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How to Fix Folders Turned into Shortcuts?

Wondershare Recoverit Authors

Jan 27, 2024 • Filed to: Answer Hard Drive Problems • Proven solutions

I am freaking out because my folders became shortcuts in my external HD and to my flash drive. The original files are hidden and they become shortcuts. Furthermore, I often encounter an error message with "maoyoad.exe" & "maoyoadx.exe". I already submitted these files to MMPC and still waiting for the definition files.

Possibly the first culprit of this error is the virus or malware attack. It changed your original files or folders into shortcuts that cannot be opened. Another case describes a condition in which you have created a shortcut for a particular folder to have easy access and cannot track back the original file. In both cases, you are desperately finding the answer to the question i.e. how to change the shortcut folder to a normal folder. This article is all about the answer you are looking for.

When you are using an external drive i.e. USB for storage, you always store the data in different files so that you can have easy and quick access to all the data without interruption. Saving data on a USB drive also helps you to carry it anywhere. But sometimes, when you try to connect the USB drive with another device, you would likely see an error that says ‘all files are shortcuts’. You cannot access the data saved in the file rather an easy identification of a shortcut file is the conversion of file size from GB’s, MB’s to KB’s. When this happens, you defiantly need a quick fix regarding how to change the shortcut folder to a normal folder or how to open a shortcut file on the computer. This article is all about the reasons causing the error as well as it provides an appropriate solution to resolve the error. The following are the topics that would be discussed in detail throughout the article.

In this article

Part 1: How Does Folder Turn into a Shortcut?

Before finding out the solution to fix the issue. Let’s see what is the actual reason causing the problem or how a folder turns in to a shortcut. As mentioned above, the foremost reason is the virus attack on the USB drive. This virus turns healthy folders into shortcuts. By any means when the USB drive is affected by the virus, it hides all the original files and folders and shows their respective shortcuts in the interface that are inaccessible. This virus is called a shortcut virus. In case you need to remove the shortcuts and retrieve the original files/folders, you have three possible solutions i.e. anti-virus software, attribute CMD, and show hidden files. Using these built-in mechanisms, one can change the shortcut folders into original ones.

Part 2: Common Symptoms After File Folders Become Shortcuts

Now next step is to check whether your device i.e. USB drive is suffering from the shortcut error or not. Here are possible symptoms for the file folders to become a shortcut.

1- You cannot access the folder for your files

Double-click the particular file/folder, if the file/folder is not opening and you cannot access the data, then be very clear your USB drive is showing the shortcut error.

2- All files and folders become shortcuts that show 1KB, 2KB, or something

Another symptom is the conversion of file/folder size. See if the size of the targeted file or folder is changed from GB, MB to KB. In this case, your USB drive is affected by a shortcut error.

3- Sometimes the disk becomes quite slow

Sometimes, the USB drive is working slowly, due to which it is not supporting large-sized files and folders and ultimately they turn into shortcuts.

Part 3: How to Fix A Folder that Has Become a Shortcut?

Once you are sure that the USB drive is affected by the shortcut error, the next step is to look for an appropriate solution with which you can turn the shortcut into the original file/folder. Here are solutions regarding how to open a shortcut file in the computer or how to change the shortcut folder to a normal folder.

Solution 1: Check If Your Files Are Hidden

In case, the shortcut error occurred on the USB drive due to a virus attack, it will make the original files stored on the device into hidden folders. For this, you need to unhide these files/folders to make them accessible. Once they are accessible, you can open them and get back your data. Here are the steps to reveal the process.

Step 1: Launch My Computer on your device while your USB drive is connected to it.

Step 2: Select the option of View in the menu.

Step 3: Now check the option of Show Hidden Items. All the hidden folders will appear, thus making the data accessible.

It is a hit-and-trial method, you can access data with this method is dependent on chances.

Solution 2: Anti-virus Scan Program

The shortcut error is basically due to a virus or malware attack. For eradicating the virus from your device, you need a strong anti-virus scan program as well as software. The software solution will run a deep scan and then remove all the viruses from files and folders and ultimately all the shortcuts will be converted into to original file/folder. Here are steps, on how you can do this.

Step 1: Download and then install the anti-virus software on your device.

Step 2: Now open the anti-virus or anti-malware program

Step 3: Select the option of scan or go for the full scan.

Step 4: Nextly, click Ok to initiate the scanning process.

Once the virus or malware is removed, try to access the file/folder. If the virus is fully removed, the data will be accessible. The only thing to consider is the file name. Viruses usually change the file name, so it will take a while to locate the file on your device.

Solution 3: CMD Command

The CMD command is another way to recover the original file/folder from the shortcuts. All you need to do is to write the appropriate command line and get your task done in no time. Here is how you can do this.

Step 1: Open the main menu and of your device and select the option of Run.

Step 2: After launching the administrator, type the particular command i.e. CMD, and select your targeted device. In your case, it will be a USB drive.

Step 3: Now type del *.lnk in the command prompt.

Step 4: Nextly, type attrib -h -r -s /s /d Drive Letter:*.* and click on the option of Enter.

cmd command solution 1

Part 4: How to Recover Data after Removing Shortcuts?

Once you remove the shortcuts by applying any of the methods mentioned above, in some cases you might lose your precious data or the data becomes inaccessible. For this problem, here is a third-party recovery application software that will recover the lost data after removing the shortcuts from the USB drive. In this context, Recoverit Data Recovery is a state-of-the-art software that recovers data in no time. Here are some of its outstanding features:

Here are the steps that will show the working of the software while retrieving the data.

Step 1: Download and then launch the software on your device. Make sure your USB drive is in proper connection with your working device.

Step 2: Once the software is installed, open the software, and in the main menu, you have to select the location from where the file was lost or deleted. In your case, you have to add the location of your USB drive. Once selected, click Start to continue the process.

recoverit interface

Step 3: When you click start, the software will run and quick scan to restore the data from the shortcuts. If you don’t find the data, go for the all-around scan.

scanning lost data

Step 4: As soon as the scanning is completed, all the deleted or lost files will appear in the interface of the software. Preview them one by one and select the desired file/folder that you need to recover. Once you select the file/folder, click Recover so that process of recovery could be completed. You can select multiple files/folders simultaneously to recover.

preview recovered file

Step 5: Once all the files/folders are recovered, select an appropriate location to save them. Make sure you select a different location as compared to the last one. In case you select the same location from where you lost the data last time, it can cause the permanent deletion of data that would be unrecoverable.


So, next time when a file/folder turns into a shortcut, you can figure out the reason behind it. Once you get the reason, you can apply any of the above-mentioned mechanisms to remove the shortcuts and use the software solution to recover the data lost while removing the shortcuts. As far as the software solution is concerned, Recoverit free data recovery is an all-rounder recovery software that is best to rely upon for recovering precious data.

Recoverit author

Theo Lucia

chief Editor

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