How to recover data when all files on flash drive or external hard drive have changed to shortcuts? It usually happens due to a virus.
If you connected your flash drive to an infected computer, all your existing files may get converted into shortcuts. The file names will be weird. But if you check the space usage, you will find that the data is still there. No need to worry!
Months back, I had written a post on similar topic to recover virus infected data from Pen/Flash drive.
The process is still the same and its very simple. However, not all our readers are tech savvy and hence they faced some difficulties. As a result, I receive tons of emails daily. Some of the questions are repeated several times. Hence, in this article, I will put the answers to questions that are frequently asked.
Getting back to the topic, to recover your data (which is converted to shortcuts), just follow these simple steps:
- Connect your pen/flash/external drive to your computer.
- Go to My Computers and check what drive it is assigned for example F: or G: drive. Lets assume its G: (replace it with correct letter as applicable in your case).
- Click on “Start” –>”Run”–> type cmd and hit OK. This will start command prompt.
- Enter the following command and hit “Enter”.
attrib -H -R -S /S /D G:\*.*
1. In the above command, alphabet G represents the drive letter for your flash/Pen drive. You may need to change it as it shows in your computer.
2. Make sure that you put spaces, as its there. Better to copy in a notepad first.
Q: I tried the command but getting this error: attrib-h-r-s cannot be recognized.
A: I bet you missed the spaces attrib -H -R -S /D G:\*.*
Q: If I use the attrib command, will the hard drive get formatted and will all the files and folders be deleted?
A: No, only the files converted to shortcuts will be recovered. Nothing will be deleted.
Q: I had accidently deleted the data on my pen drive. How can I recover that?
A: For that you need data recovery tool. Try these free tools – Recuva, TestDisk, PhotoRec etc.
Q: All files converted to shortcuts and are infected by virus. Should I format my pen drive?
A: If you format the drive, you will loose all the data. Try to recover existing data using the attrib command as written in the post. Also scan the drive with latest antivirus.
Q: My folder name contains spaces for example My ABC. How to run the command?
A: When you run the command, use double quotes around the folder name ie “My ABC”
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