How to Remove Shortcut Virus from Hard Disk/USB/Pen Drive Without Losing Data

Jean updated on Dec 03, 2020 to Data Recovery Resouce | How-to Articles

When your hard disk or USB is infected by shortcut virus, all your folders and files on the storage device will become shortcuts which you cannot open or access. To remove shortcut virus from your hard disk or USB without losing data, you can first clean up the virus and then use the reliable software - EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard to recover files from shortcut virus.

If everything saved on your hard drive, USB, pen drive, or external hard drive became shortcuts, your storage devices and all files are infected with shortcut viruses. So, how to fix it? Follow this page, you'll learn how to remove shortcut virus from hard disk/USB/pen drive without losing any data on your own.

  • Reading Duration: 3-5 minutes.
  • Difficulty Level: Easy & Medium
  • Applies to: Remove shortcut virus and recover files from shortcut virus infected hard disk, pen drive, USB, external hard drive.

Shortcut Virus infection

Follow the content navigation bar and check out how to remove viruses from your devices and recover all lost valuable files immediately:

Overview of Shortcut Virus

In this part, you will learn:

  1. 1. What is a Shortcut Virus?
  2. 2. How does the Shortcut Virus work or spread?
  3. 3. What will happen if your hard drive, USB, pen drive is infected with Shortcut Virus?

Basically, a shortcut virus is a kind of Trojan and worm combination that hides or deletes your original files on the infected device, and then replaces them all with generated shortcuts.

So how does a shortcut virus work or spread? It basically spreads in two ways:

  1. #1. You clicked a shortcut link or downloaded a shortcut virus file from the browser.
  2. #2. You launched a file that contains a shortcut virus, then it duplicates the virus and further infects other files and programs in your device.

When your hard disk or USB is attacked by a shortcut virus, all the files, folders, and even programs will turn to shortcuts. You can neither open nor access the files and folders on it as normal. If you double-click one of these malicious shortcuts, you give the virus the opportunity to spread, which will lead to further damage to your data, system, and more.

Warning
 Once your hard drive or USB is infected with a shortcut virus, stop using the device and don't save any new files to the drive anymore.

So how can I remove the shortcut virus and bring back all the missing files? Follow the fixes presented in the next two parts and you'll learn how to deal with it.

Part 1. How to Remove Shortcut Virus from Hard Disk/USB 

Applies to: Remove shortcut virus from hard disk, USB, pen drive, or external hard drive without losing data, without formatting.

One of the commonest reaction to the shortcut virus of the people who see it is to delete the shortcut links. However, it always fails to work since they will reappear later.

Then, how to remove the shortcut virus or convert the shortcut files into the original file without losing your precious data? Here in this part, we've collected 4 reliable methods to help you remove the shortcut virus from your hard disk or USB without losing any data:

  1. #Method 1. Remove Shortcut Virus Using CMD - Medium
  2. #Method 2. Remove Shortcut Virus Using CMD Alternative - Easiest
  3. #Method 3. Permanently Clear Shortcut Virus Using Registry - Hard
  4. #Method 4. Permanently Remove Shortcut Virus using Antivirus - Easy

Note that we suggest you follow Method 1 or Method 2 to remove the shortcut virus and unhide missing files first. If you didn't see any files, turn to EaseUS data recovery software in Part 2 for help.

After getting all files out of the virus infected drive, follow Method 3 or method 4 to permanently remove shortcut virus from hard disk, USB, pen drive, or external disk.

Method 1. Remove Shortcut Virus Using CMD

  • Difficulty Level: Easy
  • Best for: Experienced Users

Note that improper use of CMD may cause serious results. Be careful while using CMD - command line to resolve your current issue. In the following, we'll guide you to delete the shortcut virus file first and then guide you to make the hidden files and folders show up again.

Connect the shortcut virus-infected USB/pen drive to your PC and follow to remove the shortcut virus from your drive using CMD: 

Step 1. Type cmd in the Search box and right-click Command Prompt, select "Run as Administrator".

Step 2. Type H and hit Enter. (Replace H with the drive letter of your USB, pen drive that is infected with the shortcut virus.)

Click to copy

Step 2. Type del *.lnk and hit Enter.

Or you may also type del autorun.xxx (the extension of the shortcut virus) and hit "Enter".

Replace the file extensions with .exe, .vbs, .lnk, .ini, etc. and repeat this step.

Click to copy

This command will delete shortcut files and remove the existing shortcut virus from your drive.

Step 3. Type attrib -s - r -h *.* /s /d /l and hit "Enter".

You may also type attrib -h -r -s /s /d H:\*.* and hit Enter to show the hidden files on your device. (Replace "H" with the drive letter of your virus-infected hard disk or USB).

Click to copy

Remove shortcut virus from hard disk, usb, external disk

Step 4. When the process completes, type exit and hit "Enter" to close the command prompt window.

Method 2. Remove Shortcut Virus Using CMD Alternative

  • Difficulty Level: Easiest
  • Best for: All levels of Windows users, beginners' best choice.

Is there an easier way that can replace CMD command to remove the shortcut virus and recover hidden files within only a few simple clicks? Yes, there is. EaseUS Tools M is a perfect CMD alternative tool that can help you out.

Manual input of the command line is suitable for computer professionals since wrong commands can cause more severe problems. Therefore, for security and usability, we strongly recommend you try an automatic command line alternative. EaseUS Tools M is a practical tool that enables you to check and fix files system error, enable/disable write protection and system update with one-click instead of typing intricate command lines.

Follow the simple steps below to show hidden files with this 1-click-fix software. 

Step 1.  DOWNLOAD EaseUS Tools M for Free.

Step 2. Start EaseUS Tools M, choose "File Showing" on the left pane. Next, choose the target drive for scanning.

show hidden files - step 2

Step 3. After the operation completes, click the View button to check the hidden files. 

show hidden files - step 3

IMPORTANT: If this method works, you can see all the data on your hard disk/USB shown normally and use them as you like. Besides, to thoroughly clean the shortcut virus, you may follow Method 3 or Method 4 for help.

Method 3. Permanently Clear Shortcut Virus Using Registry

  • Difficulty Level: Hard
  • Best for: Experienced Windows users.

As Method 1 and Method 2 are quick tips to delete shortcut virus files from storage devices, it may not be able to remove some hidden virus files on your computer.

The Registry on your Windows is a database that stores information, settings, and more for both the OS and the applications/hardware installed. When your hard disk or USB is infected by a shortcut virus, a new subkey containing the information about the virus will be added to the Windows Registry.

Thus, you can also remove the shortcut virus using Registry Editor with the following steps:

Step 1. Type regedit in the Search box and right-click "regedit" and choose "Run as administrator".

Step 2. Navigate to HKEY_CURRENT_USER > Software > Microsoft > Windows > CurrentVersion > Run.

Step 3. Under Run, look for Registry Keys named as "WXCKYz", "ZGFYszaas", "OUzzckky", "odwcamszas".

Right-click on them and select "Delete" to remove these keys from Registry.

Remove shortcut virus from registry

As the file name of the virus varies, you may need to do more searches and be careful. Do not remove any important or non-virus process.

After deleting the shortcut virus from your hard disk or USB, restart your computer and you will be able to use it as usual.

Method 4. Permanently Remove Shortcut Virus using Antivirus

  • Difficulty Level: Easy
  • Best for: All levels of Windows users.

Except for Registry, you can also use the shortcut virus remover or antivirus software to remove shortcut virus from your storage device.

Step 1. Find and download reliable antivirus software on your computer.

Step 2. Connect the shortcut virus infected device to your PC and then run antivirus to clean up the virus.

According to many professional users, you may try the following virus remover software to clean up shortcut virus from your device and PC:

  • Norton Antivirus
  • Avira
  • McAfee
  • AVG

After removing the virus, you can restart the computer and continue using your drive again. If you find some files are lost or missing, you are highly recommended to recover files from the virus-infected hard disk or USB using powerful data recovery software.

Part 2. How to Recover Files After Removing Shortcut Virus

Applies to: Recover files after removing shortcut virus in Windows 10/8/7. 

As mentioned above, a shortcut virus may hide or delete the existing files on your hard drive or USB. And some of the shortcut virus removal methods may also cause file loss during the process.

Fortunately, professional data recovery software is able to recover the folders or files like documents, photos, audio files, and other important files from the virus-infected hard disk or USB. Here, you can try EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard.

This software enables you to perform virus file recovery, restoring files or folders that are hidden, deleted, or cleared by shortcut viruses. 

Steps to recover files from devices after removing shortcut virus:

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

Moreover, EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard also supports deleted file recovery, formatted data recovery, OS crash recovery, and many other tough situations on various devices. Download the software and make your files usable again immediately. 

Part 3. How to Prevent Shortcut Virus and Virus Infection

Instead of thinking hard about how to remove the virus, it's more important that you pay more attention on how to prevent virus infection.

Here are some tips for you to protect data on your computer or external storage device better from virus infection:

  1. #1. Install professional antivirus software and run it to scan your computer and storage device regularly.
  2. #2. Download and install genuine programs on your computer.
  3. #3. Avoid suspicious websites and links, think twice before you make a click.
  4. #4. Make sure the network connection is safe.
  5. #5. Regularly back up your files with free backup software to an external storage device.

The Bottom Line

Here we have provided you four solutions to remove shortcut viruses without formatting or losing any data. And with the help of EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard, you can clean up the virus without losing any data.

Besides shortcut virus removal, we also listed some tips that you can follow to protect your device and data from the shortcut virus and other types of virus infection. Hope they will be helpful to you.

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Frequently Asked Questions

1. Why choose EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard?

"EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard is the best we've seen. It's far from perfect, partly because today's advanced disk technology makes data-recovery more difficult than it was with the simpler technology of the past, but it's fast and efficient..."PCMag

"The first thing you'll notice about EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard Pro is that its interface is very clear and uncluttered, with only a small collection of self-explanatory controls. You won't find lots of extra options hidden in a system of hidden menus, either; what you see really is what you get."techradar

"Recover lost files, even after deleting a partition or formatting your drive."Macworld

2. Why cannot I recover 2GB data for free?

It is recommended to check the version installed is Free or Trial because they are different versions.

Trial has data preview function but cannot save any files, while the Free version enables to recover 2 GB files. The default free space is 500 MB and you may share the product on social media to get another 1.5 GB.

3. Why cannot the recovered files be opened?

A file is saved as 2 parts on the storage device: directory info (which is comprised by file name, time stamp and size info, etc.) and data content.

If the files with original file names and folder structures cannot be opened, one possible reason is the corrupted directory info. There is still a chance to recover the data content with the RAW Recovery method in our software.

4. Why isn't it suggested to recover the files back to the original drive?

The storage structure of the lost files would be altered or damaged by any changes on the drive. If you save the recovered files back to the same drive, the original data structures and data content would be corrupted or overwritten, which causes permanent data loss. So you should prepare another disk to save the files.

5. How can I check whether my data is recoverable or not before purchase?

The Free version helps you save 2GB files, so verify the recovery quality of our product before purchase.

6. How long does it take to scan the drive?

It strongly depends on the capacity of your hard drive and the performance of your computer. As reference,most drive recoveries can be completed in around 10 to 12 hours for a 1-TB healthy hard drive in general conditions.

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