External storage devices such as pendrives (USB drive), hard disks, SD Cards or Flash drives are very commonly used to transfer our data from one computer to another. Sometimes, when we connect these external storage devices to an infected computer and transfer any file, an anonymous malware automatically infects them and we will get an error message to open any file.
This malware is known as ‘Shortcut Virus’ which converts every file into shortcut. Shortcut Virus is a program that spreads through flash drives, the internet, third-party software, etc and creates a replica of your original files and folders. That means, when you click on those files to open, the shortcut virus multiplies itself and installs some more virus and malicious software. The logic behind your folder becoming shortcuts is that this virus hides your original folders/files in the same removable media and creates the shortcut with the same name.
This shortcut virus is so smart that even most of the Portable antivirus Software is unable to detect it. Or if somehow they discover it or delete it, it somehow manages to recover itself.
Types of Shortcut Virus:
Shortcut virus has two types; the most common is Flash drive Shortcut virus, then the File and Folder Shortcut virus.
Flash Drive Shortcut Virus
This is purely Trojan virus; it consolidates every file on your portable devices and put it into one hidden folder. Then, it creates a Flash Disk shortcut.exe. It will give you no choices but to click it in order to see your files. Once executed, the virus starts to install malicious applications into your system that spy your computing routine and most probably steal your personal information if not detected.
File and Folder Shortcut Virus
This is a combination of Trojan and Worm, which will replicate your files and folders, hide and replace it with shortcuts.exe, shortcut.vbs, etc. Also, it will leave you no options but click it to open your files and folders. Once executed, the virus starts to duplicate itself and install malicious software that spy your computing routine and steal your important data.
Methods to Remove Shortcut Virus from Pendrive/SD Card/Flash drive/Hard disk:
METHOD 1: Remove Shortcut virus using CMD
Using Command Prompt to remove a virus and recover files is the best and easy way as you do not require to download any shortcut virus remover tool for it. And with this method, there are more possibilities for virus removal.
- First open command prompt. Go to Start > Run > type ‘cmd’ and then hit enter.
- Now, enter the name of the drive in which virus is located (e.g. “f:” or “h:”) and hit enter.
- Then type this the following command in cmd and hit “enter”
“attrib f:*.* /d /s -h -r -s” or attrib-h-r-s/s/d f:\*.* (Where f is the Drive Label).
- Wait for the process to finish and this will fix the shortcut virus problem with your Pen Drive.
METHOD 2: Remove Shortcut Virus using Virus Remover Tools
This method is helpful if you don’t want to do manual tweaks to remove the shortcut virus.
- First Download Shortcut Virus Remover Software from here.
- Extract it using Winrar or any other file decompressor.
- Then run the Shortcut Virus Remover software and make sure that you run it on your flash drive.
- Choose the drive from which you want to remove the virus(ex. E:, F:, G:). Then just click on Scan button.
- Wait until the scan is complete and press ‘Enter.’ It will list all the shortcut virus in a drive.
- Now just click on delete button, it will remove shortcut virus from your PC.
How to Remove Shortcut Virus in Your PC
After you successfully removed the Shortcut virus and re-inserted the Pendrive/hard disk, however, if you got to see those shortcut folders, then the problem is with your PC. So, you should clean your PC first and protect it before inserting any of your storage devices.
For this, you have many ways. You can download any antivirus software and run it on your computer to remove the shortcut virus.
Avast is one of the best Shortcut Virus Remover. Just install Avast Antivirus and do a Boot Time Scan, following this will remove all the virus in boot Time. ‘Microsoft Security Essentials for Window PC’ also works well.
How to Permanently Remove Shortcut Virus from Computer
- Open Task Manager by pressing Ctrl + Shift + Esc and go to process tab.
- Look for the process exe or any other such process and right-click then select ‘End Task.’
- Press Windows Key + R then type “regedit” and hit Enter to open Registry Editor.
- Navigate to the following registry key:
- Look for the registry key “odwcamszas.exe” and right-click then select It’s possible that you won’t find the exact same key but look for junk values which don’t do anything.
- Reboot your PC to save changes.
Tips to Avoid Shortcut Virus
- Unfortunately, not all antivirus can detect this type of virus. So, the best thing you can do is to make a habit not to open your portable devices or external devices via autorun or from “my computer”. Otherwise, simply disable Autorun, So that Pendrive won’t run automatically. Open your Pen drive or hard disk by right-clicking it, then click on explore or type its drive letter in the windows address bar to prevent any script from running.
- Scan for virus and then use the Pendrive
- Don’t use Pendrive in Public PC’s
- Don’t use Harmful websites
- Keep your Antivirus up to date