In this current age of extensive multimedia sharing and online surfing, the spreading of computer virus has become a very common thing. Whereas the ‘shortcut virus’ has become really familiar and once in a while all of us have seen it somewhere in our pen drives or in our PCs and laptops and kept wondering why there is a duplicate of that particular replicated folder? By using some portable antivirus software you can handle this problem. However most of us have always overlooked this virus, as it does not appear to be something much problematic. However, as they say, do not underestimate anyone, especially a virus, and it is very wrong to underestimate this virus as well.
As time passes, and after your system encounters few a shortcut viruses, you will notice that almost all the files, folders, drives, and icons are changing into shortcuts which is really very annoying. And gradually it starts to further spread out in our system. Moreover, in no time it infects most of the folders present in your PC. Thus, we recommend that getting rid of this virus is the best way to avoid unnecessary problems and doing so as soon as possible is the best way out, to avoid any further complications from the virus in future.
What is the Shortcut Virus?
We do not have any solid definitions or own roots for this error, like from where it originates and how this virus performs. However, as the name suggests, the shortcut virus attacks your PC’s original files and hides those files and folders behind shortcuts named as the original files. This shortcut virus can also be a malicious malware.
The mechanism that the virus uses to hide the original file is still unknown to us. As from the pic above you can see that the shortcuts are clearly visible with size of just 1 KB. However, if you check the properties of the drive, then you will find that the size of the data is exactly the same as before indicating that the files are still there on the drive, but cannot be viewed directly. You can only access the files by opening those shortcuts. Any attempt to bring the files out of the shortcut always fails. Thus initially, it will not harm the data, but in future, it definitely leads to corruption of files or sometimes even deletes them. It all depends on the type of virus you are infected with.
What is the origin of the Shortcut Virus?
You must have always wondered from where or how the shortcut virus entered your PC or your USB flash drive. Here are the 3 possible reasons about how the virus turned up in your system.
- You must have downloaded an executable file (.exe) from an untrusted third party website and it may have a virus hidden within the archive.
- You must have connected someone else’s malicious USB drive in your computer, and after connecting it, the drive must have spread the virus in your system.
- You must have connected your own removable pen drive to someone else’s PC which already had the shortcut virus and it entered into your flash drive and ultimately into you PC.
How to remove the Shortcut Virus?
For doing so, there are few ways to remove the virus permanently, but we suggest that you should scan your device once with the antivirus. Generally, many antivirus users do not consider this as a virus and thus can’t resolve the matter. If the USB drive you are using is bootable, then maybe you will be able to remove the virus. Anyhow if this method did not work out then follow the methods given below.
Solution 1: Using Command Prompt
Follow the steps given below for removing the shortcut virus by using the Command Prompt (CMD):
- Run the Command Prompt as the Administrator. To do this search CMD in the search box in the start menu and then right click on the CMD and then Select Run as Administrator.
- Now you can connect the infected USB drive (pen drive or SD card) to your PC.
- Scan the USB by any of the installed antivirus programs (this may not be effective), and in case the antivirus came up with some virus or threats, just delete them.
- Now type the command given below in the command prompt: attrib -h -r -s /s /d X:\*.* (Where X refers to the effected USB drive letter). For instance if the drive letter is E, then the command you should write is attrib -h -r -s /s /d E:\*.*
- Now press enter to execute the command.
- After this copy all the data from the USB drive into your PC
- Then format the USB drive
- Finally, copy all the data back into the USB drive.
Now all the shortcut files should be fixed and should work as normal files like before. There are some hidden files that are automatically generated when you use the command, and that is why we suggested you to format your USB drive once.
Solution 2: Tweaking the Registry Files
This is the simplest way of fixing your PC if it is infected by the shortcut virus. However working with the registry can be really dangerous if you do something wrong. So it is suggested that you keep a backup of the registry before following these steps. Do this procedure only if you are well versed with computers and operating systems.
- First press Ctrl + Shift + Esc to open the Task Manager.
- Scroll down to the processes tab, and look for something named as exe. Once you find it, click on it and then click on ‘End Processes’.
- Open the Run dialog box by pressing Win+R keys together and then type Regedit here and press enter to open the Registry Editor.
- Navigate to the location below from the top left pane of registry editor:
- Here try to find the registry key named odwcamszas and right click on it and then delete it.
You must note that if your system is highly infected, then you may not find the above registry key, and in that case, this step will be helpless.
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How To Prevent the Shortcut Viruses from affecting your system in Future
We all agree that prevention is better than cure. Thus we highly recommend that you must take few precautions in order to stop all future threats from this virus. It is always preferable to use latest updated antivirus and firewalls to keep viruses away from your PC and laptop. Better still please go through our article how to make your computer run faster to get optimum speed and performance.
You should also follow these steps to keep viruses away from your PC:
- Always keep your antivirus updated.
- Make sure to scan any removable disk before opening it.
- Avoid using USB drives if the antivirus is not updated.
- Run boot scans at least once in every two or three weeks.
- Use anti malware software like malwarebytes and scan your computer with it every month.