[Fixed] Recover Virus Infected Data Changed to .lnk Shortcut File in USB

When this problem happens with your USB flash or external drive that all important files converted, changed or shows to shortcuts then I can understand the mental state of a person whose having all of his important files in his USB or external hard drive because that thing happened with me once in a life time and that time I can't even tell you how much I was disturbed but luckily recovered from one of my licensed antivirus (Bitdefender internet security 2013) after spending 2 days and one night.

I googled my issue and came to know that there were many people like me facing the same problem, it most of the time happens when your files and folders in USB pen drive infected by malware Virus and they changed your data into shortcuts, I luckily recovered all my data.

All Folders changed to shortcuts after virus infection

But here we'll try something different than using any Antivirus program, we'll do everything from command prompt. Yes, you are right command prompt, if you think CMD is outdated after launching Windows 7 and 8 and there is no use of this black screen then you probably don't know the power of command prompt.

First, remember one thing that don't format your drive if all your data has changed into shortcuts, if you have done so then you'll need a data recovery software, here are 10 free data recovery application you can try. This tip will work only if the size on the drive is not changed, means your data is there but disturbed a bit.

Follow these commands:
1. First, check the drive letter of your USB or external drive like e,f or g. I have e drive for USB.

2. Then, open command prompt by pressing a Windows key + R or click start, search box and type CMD and run as administrator.

3. Type the following commands in command prompt:

Attrib commands for recovering files from Shrotcuts after virus infection

attrib -h -r -s /s /d e:\*.* 
(all with one space before, see this: attrib"space"-H"space"-R"space"-S"space"/S"space"/D"space"E:\*.*)

attrib -h -r -s /s /d e:\"Office Data"
(this command will work on separate folders in USB, if you know the name of your folders instead of root directory of your USB like above command)

4. As i said above that I have a USB with E drive letter, so change E in above command with your drive letter.

5. That's it, you'll probably get all your data back in your USB with shortcuts files, move all your folders and files to another location of your hard drive and fully format your USB disk.

Data displayed from shortcuts to normal folders after attrib commands

You may get errors if you miss space between above commands, so read them twice and if you still face problem then share your errors with us in comments, I'll try to help you.

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Post a Comment Default Comments

  1. Wow, Dude this was perfect, I had about 500GB that was contaminated and it all came back in 30 sec, THANK YOU.

  2. Mr. Ahmad, thanks very much for your help. I think this happened when we plugged it into another computer. A threat was picked up and wiped but all the files were left in .lnk format...thankfully they're saved. However is it necessary to remove the files from the USB after this has been completed and format the USB, or can I simply leave the USB alone now?

  3. Thank you so much! This worked beautifully!! I thought all my files were gone forever


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