How to Fix File Folders Became Shortcuts
"All my files and folders became shortcuts in my 500GB external hard drive while connected to my computer when I attempted to access the data stored. This happened just all of a sudden. It’s really annoying to see that nearly 200GB data now became shortcuts with just about 1-2KB size. How could this happen? Please help me out. I am willing to destroy the drive as long as the data can be recovered." – Megha William
Ever met similar folders become shortcuts sufferings with your drive? It seems that such problem can be seen here and there on removable disk drive such as USB flash drive, external hard disk, memory card etc. So who is supposed to be the problem maker? Yes, you guess it – can be the virus, trojans or worm and the most famous ones such as BUOUFO, QWERT, AUTORUN etc. Is it possible to get rid of the virus and make the folders become normal again? Yes, you have great chances as long as you stick to the following fix steps or precautions.
First things first - Never attempt to format the drive right away as it may make things worse, particularly if you have much valuable data contained in those files or folders that has turned into shortcuts. Just remember this!
Fix #1: Check if the file folders are hidden
1> If your PC is running Windows XP, click 'Start' -> 'Run' -> type 'cmd' and click 'OK'. If you are running Windows Vista/7/8, click "Home + R" combination and type 'cmd' and then click 'OK'. Note: the "Home" key is located right besides 'alt'.
2> Enter this command attrib -h -r -s /s /d f:\*.* (assume your drive letter shows as F: under 'My Computer', do not forget to replace it if different).
3> Press 'Enter' button and now check if your files or folders in your removable disk.
Are they visible? If YES, congratulations! If NO, do not worry, continue to the next step.
Fix #2: Remove the virus
Then cleaning the problem maker is the most effective and thorough way.
1> Feel free to try STOPzilla AVM (which scans, removes and blocks Viruses, Malware, Spyware, Adware, rogue programs, keyloggers, and much more.) and install on your PC. Then connect your infected USB flash drive, external HD, SD memory card etc to your computer.
2> Open it and give a full scan of the problematic drive. Do not have mercy on those virus or trojans if found.
3> After the virus are cleaned, now re-check the folders on your disk and see if the shortcuts gone.
Now are they normal? If YES, congratulations! You are done.
Still the problem exists, seems the virus or worms are too stubborn? Now go to the final solution.
Fix #3: Recover data and format the infected drive
- 1> Keep the drive connected to your PC, then download and install a data recovery software. Run the app for a free scan of your drive to see if there are some files can be found and then recovered. Note: the recovery program performs read-only operation and won’t do any damage to your disk.
- 2> Then re-format the drive on your PC (use quick format option). This should wipe everything including the virus and your drive will be like new, the folders shortcuts problem will gone forever too. But the data are not erased permanently even if you format the drive.
- 3> Re-use the data recovery tool to re-scan your drive to see if more data can be found. Do not worry, it only recovers general files such as documents, folders, photos, videos, music etc and won’t touch the virus.
The above steps should help you get rid of such files become shortcuts problem with your USB drive, external hard disk, memory card etc.
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