How to Remove Shortcut Virus from PC/Laptop in Windows 10/8/7

How to remove shortcut virus on Windows 10, 8, or 7? There are three reliable methods to remove shortcut virus from PCs. You can easily remove shortcut virus with shortcut virus remover. The shortcut virus removal methods can sometimes cause data loss. It is recommended to use data recovery software after the infection is successfully removed.

Table of Contents

3 Ways on How to Remove Shortcut Virus in Windows 10/8/7

The shortcut virus is a shared computer virus that hides your files and replaces them with shortcuts with the same file name. When you click on the shortcuts, the virus replicates itself and further infects your drive.  When your computer, hard drive partition, or USB drive gets affected by the shortcut virus, all files become shortcuts, and the actual data is inaccessible. The shortcut virus usually enters your drive via running a .exe file that contained the virus or from using a flash drive on multiple computers.

To remove shortcut virus in Windows 10/8/7 PC or USB:

  1. 1. Remove Shortcut Virus with CMD
  2. 2. Remove Shortcut Virus from the Registry
  3. 3. Remove Shortcut Virus with Antivirus Software

If you have shortcut virus infection problems, read the detailed solutions below to get rid of the virus with or without shortcut virus remover. Check the table to select your available approach.

Comparison CMD (Recommend) Registry (Optional) Antivirus Software(Optional)
Availability External and internal devices Computers and laptops Scan and remove infected files on PC.
Data Security Be careful. (Improper use will cause data loss.) The wrong operation will cause programs or computer malfunction. Strong Guarantee
Easy-to-use Yes No Yes
Free or Paid Free Free Free/Paid

Method 1. Clean Up and Remove Shortcut Virus with CMD [Free]

Applies to external and internal devices

If your external devices like USB flash drive, external hard drive, or SD memory card is infected with a shortcut virus, you must remove the virus immediately. The infection spreads whenever you plug the external device into a Windows PC or laptop. Follow the steps below to remove shortcut virus with Command Prompt.

Be careful while using the CMD command line to resolve your issue. Improper use of CMD can result in severe damage to your system.

Step 1. Connect your external hard drive to PC and right-click on "Start", select "Search".

Step 2. Type Command Prompt in the Search box and click "Command Prompt" to bring it up. Sign in with your administrator account and password if the system asks.

Step 3. Type H: and hit "Enter". Replace H: with the drive letter of your USB, pen drive, or HDD.

Step 4. Type del *.lnk and hit "Enter".

Step 5. Type attrib -s - r -h *.* /s /d /l and hit "Enter".

remove shortcut virus using cmd command

If this didn't work, you are likely infected by another virus. Replace the .lnk with another virus extension such as *.exe to delete these suspicious viruses.

Command Meaning
-s removes the "system file" status from all matching files and folders.
-r removes the "read-only" status from all matching files and folders.
-h removes the "hidden" status from all matching files and folders.
/s makes the command recursively apply to all files and folders in the current directory and all subdirectories, basically the entire device in this case.
/d makes the command apply to folders as well (typically attrib only handles on files).
*.* means all file names and folder names should be considered a match.

Method 2. Delete/Wipe/Remove Shortcut Virus from the Registry

Applies to computers and laptops

This method aims to delete suspicious keys that may be related to the shortcut virus on your PC. 

Deleting wrong keys in the Registry Editor may cause serious results, including malfunction issues in programs or part of computer features. Be careful if you are going to remove keys.

Steps to remove shortcut virus from Registry:

Step 1. Press Windows + R keys, type: regedit, and hit "Enter".

Step 2. Open "Registry Editor" and go to "HKEY_CURRENT_USER > Software > Microsoft > Windows > CurrentVersion > Run".

Step 3. Find the suspicious keys like odwcamszas, WXXKYz, ZGFYszaas, OUzzckky, and delete them.

remove shortcut virus from registry

Method 3. Run Shortcut Virus Remover or Antivirus Software

Although antivirus software can often miss shortcut virus files, it can serve as a double-guarantee that your PC is rid of the virus. Download and install anti-virus software to scan and clean up all detected virus files from your Windows 10/8/7 PC or USB. Below is a list of recommended antivirus software tools to choose from. Some will be more effective than others for your particular hardware setup so that you may try more than one. 

Steps to remove shortcut virus with free Antivirus Software:

Here I take Norton Power Eraser as an example:

Step 1. Download and run Norton Power Eraser.

If a new version is available, Norton Power Eraser will check and download it.

Step 2. In the "Norton Power Eraser" window, click the "Scan for Risks" icon.

use antivirus to remove shortcut virus

By default, Norton Power Eraser will perform a rootkit scan and ask you to restart the system. When you see the prompt to restart the computer, click "Restart".

If you do not want to include rootkit scanning, please go to "Settings" and uncheck the "Include rootkit scanning" option.

Step 3. Depending on your situation, take one of the following steps:

  • If you see "No risk found", Norton Power Eraser has not detected any risk on your computer, click "OK" to end.
  • If you see any files listed as "bad", the "Remove" checkbox under "Action" will be automatically checked. It is recommended that you remove these files. If the "Repair" checkbox under "Action" is checked, these files will be repaired after restarting.
  • If you see any files listed as "Unknown", click the cloud icon that appears next to these files. It will send the file to a Symantec server and scan it using a traditional signature detection engine.

Step 4. After successfully removing the risk, click "Finish".

Bonus Tip - How to Recover Files After Removing Shortcut Virus 

After removing the shortcut virus from your USB and Windows PC, you should browse your data to see if anything important was lost in the process. It can be difficult and eye-straining to scour your entire hard drive for files that may have been lost. To speed up the process of finding lost files, and to quickly recover them, use EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard to search your drive. EaseUS free data recovery software scans deep into the data content of your disk to find all data lost from deletion, formatting, or virus attacks. Besides, it also supports data recovery from lost partition, RAW partition, damaged hard drive, and so on.

EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard

  • Recover lost or deleted files, documents, photos, audio, music, emails effectively
  • Recover files from formatted hard drive, emptied recycle bin, memory card, flash drive, digital camera, and camcorders
  • Support data recovery for sudden deletion, formatting, hard drive corruption, virus attack, system crash under different situations

Read on to see just how straightforward data recovery can be:

Step 1. Launch EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard. Select the disk partition or storage device where you lost files and click the "Scan" button.

select a location and click scan

Step 2. This program will quickly start a scanning process to find lost files. When the process accomplishes, you can double-click files to have a preview before selection.

scan deleted files

Step 3. Choose the files you want. Then click the "Recover" button to get them back. You should save the data to another safe spot in your PC/storage device, not where they lost.

Restore lost data from drive which was infected by virus

Read on how to restore deleted files:

related articles

[Easy & Fast] How to Recover Deleted Files from Laptop/PC Windows 10/8/7

After deleting a file, you can first recover deleted files from Recycle Bin. If the lost files are not in the Recycle Bin, you can use EaseUS data recovery software to recover permanently deleted files from laptop or PC with simple clicks.

recover deleted files

After restoring the data, to make sure that you are done with the shortcut virus, you can back up data before formatting then reformat the drive. Then restore the data from your backup, and your computer will be safe and good-as-new. 

Prevent from Shortcut Virus by Turning on Windows Firewall

It takes much effort to remove shortcut virus, why not protect your computer or laptop in advance. The easiest way to prevent your Windows PC is by turning on Windows Defender Firewall. Follow the steps to protect your computer:

Step 1. Open "Control Panel" > click "Windows Defender Firewall" > select "Turn Windows Defender Firewall on or off".

Step 2. Check the boxes of "Turn on Windows Defender Firewall"  and click "OK" to confirm.

turn on firewall to prevent shortcut virus


Whenever you want to remove the shortcut virus, you can try any one of the solutions above to get help. After shortcuts removing, turn on Windows Firewall to protect your computer. If you have data loss problems, EaseUS hard drive recovery software can always do you a favor.

How to Remove Shortcut Virus FAQs

There are some frequently asked questions about removing the shortcut virus. Read on if you still have questions.

How can I remove the shortcut virus from my USB?

To remove shortcut virus from pen drive/USB drive:

Step 1. Connect your external hard drive to PC and right-click on "Start", select "Search".

Step 2. Type: Command Prompt in the Search box and click "Command Prompt" to bring it up.

Sign in with your administrator account and password if the system asks.

Step 3. Type: E: and hit "Enter". (Replace E: with the drive letter of your USB, pen drive.)

Step 4. Type: del *.lnk or del autorun.inf and hit Enter.

Step 5. Type: attrib -h - r -s  /s /d E:\*.* and hit Enter. (Replace E: with the drive letter of your infected device).

How do I delete a shortcut file?

To delete the shortcut

Step 1. Right-click the icon and select "Delete." 

Step 2. Click "Yes" to confirm the deletion. 

Which is the best antivirus to remove shortcut virus?

Here are some great antivirus tools:

  • Trojan Removal Tool
  • Shortcut virus fixfolder
  • Malwarebytes Anti-Malware, etc.

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Updated by Roxanne

Roxanne is one of the main contributors to EaseUS and has created multiple posts on digital devices like PCs, Mobile phones, tablets, Mac, etc. She loves to share ideas with people of the same interest.

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Written by Tracy King

Tracy joined in EaseUS in 2013 and has been working with EaseUS content team for over 7 years. Being enthusiastic in computing and technology, she writes tech how-to articles and share technical solutions about Windows & Mac data recovery, file/system backup and recovery, partition management and iOS/Android data recovery.

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