the level necessary to do what we do at LinkTek, and when you do it all day long, you run into all kinds of interesting phenomena.

So we investigated.

We had a few questions like: What are these links that our software is finding but no one else sees? Is LinkFixer Advanced seeing “dead people”? (I have a dog that my wife and I are convinced sees dead people — or at least she thinks she does.)

I had a couple of our software engineers look at the raw data contained in files sent to us by customers who had reported this paranormal file activity. Long story short, we have come to the conclusion that these phantom links do exist in the files when LinkFixer Advanced reports them. (Whew! The software is not delusional after all.)

This is a LinkFixer Advanced report showing two broken links instead of one. So what’s important about this? Keep reading to find out.

Ghost-ChainTurns out that these ghostly links are relics left over from times that they were modified using the application (for example, Excel). In essence, they are earlier iterations (versions) of links, and are no longer actually doing anything.

We did the following test: We modified a link in an Excel file using Excel 2013. We just opened the Excel file and made a change to part of a link.

Beware of the phantom file link!

The result was a duplicated link that was reported by LinkFixer Advanced but not visible in the file itself. (The link does nothing.) On the other hand, if instead of modifying the link using Excel, we delete it entirely and replace it with a new correct link, no “phantom” link is created.

It is important to note that phantom links only happen when modifying links directly inside the Microsoft Office application. If you have LinkFixer Advanced modify your links, no phantoms are created.

We have never figured out why the Office applications retain the internal data that leads to these phantom links. Fortunately, phantom links do not have any adverse effect on your files (that we know of) nor on the operation of LinkFixer Advanced.

Do you have questions regarding this article? Let us know in the comments below or e-mail us at: LinkMail@LinkTek.com

Try Now!

Related Posts

Take a Break: How To Get Out of the Office After a Data Migration

Sep 14, 2021

As the summer draws to a close, now might be a good time for a quick getaway with the family. We can all agree that 2020 and 2021 have been stressful, so grab any opportunity to take time off and be together as a family, engaged in some fun vacation activities.

Read More

On Moving Your Data to the Cloud: “Resistance is Futile” and Unnecessary

Sep 7, 2021

You may have heard about the recent ransomware attack on American meat supplier, JBS USA, headquartered in Greeley, Colorado. JBS Foods, the parent company located in Brazil, is one of the world’s largest food companies, with over 150 plants in 15 countries, 150,000 employees worldwide and customers in about 100 countries.

Read More

Murder Suspect Released Due to Faulty Data Migration

Aug 31, 2021

What do ankle monitors and missing data have to do with one another? Ask the Dallas Police Department, who had to release a murder suspect without bail just days before his trial was due to start.

Read More
Software Update

Latest Release of LinkFixer Advanced™ Streamlines Cloud Data Migrations

Jan 27, 2020

Clearwater, Florida, USA — LinkTek Corporation, the world’s leading provider of automatic link-fixing software, announced the release of LinkFixer Advanced version 5.3. According to LinkTek,…

Read More
Computer Server

Newest Release of Automatic Link Fixing Software Simplifies the Process of Protecting Links When Moving to SharePoint On-Premise or Online

Oct 2, 2018

LinkTek’s newest release of LinkFixer Advanced features a significant improvement that the company says will save its customers countless hours by eliminating the need to…

Read More
One Note Icon

LinkFixer Advanced Now Supports Microsoft OneNote and Project Files

Apr 25, 2017

LinkFixer Advanced is patented software which protects file links and automatically fixes broken links after files are moved or renamed. (Clearwater, Florida, USA) May 4, 2017…

Read More