Have you ever met this kind of wired situation? All your files and folders suddenly became shortcuts when you connect the removable media (say a USB flash drive, an external hard drive, or a SD memory card, etc.) to your computer and you try to access data in it.
The files and folders are supposed to be in size of MBs (Megabytes) or GBs (Gigabytes), but it just shows 1KB or 2KB if you check the property. You also tried the removable media in a different PC, same problem. So, what happened? How to make the file folders show up as usual? How to recover the files if they are gone at all?
In this post, I'm going to show you the possible reasons, and step by step fixes (most likely, it's a quick fix).
What are the causes?
You probably have guessed it. Yes, it's the virus or Trojans (like BUOUFO, QWERT etc) or autorun.inf worm. Your removable storage device should have been caught by them, the moment you connected your device to the infected computer. As a result, all the files and folders become "hidden". Sometimes you can make them visible again simply by switching to non-hidden mode, but sometimes that wouldn't work and eventually you have to kill those viruses or Trojans.
Continue to read...for step by step fixes below.
How to Fix Folder Become Shortcuts Problem?
To start with, do not format the removable media immediately. Because formatting will make the data insides much harder to be recovered, and the operation won't necessarily kill the virus. Also, sometimes it won't allow you format the device by showing not formatted error. For example the autorun.inf worm can stop a flash drive from being formatted.
Follow the right steps here:
Step 1: Check whether the files are in hidden mode.
- Click on "Start" > Run > type cmd and click OK.
- Here, I assume your removable drive shows as G: Enter this command: attrib -h -r -s /s /d g:\*.* (replace the letter g with your the right letter your "removable drive" showed under "My Computer" or "This PC" if you're under Windows 10).
- Now check your original files and folders. Are they normal?
Step 2: Scan and remove malware.
If you have installed a security software on your computer, open it and have a thorough scan. If not, here are some tools to check PC health.
Make sure you use the Full Scan mode of an antivirus or anti-malware. Because usually the default option is Quick Scan. This way you should be able to kill those problem makers. After that, see if the file folders can be accessed normally.
No luck? Go to step 3.
Step 3: Format your storage device and retrieve the data with a recovery tool.
Normally, you should be able to format it under Windows with its built-in quick format option. Read this article if you don't how to do that. If that method doesn't work, you may need to use a third-party formatting tool to format your drive. Check out this SanDisk support post for more.
After formatting, you should be able to re-use your removable drive again. But, if you have important data saved in the disk, try to retrieve the data using Recuva (Pandora Recovery works too). Both programs are completely free to use without any function restrictions.
Do you find this fix guide helpful? Share your opinions in the comments below.