How to Recover Shortcut Files from Pen Drive?


Files turning into shortcuts are not uncommon. Every USB user faces this challenge quite often.  Here is the best solution for the most experienced troublesome problem. Follow the article to know why files turn into Shortcuts and how to recover shortcut files from USB or Pen drive.

About Files Turning into Shortcuts

A Pen drive or USB drive is the most commonly used external storage device. And this is the reason why these drives are most affected by virus. One of the common virus found in USB’s is the one that creates shortcut files.

In other words, shortcut files are the files created by Autorun.inf worm and Virus or Trojan.


These viruses hide all the files and folders present in drive and create a shortcut. These shortcuts keep appearing even after you delete them or you format the drive. And, formatting a drive will not assure you complete security over the virus. Therefore, you would risk losing important data if you rely solely on formatting. 

Inaccessible Shortcut files

To get back original files, you have to fix the problem and recover shortcut files using a proficient USB data recovery software.

Note: The shortcut virus doesn’t give any option but makes file inaccessible but when you click files in them or once the file is opened it would multiply itself and eventually occupies the entire drive until it is full.

The shortcut virus keeps appearing even after deleting it many times. You might have also used antivirus to get rid of the shortcut virus but the antivirus will not be able to recover the lost or deleted files. Data recovery software is needed to retrieve the lost data. Download the SFWare USB Data Recovery Software to recover data that has been lost because of the shortcut virus.

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When do files turn into Shortcuts?

  1. The antivirus in the computer might have not recognized the Trojan virus because it was not updated
  2. Downloading content from the non trusted source on the internet can bring in a virus into the computer.
  3. If a virus affected Pen drive is used in a computer without scanning for any potential virus, virus would enter the USB drive from the PC

How To Fix A Folder That Has Become A Shortcut?

Before deleting shortcut virus it is important to fix the virus from the file, follow the below given steps:

Step 1: Show hidden files to recover files hidden by shortcut virus

Sometimes viruses may turn your files into hidden states. Therefore you need to unhide the files to make them visible.

  1. Insert your USB or Pen drive, go to My Computers
  2. Click View Tab and Check Mark Show Hidden Items option

 Or you can unhide the files or folders using the command line.

  1. Right-Click on Start and select Command Prompt run as administrator.
  2. Now type F: ( Where F is the drive letter)
  3. Now, type the following attrib -h -r -s /s /d F:\*. * (Replace F with the drive letter where you would like to show hidden files)
    Show the shortcut files

By doing this you will be able to unhide the hidden shortcut files. Now, go to the USB drive and verify whether all the hidden files are shown. If you can’t still find the files, try the best recovery method shown in the next section.

Despite performing the above steps the virus can still be present in the computer, and in certain cases, you might lose the data from the drive. Use an antivirus to remove the shortcut virus completely. If there is a data loss, it is better to recover data from pen drive using USB data recovery software

Step 2: Delete the Shortcut Files

Once hidden files are shown in the pen drive, delete the shortcut files using the command prompt.

Delete the Shortcut Virus files

  1.     Go to Start → Click on Run → Type cmd
  2.     Select your device by typing the assigned drive letter followed by a colon for Example- e: ( Where I is the drive letter)
  3.     Next, Type del *.lnk
  4.     Type attrib -h -r -s /s /d e:*.*
  5.     Hit Enter

Now, check whether your drive is free from shortcut files. if you can’t find your files in the drive, recover your shortcut files from USB drive or pen drive using the below method.

How To Retrieve Data From Pen Drive Shortcuts?

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Download SFWare USB recovery software and Launch the application. Connect your pen drive or USB drive to the computer.

  • Select Recover files option from the main screen
  • From the next screen, select the drive from which you need to retrieve your files.
  • After the completion of the scanning process, you can view files in either Data View or File Type View.
  • Right click on the file to preview the recovered and then save the file in any desired location on your PC.

Additional Information

What is a Shortcut virus?

As the name indicates, shortcut virus is a program that creates a shortcut of a particular file or folder and hides the original file present in the storage drive. This virus mainly affects external storage devices such as SD cards, USB drives, and External Hard Drives. This virus is capable of multiplying itself every time the folder or the file is opened.

Types of shortcut virus:

1) Flash drive shortcut virus: It is a Trojan virus that enters the drive and hides. The virus then wraps all the folders and files in a shortcut that looks exactly like the drive. If the drive is clicked the virus will replicate it and eventually occupy all the storage space.

2) Folders and file shortcut virus: The folder and file shortcut virus affects the Pen drive by hiding all the files and folder in it and creating a shortcut for the folders and files. The files and folder can only be accessed by clicking the shortcut virus; this action will initiate the duplication of the files and folders.

Pro tips to keep your files safe

A virus can affect the computer and storage devices in many ways. These viruses can corrupt the Pen drive or permanently delete the data present in them. Once affected by the virus it becomes quite tricky to recover shortcut files from Pen drive. In order to avoid such situations in the future here are a few preventive measures to be followed.

  1. Always download files and applications from a trusted source
  2. Make sure you use antivirus in the computer and keep the antivirus updated
  3. Scan the Pen drive for antivirus before using it.
  4. Never use the Pen drive in computers that have high chances of being infected with viruses.

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