If your tech life includes going online a lot, sooner or later you’d come across the shortcut virus. Many people are already familiar with it. At least going by the number of complains I get from people about the problem. Shortcut virus is so annoying. Once you see it you know it. The good thing is that it doesn’t hide. It is there in plain sight. Daring you to do your worst. The first time I had it several years ago, I was still a novice in these things. I took the easy route out and formatted my system.
Unfortunately, many people still do this formatting thing when they could easily remove the virus and save some previous files from being deleted. Not to talk of some important softwares that would be deleted if you format your system.
Shortcut Virus in Hard Drive and External Drives
In all cases, the first time you know your system is infected is when you see all or some of your files and folders changing to shortcuts. That is, the virus has converted them to a .exe program. You’d have no choice but to click the shortcut if you want to access the folder or file. Clicking them is a sure way to spread the shortcut virus. With time, the virus spreads and infects every single file or folder on your drives.
The shortcut viruses are mostly Worms or Trojans. They can hurt you in several ways. Apart from making your files and folders difficult to access, they would definitely slow your system down. Also, they can monitor your system, sending out information about you to some hacker somewhere. So if you keep important information on your system like financial records, the hacker’d get them too.
How Shortcut Viruses Infect your System
- When you download and install softwares from third party and untrusted websites.
- You can also get it from using a USB drive already infected with the virus
- And you external drive can get it from a computer infected with the virus
So, be careful where and how you download softwares. And of course never plug your your flash drive or external drive into an infected PC. Generally, never trusts PCs with no anti-virus software.
How to Remove Shortcut Virus
There are two methods. One involves doing it manually while the second method is easier, taking advantage of several shortcut virus removal softwares.
1.Use CMD to Remove Shortcut Virus
The manual methods might sound a bit hard to people. But they are easy. The only thing you need is to pay attention to what you are doing.
Open CMD by going to Run and type ‘CMD‘. Run can be accessed by hitting the Microsoft key on you keyboard and typing ‘CMD’ in the search box and hit ‘enter.’ Clicking the start button, typing ‘CMD,’ then hitting ‘enter’ is another way.
In the command prompt window that opens, just type in
attrib -h -s -r -a /s /d DN:*.*
where DN represents the name of the drive you want to disinfect. For example, if the shortcut virus is on your flash drive labelled G, then what you type would look like this,
attrib -h -s -r -a /s /d G:*.*
Hit ‘enter’. The shortcut virus would be removed; you can now delete the file or folder manually.
2.Use .BAT File To Remove Shortcut Virus
A .bat file can be easily made using notepad. The good thing about this method is that you can remove the shortcut virus from multiple drives with just one command. Let’s get to it.
Open Notepad on your computer
Type the code below
@echo off attrib -h -s -r -a /s /d DN1:*.* attrib -h -s -r -a /s /d DN2:*.* attrib -h -s -r -a /s /d DN3:*.* @echo complete
where DN1, DN2, and DN3 represents the drives you want to clean. As in the case with the command prompt method, you replace that with the appropriate lettering of the drives.
Save the notepad as a .bat file and save it on your desktop. For example, you can save it as ‘yourname.bat‘. The most important thing is the prefix ‘.bat’ at the end.
Now open/run the file by clicking it (‘double click’ if that’s how you open files or folders on your systen)
The shortcut virus would now be removed from your system
3.Use Softwares to Remove Shortcut Virus
This is the easiest and the fastest method available. If you are not averse to downloading and installing softwares, then this method is ideal for you. There are several softwares out there that automatically remove both the viruses and the corrupted folders for you.
This method is recommended if you are not comfortable with the manual methods above and/or if the manual method didn’t remove the virus. At this point, I need to mention that there are several shortcut virus remover softwares online and most of them are free. I’ll just mention the names of four of them. How they work can easily be learned from the websites.
They are all easy to use softwares. Nothing complicated.
However, it is best if you can actually prevent these virue from getting into your system in the first place. So you must ensure your anti-virus software is always up to date; scan your system every month; never open external drives without scanning them first; and only download from trusted websites.
photo credit: justwebworld.com