How to Fix Files on External/Flash Drive Folders Changed to Shortcuts Virus


Shortcuts Virus changes our files on our USB Flash Drive, Memory Cards, External Hard Drive files into Shortcuts. So users couldn’t open the files from their Flash Pen Drives. Many people are getting this Virus from their Work Place, Public browsing centers and Losing their Data. The USB Shortcut Virus deletes the “Folder options” menu and “Task Manager” as well.

Shortcut Virus in the Flash drive alters the names of the files to shortcuts and makes the flash drive or hard drive files as hidden data. We can easily remove the shortcut virus If the flash drive is not formatted.

Solution to Fix Files on External/Flash Drive Files Changed into Shortcuts :

The good side of these viruses is that they don’t delete the actual content. It was just hide in our Flash Drive. We can easily recover all the files.

Step 1: If you are affected by Shorcut Viruses,Do not format your Flash or External Drive. If you format you can’t Recover it.

Step 2: Check your Flash Drive’s Drive Letter ( Example : I: or K:)

Pen Drive Shorcut Virus

Step 3: Click on “Start” –>Run–>type “cmd” and click on OK

Step 4: If your Flash Drive Letter is K: then Type the below command in your “cmd” and Press “Enter

attrib -h -r -s /s /d k: *.* (Check the screenshot ) Note : Replace the letter k: with your flash drive letter

Remove Pen Drive Shorcut Virus

Step 5 : Now your files will be visible.Make sure to keep the antivirus up-to-date to prevent viruses. These are the steps to Recover Data from Virus Infected USB/Flash/Pen Drive.


  1. Thank you, Works perfectly

  2. Roderick Nicolson

    Fantastic. It takes a lot of effort to find this site because of all the rubbish and fake websites claiming to fix this problem. They’re making a screen against finding the genuine sites. The answer is so simple and works perfectly.
    Thanks for putting this up Matt.

  3. This worked awesomely! I have been in a serious predicamenr for days and It could not have come at a better time.. I lost some serious files and I got them back I’m sooo grateful

  4. It didnt worked as indicated, but I backed to the root, and then to the flash drive’s directory, retyped command there, minus the drive letter, and it DID work. Thanks a lot :)

  5. It did work. Could you please tell me whether I can delete the newly created folder by the name $RECYCLE.BIN

  6. I already tried above suggestion but I still can’t recover my data. it still in shortcuts file. Pls urgently help me to get my data back

  7. when i press enter after entering this command, nothing happens. please help.

  8. good work works like magic and i have permanantly deleted those fake folders. Cheers man keep it up..!!!

  9. really works! thank you so muuuuch 😀

  10. bro thanks alot bro. its rely work. thanks again..

  11. i really repair my flash thank you so much

  12. Thank u very much… thank u thank u for the help… yahooooooooo……

  13. awesome… all my file is back like a magic..Thanks

  14. when i press enter after typing those letters it says file not found – k:*.*_

  15. Worked like a charm…thanks

  16. Thanks a lot. It worked well. I appreciate

  17. thanks alot buddy its working

  18. is there any software that can change the shortcut back to folder..?? i tried all the method but all failed.. huhuhu…someone plzzz help me… i need to recover all my files..

  19. Work like a charm, I thought hope was lost, but like magic all my files were back and easy to open. Thank You much.

  20. I tried this and it came up with ‘unable to change attribute H’ and then came up with a list of my files. Any suggestions? Thanks :)

  21. Please have tried the run command but i cant delete the files…when i checked the drive,i saw a few of the infected files please help explain in details…i have more than 100GB files please…am using avg antivirus

  22. Hi! Your tips were so helpful. I was able to recover my files and see them again after missing them for some time. More power! Thank you verrrryy much…

  23. it didnt work, when i clicked enter nothing happend! please help me urgent :( !!!

  24. this was so kool..!! thnx a lot..!!

  25. how can i delete a shortcut from my pendieve????? its not deletin ???? i hv tried to delete it bt its not happenin……

  26. u saved my life here…thx

  27. Hi, I accidentally formatted my 4 gig pendrive. Will this still work? If not, what can I use?

  28. im having this shortcut virus now..i try to do the command but still same…so how do i fix this?

  29. Hai Arun, im having this virus atm. Is the command you teach us also the same as = Go to control panel, folder options, show hidden files?

    There is a folder name RECYCLER IN my external FD, i bet its the virus. Ok, when I already see the hidden folder, say, There is Folder X and Shortcut of Folder X. Can i just delete the Shortcut of Folder X and RECYCLER as well as doing full scan?

  30. Dear Arun,
    The solution is in’t permanent. Everytime I connect the external hard disk, the shortcut virus again shows. please help out !!!

    • To solve the problem , you should full scan your pc and delete the trojan that was still running on your PC. Please use latest anti virus norton 2012 or kaspersky . Then run this command with your hard drive.

      The problem wont come again….

  31. I am using bit defender…and everytime i enter the command it says access denied, does this mean it is because my antivirus program is on?

    • No. You are not having admin rights. Please try the commands in as admin.

      To clear this doubt, You can try the same by turning off the bitdefender protection.

  32. very good thing it is working thanks to H.E.Lion

  33. it works! thanks a lot! =)

  34. Dear Dear, Thanks A lot, I love you man, You are great, God Bless u and your dear ones,

    take care,

  35. thanks!!!! i love you


  37. Hi all,

    Its really awesome it works really very fantastic u will get 100% data back it is really wonderful really i am vry grateful to you ………..

  38. Thanks for the great info. I recovered those 4 GB data on my USB flash drive with the help this post and another article: A huge thanks.

  39. Works!
    Thanks a lot! :)

  40. I have tried both solution, but my most important folders are still displayed as shortcuts and when i try to open, an erro pops! What should i do?
    Thanks in advance

    • I have tried both solution, but my most important folders are still displayed as shortcuts and when i try to open, an erro pops! What should i do?
      Thanks in advance

  41. Hi, I follow all steps, but i still can’t see my files, in cmd for every open file say access denied..
    What can I do to solve this problem, Pleas Help Me

  42. Thank you almost cried. I had no idea it was a virus!! Thank you thanks and blessing be to you

  43. thanks for your help! godbless you :)

  44. I have just followed your instructions for getting rid of the Shortcut Virus and am absolutely delighted to report that I have recovered all the infected files.
    Please convey my eternal thanks to the programmer who wrote the recovery program.
    With my very best regards,
    Derek Conners

  45. yeah thanks it really works. god bless you

  46. I got another way to fix it and it work 100%

    Follow these steps (if you are using windows..):
    1) open your infected drive directory (example: drive F:\)
    2) open tool, folder option, view tab
    3) click “show hidden files & folders”
    4) UNCLICK both “Hide extension for known file type” and “Hide protected operating system files (recommended)”
    5) If there is a warning, just click yes

    /* Now you should be able to see your lost file (its in transparent folder)*/

    6) Enter the hidden folder, CUT all your file and PASTE it inside a new folder. (repeat this step for your other folder too)
    7) Delete all old folders that is empty and also the annoying 1kB shortcut folder. (also any suspicious folder or icon such as desktop.ini, thumb.db etc that might be virus)
    Dont forget to undo step 2 and 3 if your done.

    /*if you’re infected by this virus again in the future, i recommend you to put all your files and folder in just ONE folder inside your external device.(so you dont have to repeat step 6 so many time)*/

    • Thanks a lot..i just did the step u’ve shown, and it’s working!!Yeah!! i’m in the process of transfer all my data to new folder..then format my USB disk..

  47. Thanks a million man… I thought all my files are gone!!! Thanks for your help again.

  48. Thank you so much my external hard disk works fine now. You are awesome!

  49. you should check the spacing between the arguments, and others with the screenshot…

  50. my problem is not solved with your explanation.could u please give more advise…???

    • In folder options — Uncheck the ” Hide the protected Operating system files”.. then you can see all the files that are hidden in your Flash drive.

  51. it does not recognize the h

    please help!

    • can you please explain the issue clearly

      • k what i ment to say what that in the code u gave us it was telling me that it wasn’t recognizing the “-h”…

        but when i went back i realize that i left out a word and it was “attrib” then i did put that in and everything fine after that:)

        thank you very much
        God bless you

        p.s what you think is a good antivirus to protect your computer that does not expire within a month?

  52. Thanks a lot you made my day…;)

  53. that is how to heal the file on the flash drive.. how about the folder? all my folder are hidden by that virus and i can make it visible again.. while i see the properties, it was lock with hidden check.. i can not uncheck the hidden…

    All i’m doin is, cut and paste all file and folder in the folder that hidden in a new folder.. but i’m not sure if the virus is gone…


  55. i unplugged it and pluged back in and my files were shortcuts again

  56. Hey great job thanks a lot, it helped.

  57. where do I find the hard drive Letter?

  58. Thank you so much for this… It really works

  59. Thank You Very Much…It`s Working…

  60. THis saved me time on doing a whole six page assignment over.. THis truley came in handy… Thanks so much for whoever posted those easy steps!

  61. Amazing . . .
    works great using CMD

  62. its amazing. use some anti virus to get rid of the trojan and then apply the steps. wonderful.

  63. Dear Adarsh
    Very good and effective solution. Thank you very much.

    Wish you all success

    Majeed H

  64. I dont care about the drive or its files. Any info on how to actually remove the virus? Malwarebytes does not detect it.

  65. I found an easy solution.It is really very easy.

    i)First open your mass storage-Don’t delete any files in the steps given below.The files affected will automatically change to older files.

    ii)Now create files in your desktop with exact same names of the affected files in the flash drivemass storage.

    iii)Check that the files are named exactly as the infected files.

    iv)Now copy the files you created,one by one to the mass storage/flash drive.

    v)The files copied to the memory card should be empty.

    vi)When you copy the files you created from the desktop,the infected files with same name will be moved and the new files will be copied.

  66. Thanks man! I can now recover my sister’s files. Thanks so much!! Cool!!

  67. WOW!life saver!

  68. That’s a fantastic way to do that. The command prompt, cmd, never gets affected by the virus. I think it’s the core. We can access every corner of the computer with this command prompt. In previous versions of windows, like 98 and 2000, it included the DOS and the DOS is the Boss.. Anything can be done from it.
    And here in the above technique, what you did is you simply changed the attributes. That was pretty cool.
    Anyways, nice post and keep it up..!

  69. Great Stuff!!! In additional, you can always make a batch file out of it, a great time saver for us who’s always in a hurry :)

  70. FYI, This steps is very common way of removing such virus and actually it NEVER works to me when i was infected by that virus. i have a software to remove shortcut virus

    • hey there, I’m desperate to get home and try this out with the cmd prompt but Jessie what’s the software you use if for some reason I can’t get it to work this way??

      • here’s the Link “” Just download this and copy to the drive which is infected by the virus, then double click it to run, just wait for a second it will be done. PM me if anything goes wrong..

        • Hi there, being cautious I made a copy folder of the files and ran the file, all it did was delete them all. I’m looking at a problem which is different. I need to retrieve the folders and files that “appear” as shortcuts but which are simply mistargeted… the pendrive is F: but in the properties of the bad files it says the target is G: so even the tricks involving resetting the target won’t work as I cannot change G: to F:

          I’m getting really desperate and there are no references to my particular virus cooquowx.exe anywhere, well nothing that helps anyway. Thanks for trying. I hope someone has the answer somewhere.

  71. thanks guys…my external hard drive was clean

  72. Great cmd.!
    Thanks lot.
    It works

  73. thanks it worked, took some time though,

  74. very very thank a lot for u bro

  75. Thank finally all my folder recover and the virus has be delete using avast!

  76. can any one say which antivirus software is capable of detecting and removing this virus permanently?
    I tried avira, norton & avast but they are not detecting any threat………. So please comment

  77. the problem didnt fix >>>the folders still hidden

  78. thanks
    a lot i hv recovered my mobile contents :)

  79. i checked and tried the above screen shot but nothing happen still my files are hidden, although i didn’t got any error from entering the attrib command, please anyone out there can help.. please send p.m to me ( tnxs!

  80. I tried the suggested procedure. But a message appears system cannot find the path specified. The name of my drive H is AKB and it is independednt of C. Kindly suggest the right procedures for my case.

  81. thanks a lot for u help i retriverd back all my imp files

  82. hi man it really works thanks for you help your genuines

  83. Thanks a million! I bought an antivirus and it did not work. You were having the answer all along.

  84. Chris Allyson Villanueva

    Thank you very much ! (V)

  85. Thanks man. I downloaded a bullguard, scanned and fixed the problem. So it’s just the thing of the past now.

  86. thanks man , it worked for me , saved the day 😀

  87. guys the ‘attrib’ command is solving the problem temporarely , but each time i plug my flash disk, it is reoccuring. Microsoft has published a tool to solve the problem but it is not working for me. Any suggestions?

  88. Great buddy! This command really works, I was worried about my data, but just recovered it. Thanks alot.

  89. Thanks uploader it work’s “Appreciated”

  90. thanq very much my friend. i received my info back….

  91. It works, but the shortcuts keep on coming back everytime i insert the flash. Is that normal?

  92. I followed your directions, but i receive an access denied, is there another solution or maybe a step I am overlooking?

    • well run it as admin and keep the space between the commands (refer screenshot). Its working for everyone. see the comments friends

      • the screen shot is self explanatory, I am the admin of my comp, and it just isn’t working, I receive a message similar to this:

        access denied – F:\$recycling bin\S-1-5-21

  93. you know what? I Lurve U…Marry me

  94. Bala gangadhar rap

    Superb… shortcuts removed and recovered the original files in my pen drive

  95. thank’s man , it’s superb

  96. hey please help me out…

    i tried alot f things to remove this shortcut virus….not happening…tried the above steps too…its displayin as unable to change attribute..

    the problem is everytime i insert a external drive every folder wil b converted to shortcuts but i can access files by typin “foldername.lnk” at the top of window..i want to get rid of these frickin shortcuts!!

    • “Unable to change attribute” means the system’s user don’t have admin access. Try the above steps in admin mode or in some other pc as “administrator”.

      Let me know if you need any other help

    • Bala gangadhar rao

      write only foldre name. Remove Ink at end.

  97. great……tension gone…thanks…it works….!

  98. thank, i fixed my pendrive already.thanks.

  99. thank you so much! worked perfect and im very happy i didnt lose all my files! :)

  100. Thanks man it works your a genius =]

  101. Ok I followed the steps as previously stated but it says “Parameter format not correct”

    • post the screenshot of your Cmd window with the command you typed. (Just upload the pic at tinypic and give the link of the screenshot). definitely it will give a solution.

  102. I have tried your method, But it is not working.It is showing a message with opening a blank cmd window. Message is like that..

    “Windows cannot find ‘M:\RECYCLER\5FDB1F1ADC1BF12DBF33546B9DEDD9A4.EXE’. Make sure you typed the name correctly, and then try again. To search for a file, click the Start buttor, and then click Search.”

    noted that earlier I applied a method to my external hardisk where all hidden flies have been shown. and deleted some files like “5FDB1F1ADC1BF12DBF33546B9DEDD9A4.EXE”. After then I failed to access my data. Before doing this I usually get access to my data. Please help me.

    • While running that command in CMD, Please type the correct drive letter, give spaces as per the screenshot shown above. All your files will be recovered to a folder “_”. So Please try and let me know if you want more help regard this.

      • I have done everything properly. One thing I forgot to know you that whenever I press Enter after typing the command, there is nothing happened actually except the cursor is blinking on the second line of cmd window. I have tried this tricks on my pen drive and worked correctly. But it is not working on my external hard disk. Please give a solution, so that i can get access my external hard drive. Thanks.

  103. Dear all

    realy it was great method , I traid it and it worked for me
    many thanks

  104. I have a new problem here sir,
    after i do the steps above i thought that it was ok now,
    but when i put my external hard drive to another computer, it happen again..

    i guess that theirs a virus that cant be detected with my AVIRA ..

  105. thanks bro.. i stop working for a day but when i saw it.. it helps me a lot :)

  106. Thanks it worked!

  107. Hi I have tried to go through the steps but its saying that it cant find the file, what does that mean? are there any other options?

    • No. You can’t recover if you accidentally formatted your pen drive. Better check your pen drives used space size. it will confirm if there are files hidden in your pen drive.

      Thanks for your query

  108. Thanks. I had lost all the hopes. All important docs in my flash drive are recovered. You are GREAT!!

  109. thank you so much u fixed my week old hard drive u are a absolute legend
    once again thank you

  110. Yes, you have to have admin rights to fix this.

    Thank you so much!
    Really helped!

  111. THANKS! It really worked! 😀 Patience is all you need :) Thank you Billa! :)

  112. thank you, worked for me.

  113. THANKS!!

    Once I open my drive for the flash, I see the folders at the top are now ok, but the corrupted files are still listed. Do I just delete the corrupted files?

    Should the flash be good to go once I get rid of the corrupted files?

  114. Do I do this under safe mode?

  115. This is really a big help! I got all my files back! Thank you so much!

  116. hello ! I did this and I run scan in three different anti-virus programs on my hard disk and the problem is there please please there’re some important files I’m a college student so if u can help me I will be thankful

    • please follow the above steps for each hard disk drive separately. so you can get all your files. (You can see the files by enabling the “hide protected operating system files” in Folder options.)

      • hello Bella !
        I am sorry i didn’t mention this it is external hard disk I did steps on it but no use files remain shortcuts :(
        Anyway, other way ??

  117. Thanks A million..!!
    recovered all my data!
    u almost saved my life..=D

  118. amit vardhan raj

    wow it’s working….

  119. It worked and showed my folders. but when i unplug the harddrive and plug it again, the shortcut folders appear again. What do i do now?

    • it won’t delete the shortcuts.all files will be restored to folder. so u check the restored files and can delete the shortcuts after that…

  120. thank you so much for the tip. it really helped!

  121. I would like to know how do I remove the shortcuts on my external device,because they still there even after format.can you guys please help.

  122. i have tried ur method but it did not work out. what showed on the SCREEN WAS ‘ACCESS DENIED -I/SYSTEM VOLUME INFORMATION’

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