Files and Folders In USB Become Shortcuts? A Quick Fix

Oh, no….so you plugged your USB flash drive (or a memory card) into a computer, and you tried to access the data inside, only to find that all the files and folders became shortcuts. how to get my files back?

It’s a common problem for removable drive such as external hard disk, USB flash drive, memory stick, pen drive and memory card turns into shortcut and files on the drive are not accessible.

More precisely, it can be a virus, trojan or worm (notorious ones include BUOUFO, QWERT, AUTORUN, etc.). Chances are the virus has resided in either your Windows PC or the device, or both. The device we are talking about here can be a flash drive, a microSD card, an external drive, etc.

Method 1: The virus may hide the files and folders, so you got to unhide them.

  1. For PCs with Windows XP, click Start > Run, type “cmd” and click “OK.” For Windows Vista/7/8/10, press Home + R and type “cmd” and then “OK.” Note: the Home key is right next to Alt.
  2. Enter this command attrib -h -r -s /s /d f:*.* (note: here I assume your external drive shows as F: under My Computer or This PC. Don’t forget to replace “f” if the driver letter is different).
  3. Press “Enter” key and now check if your files and folders in your disk are back to normal.

If yes, congratulations. If no, don’t worry, go to Step 2.


Method 2: Kill virus with anti-virus program

  1. If you have a security software on your PC, open it and run a thorough scan of all disks including your external drive. If you don’t have one, I recommend you to install an Antivirus and scan.
  2. Most of the time, the virus won’t escape the eyes of a powerful antivirus program. So, do not have any mercy on the found threats — clean them immediately.
  3. Once the virus has been cleaned, now check back the folders on your device.

Let me know if you have any questions or problems during the process. Leave a comment below; i’d be happy to give advice to help you out.

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