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3 Ways to Recover Files from USB Shortcut Virus

Wondershare Recoverit Authors

Jul 17, 2024 • Filed to: USB Recovery • Proven solutions

"Yesterday, I've encountered the issue that all my files on USB Flash drive become .exe format. I don't know if something is wrong with the windows or my USB drive. I have been using my USB and laptop for more than three years, but now I'm unable to access my valuable files."

If you encounter the situation described above, it is possible that your USB drive has been infected by a shortcut virus. Don't worry at all, in this article you will learn what causes the virus infection, how to remove the virus, and the solution to recover files from USB shortcut virus. Just follow the given methods step by step and you will get rid of this dilemma.

Factors That May Lead to Flash Drive Shortcut Virus Infection

When an issue occurs, there are a lot of culprits behind that issue; you need to look upon each one of them in detail. You need to study the cause properly to find out the solution to your problem. This is the reason the performance of many systems becomes disrupted. These are the few causes behind this error which are explained below.

1. Downloaded and Ran Unknown .exe Program

The most common problem that users from all around the world are facing is online malware. Online malware has affected more systems than any other virus. This is one of the core reasons because of which USB and other storage devices get infected.

unknown exe program

If you are considering to remove shortcut virus from a USB device and protect yourself from this in the future, you need to consider online malware a serious threat. Well, if this is the case, you can get a pen drive virus remover tool or use the steps below to solve this dilemma.

2. Plugged Flash Drive in Public Computer

In many cases, USB flash drive is plugged in with a computer that already has a virus on it and you want to copy some files from this public system, it will surely infect your USB drive too. Most of the systems don't have anti-virus software on them and it becomes the core reason behind the spread of the virus.

public computer

After online malware, plugging a USB flash drive into a public computer is one of the top causes behind the troubling access of the files in the USB drive. In the absence of anti-virus software, the procedure of data transferring becomes insecure and your USB becomes vulnerable to viruses. Plugging in USB to a system that has anti-virus software is much secure for you.

3. Other Scenarios

Apart from the two core culprits mentioned above, there are multiple other scenarios which can lead you to this problem.

One of the most crucial mistakes which most people make on daily basis is turning off their anti-virus protection. When you download anti-virus software and turn it on, you make your computer more-safe.

Besides, It is always suggested to safely remove or eject the USB Flash drive, or connect your USB flash drive with a trustable system. There are a lot of ways by which the virus can affect your USB Flash drive. The most troubling thing about this virus is that once you click on it, the virus multiples by itself and can put a threat to any system on which the USB is connected.

How to Remove Shortcut Virus from USB Drive

Once you have gone through the causes behind your issue, it becomes quite easy to implement the solutions. In this section, you will have two astonishing methods to remove shortcut virus.

You need to make sure you go through both the methods properly and follow it step by step. Don't jump these significant methods -- First, you need to remove the virus, then you can recover your valuable files. 

1. Edit Your Registry (Regedit)

First of all, you need to remove suspicious keys in the Registry editor to get yourself at ease. This is the most straightforward method to remove shortcut virus.

Step 1: The first step you need to follow is to press Windows + R key and type "Regedit" and press enter. This will allow you to open the registry settings of your computer.

launch regedit with start menu

Step 2: Once you have opened the registry settings of your computer, you are required to follow the path HKEY_CURRENT_USER > Software > Microsoft > Windows > Current Version > Run. After this, you need to delete all the suspicious keys that you can locate in the dialog, this will allow you to repair the shortcut virus pen drive.

locate regedit key path

Step 3: Moving on, you need to press the Windows + R key once again and type "MSConfig" to access the configuration of the windows. Once done, move to the next step.

launch msconfig

Step 4: Now, you need to disable everything under the startup tab, make sure to exclude the antivirus software. Once done, click "OK" and restart your system to remove the shortcut virus from the USB flash drive. Hopefully, the virus will be removed by now, if still not, you need to move to the next method.

configure startup programs

2. Anti-Virus Software

Apart from the registry solution, you can easily get rid of the virus by using anti-virus software. These software are effective enough to detect and remove the virus in no time. A vast number of anti-virus software can be utilized to remove shortcut virus from USB flash drive. The only thing that you should keep in mind is to utilize reliable anti-virus software such as McAfee, Norton, and many more.

Step 1: First of all, download and install the anti-virus software to your system.

Step 2: Once the installation is completed, start scanning the whole operating system.

Step 3: Anti-virus will surely remove the shortcut virus and will also list other viruses that are present in the drive.

Step 4: Also remove the shortcuts of the program to make sure that the virus is removed from your computer.

Apart from the two solutions above, you can also learn some other ways that could help you with removing the USB shortcut virus.

Recover Data and Files from Infected Device

USB flash drives are surely vulnerable to many distinctive errors, but you need to make sure that you study every one of them in detail. That surely aids you in knowing your situation properly. Whatever the cause may be for this trouble, you can still solve this issue with the simple and quick methods mentioned here. After all, recovering data is the most significant part of the guide. Make sure you follow them one by one.

To know more information about virus-infected USB drive, read: How to Recover Files from the Virus Infected USB Drive

1. Check Hidden Files

This the first and foremost easiest method to follow. A vast number of users have reported that checking hidden files have solved the problem completely. Follow the steps to do so; 

show hidden items

Step 1: Firstly, you need to check the hidden files by opening My PC. In windows 10, it is "This PC". Next, you need to open the USB disk folder.

Step 2: Moving on, you need to choose the option "View" on the top of your screen.

Step 3: In the last step, check the box of "hidden items" and your files and folders will be visible to you.  

To learn more, this article introduces some other ways to show hidden files in the USB drive.

2. Use Command Prompt (cmd.exe)

Most of the time, you can simply use CMD to recover your valuable files and folders. Suppose the USB flash drive is not formatted, you can recover your files. You need to follow these steps to do so;

use command line

Step 1: First of all, you need to press the Windows + R key and type cmd, and run the command prompt as administrator.

Step 2: Now, type Chkdsk E:/f and hit enter. Chkdsk means check disk. "E" is the drive letter.  

Step 3: Furthermore, type Y and hit enter.

Step 4: Moving on, type "E" again and hit enter. "E" is the drive letter. 

Step 5: Lastly, type "attrib –h –r –s /s/d *.*" and hit enter.

3. Leave it to Recoverit

If you are using Windows or Mac and have lost your data from a USB shortcut virus. Don't stress out. Recoverit is a USB data recovery software that can also help you in this situation.

deleted data recovery

Recoverit Data Recovery - The Best File Recovery Software

  • It can be used to recover more than 1000 different types of data including video, audio, photos, documents, and many more.
  • It can also recover data from any drive including USB drives regardless of how the data was lost in the first place. Common scenarios include accidental deletion, system crashes, and even malware and viruses.
  • It is very easy to use, allowing users to recover data in just a few minutes and 3 simple steps.

Recoverit is an astonishing data recovery software for windows. It helps rescue the data from your windows computer if it is lost after using a disk doctor. It helps you get back all your valuable documents, emails, photos, videos, and audio files, quickly and easily from a laptop, recycle bin/trash, internal hard drive, external storage media, and even a crashed computer. Recoverit Ultimate even helps you recover fragmented video and repair corrupt/broken/damaged video. Follow the simples steps below to get out of this dilemma.

Step 1: First of all, you need to download the Recoverit data recovery software on your windows operating system to cherish its uses. Once you are done with that follow the given steps below:

Step 2: Launch the software to recover your data.

launch recoverit software

Step 3: Secondly, you have to select the USB drive connected to your computer and press "start" to move forward.

Step 4: After you have selected the location, now press the "recover" button to scan.

start disk scan

Step 5: Wait for the scan to be completed.

Step 6: After your data is deeply scanned, it is time for you to preview your rescued data, preview some recoverable videos or photos.

preview and recover files

Step 7: Once you have seen your recovered data, you can save all the data to your desired location.


When talking about USB flash drives, there is one thing that should be kept in mind that they store very valuable data. If you ever face a USB shortcut virus or you have when you have plugged it in any public computer or have opened an online malware, remember, you can easily recover your data. You just have to keep in mind that only the right software and the right method can get you out of any devastating situation. Don't plug your USB into a public computer and restrict yourself from opening online malware. Just back up your data whenever you feel free in your daily routine.

Recoverit author

Sue Wayne

staff Editor

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