I've got lots of .LNK files and a jscript running on XP using the standard wsh stuff (same as used in VBS) can happily read the TargetPath from them i.e. "c:\Program Files\SomeApp\some.exe".
Except when it can't :(
Early days and I'll have to make another teensy script to test this, but I think it breaks if the shortcut was created on 2008 (and it's over twice the size in bytes of a similar one created on XP).
Does anyone know anything about this?