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Wednesday, April 3, 2013

How to Solve the Problem of your External Storage Device Files Being Hidden by the Shortcut Virus

Due to some idiot out there, apparently most (if not all) of the students at my university got 'attacked' by the so-called 'shortcut virus' - one person after the other. It even affected me but it was a pitiful problem and here I am sharing the most simple method of resolving this issue. Before that, I'll explain briefly on what the virus actually did to your files. Basically, the virus changed the attributes of your files from being unhidden (a.k.a. normal) to being hidden as system files - files that are integral to your operating system and are normally hidden by default to prevent accidental tinkering/deleting of those files. So all you have to do is unhide them with 5 simple steps:

NOTE: This only applies for Windows operating systems as most likely it has null effects on a Mac.

  1. Open Windows Explorer or you could also open any folder in your computer.
  2. Click on the 'Organize' button at the top left of your explorer.
  3. Click on the 'Folder and search options'.
  4. Now the 'Folder Options' window should open. Move to the 'View' tab.
  5. Change the property at the Hidden files and folders section to 'Show hidden files, folders, and drives as well as UNCHECK the 'Hide protected operating system files (Recommended)'.
  6. Now you can see a drive like icon in your external storage device that looks like this:
    but is translucent cause of the virus. Open it and voila! Your files are all there.
  7. (OPTIONAL) Now about the virus, it should be cleaned automatically if your computer has a working antimalware programme like Microsoft Security Essentials or Avast! Antivirus. If not, then proceed to move your files to your computer temporarily.
  8. (OPTIONAL) Format your storage device and then move your files back to your storage device and you're DONE!
 UPDATE (7/5/2013): An example of a drive infected by the shortcut virus. Before revealing the hidden files, only the shortcut icon at the bottom right named Transcend(4GB) will be shown.

OPTIONAL: Not really needed but I did this for mine cause my pendrive is small and just to be safe.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Remember to undo the settings for the hidden folder and operating system files part after you're done

I kinda pity the victims especially the 'IT-buta' ones so I made this guide to help them out. I've seen people recommending programmes just to solve this very problem but it really really really is unnecessary.Heck some of my friends had the problem until I solved it about a week ago.