Shortcut Virus is the most annoying virus I’ve ever faced.
USB and external drives full of shortcuts, double copies of data, everything messed up… it sucks!
And you’re probably dealing with the same issue right now as you read this.
Fret not! This guide is meant to be your easy, effective and complete solution to remove shortcut virus forever from all your devices.
- How Does Shortcut Virus Enters Your PC?
- Is Shortcut Virus harmful?
- Removing Shortcut Virus: 6 Easy & Effective Ways (Step-by-step procedure)
- How to Prevent Shortcut Virus in the Future?
- Final Words
How Does Shortcut Virus Enters Your PC?
You might probably wonder how did the Shortcut Virus entered your PC in the first place, right?
Here are some of the ways through which the shortcut virus lands up in your PC / USB:
- Inserting a shortcut virus infected external drive (either USB/HDD).
- Downloading and executing a malware from the internet that consisted the shortcut virus.
- Getting the virus along with a file/script executed on initialization.
Is Shortcut Virus harmful?
Short answer – No.
That’s because all it does is that it creates shortcuts out of your files and your files get encrypted inside those shortcuts.
So, the shortcut virus is not actually a virus, but rather, a harmless malware.
Though the shortcut virus in itself is harmless, the package that contained the virus may have additional harmful code that, with the help of the shortcut virus, would grab data from those encrypted shortcuts / delete those files or do whatever it wants.
Now that’s terrifying!
Let’s get right into removing shortcut virus and cleaning up your devices permanently without losing your files.
Removing Shortcut Virus: 6 Easy & Effective Ways (Step-by-step procedure)
You may ask – Why 6 different ways?
You see, the way these shortcut viruses are created are quite different to each other, and they affect different parts of your infected drive, in different ways.
Some may be just limited to encrypting your files inside shortcuts while others may be accompanied with some sort of malicious activity in the background.
So, if a particular method doesn’t work for you, there are others to make sure that you get rid of that shortcut virus without having to wander and keep searching for some solution again.
Though, my guess is that, your shortcut virus issue will get solved right after you apply the method #1 because it covers quite a lot of types of shortcut viruses in-general.
#1 – Plug-and-Play Shortcut Virus Remover
UsbFix is a software that exactly does what it’s meant for; Fix your USB Drives and remove shortcut virus out of it.
Moreover, it’s a freemium software, meaning that it has a basic free (and working) version with optional upgrade that charges you for more features. But, to solve our current issue of the shortcut virus, the free version of UsbFix is enough.
Special Features of UsbFix:
- Backup – You can backup your files before using UsbFix so that you can revert back if things break.
- Vaccinate – This is a feature that works alongside the repair feature to remove shortcut virus from your infected drives. The way this feature works is that it creates an autorun file for your pendrive which handles the autorun functionality of an external drive in Windows.
- Repair – Does the scanning of your infected drive and then matches for patterns against their shortcut virus database. If match found, then it goes ahead and applies the fix.
UsbFix is one of the only-existing GUI shortcut virus remover that does all the stuff on it’s own.
So, if you’re not tech-savvy and aren’t interested in getting into the commands and code stuff to remove shortcut virus, UsbFix software is the way to go!
Steps to Remove Shortcut Virus from Pendrive using UsbFix:
- Download UsbFix from the link provided below.
- Connect Infected USB/HDD Drive to the PC.
- Run UsbFix.
- Click on the “Clean” option. You’ll be asked to close all running programs on PC.
- Choose OK.
After that, the cleaning starts. You won’t be able to access the desktop while the cleaning process is running until it’s completed.
Once the cleaning process is complete, you’ll see a report about the number of viruses found and fixed.
#2 – Command Line Scanning to Remove Shortcut Virus
If you’re a Command Prompt fanboy, this is really going to delight you!
Removing Shortcut Virus using CMD involves running a few commands through the command prompt in WIndows to scan the infected drive, find the virus if it’s definition exists in Windows’ Malware database and remove it.
So here, instead of relying on any 3rd party software, we’re using the always-updated Windows’ Malware database to remove the shortcut virus.
Steps to Remove Shortcut Virus using CMD (Command Prompt):
- Open the Command Prompt. (Search “cmd“).
- Type (or Copy-Paste) the below command and press Enter key to run it:
attrib -h -r -s /s /d A:*.*
Note: Replace the capital letter “A” in this code with the drive letter of your infected drive.
What does the above code do?
- -h is to unhide all the files in the selected drive (which were previously hidden due to shortcut virus.
- -r is to recreate those files so that they are no longer hidden.
- -s is to detach the USB Drive from being a part of the system so that the above processes can be carried out.
#3 – The Shortcut Virus Remover Tool
Shortcut Virus Remover is actually a name of a standalone small existing software that attempts at removing the shortcut virus.
It contains definitions for some type of shortcut malwares that UsbFix does not, and hence, if in any case UsbFix wasn’t enough to remove the virus, this would be handy.
All you need to do is download the software, run it and follow the on-screen process to get rid of the shortcut virus.
It removes the .vbs and .inf infected files, clears the shortcut virus and recovers your original files back from the shortcut virus. A handy tool indeed.
#4 – Restoring Folders with Fix Folder and Trojorm Tool
Fix Folder and Trojorm Tool is a supplementary standalone software that helps you fix broken / shortcut virus affected folders and remove all the file and folder duplication.
This is in case if you don’t get your folder structure back to its previous state after using UsbFix or Command Prompt clean method.
Steps to Use Fix Folder and Trojorm Tool:
- Download the software from the link given below.
- Extract the file (using an unzip tool like Winzip or 7-Zip), right click on the extracted files -> Send to your USB Drive.
- Run the Trojorm tool from within your infected pendrive.
- Edit the Fixfolder script from within the infected drive (using an editor like Notepad), replace the letter “H” with the infected drive letter, save the file and run it.
This will fix your folder issues caused due to the shortcut virus. So, this is a nifty little shortcut virus remover.
#5 – Kill Amvo Virus Script to Kill Shortcut Virus from PC
Kill Amvo Virus is another supplementary standalone software that is meant to killing the virus that came along with the shortcut malware.
I personally recommend you to run this script even after you’re cleaning the shortcut virus with any of the methods above.
To use it, you just need to download and execute it. The rest is done by it’s own.
Pretty nifty, huh!
#6 – Cleaning the Registry
What if the shortcut virus did not limit itself to just the infected drive and entered into Windows’ registry?
(for those who are unknown, Windows’ registry is the database of Windows to store all the important data about your system)
That can wreck havoc if it’s coded to do something malicious!
Maybe delete important system files and crash the PC?
Or, install a keylogger and hack your passwords?
Anything’s a possibility if the virus spreads itself to the registry.
So, you should check to ensure that the Windows’ registry is safe.
A word of caution here:
The below process will requires to delete a malicious registry. If you delete something else, it might break your PC. Proceed at your own risk.
Steps to Remove Shortcut Virus from Windows Registry:
- Open the Task Manager by pressing the key combination “Ctrl + Shift + Esc“. Alternatively you can press “Ctrl + Alt + Del” to open the logon screen and select “Task Manager” from there.
- Click on the “Processes” tab. Find a process called “exe“. Sort by name for your convenience. If you find it, terminate the process by right clicking on it -> “End Process“.
- Open the Registry editor from the Run Dialog box (“Win + R“) and type in “regedit” and then press “Enter“.
- Navigate to HKEY_CURRENT_USER / Software / Microsoft / Windows / CurrentVersion / Run. Here, find a registry key named as “odwcamszas“. If it exists, right click on it -> “Delete“.
Note: If you don’t find any such process or registry key, this means that the virus has not affected the Windows registry.
How to Prevent Shortcut Virus in the Future?
Now that you’ve got the shortcut malware out of your pendrive, it’s important to take care that it doesn’t gets back in again.
But, there’s a bad news:
Shortcut virus is very common and is bound to be seen often.
So, there are some precautions that you need to take care always to make sure you don’t end up infecting your removable drives with the shortcut malware or the virus again.
Precautionary measures for shortcut virus:
- Install an antivirus in your PC: A no brainer, but people still tend to overlook this important part. An antivirus will make sure the shortcut malware is terminated as soon as you connect any 3rd person’s infected drives in your PC. For Win 10 PC’s, the in-built Windows Defender is good enough if you always have the latest updates of virus definitions for it.
- Run a scan on every external drive you connect: Thoroughly scanning it makes sure there’s no stone unturned.
- Don’t download junk from internet: Most of the times, you’re hit by malwares like the shortcut virus that comes as a part of some crapware that you download from Internet thinking that it’s some legitimate software. Avoid using pirated copies of softwares as well.
Sometimes, shortcut virus can become a huge pain if it is not paid attention to quickly and terminated when it begins, because, the more time it resides on your USB Drive/PC, it keeps multiplying and creating shortcut copies of your Drives, Folders and Files.
So, if your pendrive/PC is infected with the Shortcut Virus, you now know what to do, right?
Which method did you use to remove shortcut virus? Let us know in the comments section below.