This guide explains you how to recover or get back the files that are infected by the shortcut virus in your USB drive or Pen drive.
This problem is very common. Many of the readers have complained about this error. I also get emails with following queries.
“All files in pen / USB drive are appearing as shortcut files”
“The folders and files in my USB drive are changed to shortcut.”
“The space used in USB drive is same but still I can’t access or open the files.”
“The files and data in my external hard disk has changed to shortcut files.”
“I can’t access files in my USB hard drive or Pen drive as all files are changed to shortcut files.”
As I just said, it is very common problem since last few years. It’s a kind of virus that converts all your data files into shortcuts.
The Problem of Files Getting Infected by Shortcut Virus
It can happen to anyone.
You save your important data to your USB drive or external hard drive. After some time, you find that you cannot access your data! When you check the file names, the file name is same as you saved earlier. However, the icon suggests that it’s actually a shortcut.
Yes, just a shortcut to the file, not the actual data file as you had stored on your USB drive. That means your USB drive has been affected by shortcut virus.
Also read: USB device not recognized error. How to fix?
Is Your Data Gone?
You may think for a while that all your important data is deleted. You are just left with shortcut to the files and there is no original file to which these shortcuts point to.
But wait. Just check the space used by the pen drive or USB drive. Surprised? Yeah it still has the same “space used”.
If the data was gone, you should be left with totally or almost free USB drive or pen drive.
So that means, you still have the data. Somehow you cannot access it. That’s due to the shortcut virus.
How to Recover Files that are Infected by the Shortcut Virus in USB drive/ Hard Drive / Pen Drive
Follow the instructions below and don’t worry if you don’t understand the technical jargons. Do this using the admin account on your computer.
Press the Window key and “R” key on your keyboard simultaneously. It will open the “Run” prompt. For those who are not aware, Run prompt is used to start any application by just typing the short name of the application.
So once you have opened the Run prompt, type CMD. Then hit the Enter key. CMD will open Command Prompt – a black window where you can type DOS commands.
Once you are in command prompt, type in below command.
ATTRIB -H -R -S /S /D J:\
Note: Copy pasting the commands from webpage may not be correct in some cases. If you want to copy paste, then do it on a notepad first and then check if it’s correct. Edit it on notepad if required and then copy paste it on the command prompt.
Important: The letter J denotes the letter of the drive that represents your USB drive or pen drive. It may change from one computer to other computer. So, first check in your “Computer” the letter that denotes your USB drive and according use it in the above command.
So that’s ATTRIB followed by space followed by hyphen followed by letter H then space followed by hyphen followed by letter R then space followed by hyphen followed by letter S then space followed by forward slash followed by letter S then space followed by slash followed by letter D followed by space followed by drive letter of your USB followed by a colon followed by backward slash.
Once you have keyed in the above command with correct letter of USB, hit the enter key.
That’s it. Just go back to your USB drive after a couple of minutes and you will see all the data back.
Take back-up of your data files (not the shortcut files) on your PC and then format the problematic USB. The shortcut virus should be gone.
Important: Do remember to take the back-up properly before formatting the USB drive.
So this was the easy way to recover files that were converted to shortcut by the shortcut virus in USB drive or pen drive.
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