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How to recover files hidden by viruses or malware

By Edited Mar 16, 2016 0 0

Why is this happening?

The reason that your files no longer appear on your flash drive is that the virus has changed the attributes of these files. You can think of the attribute of a file as a property that controls whether the file is:

  • Read-only. You can only 'read' these files you cannot change them hence the name!
  • Hidden. You cannot normally see these files, by default they are not displayed.
  • Archive. These files are used when backing up/copying files.
  • System. These are files that your operating system uses to operate.

The virus will change your normal files to make them either one or a combination of these, normally at least including System or Hidden. Now that we know why this is happening lets move on to how to get rid of this problem.

How to get my files back?

  1. First things first we need to get rid of any viruses/malware that are causing the problems, otherwise any files we manage to get back will just be hidden from us again! To do this first update your antivirus software and then scan the folder/flash drive that's causing the problem. If you don't have antivirus software, I recommend investing in some immeadiately as this is a good way to prevent these problems in the first place. Some good free ones include Avast or Avira. After scanning and getting rid of any viruses, go to the folder/flash drive and check to see if there are any left over fake 'shortcuts' and delete them. A good way to check if a file is a fake shortcut is to right click the file and click properties. Now check if the file is an application. If it is it is almost definetly a fake shortcut.
  2. Now that we cleaned up our flash drive the next and probably easiest step is to unhide the files. We need to open command prompt for this. For Windows 7 users you can just click the Start button and type cmd in the search to find command prompt. For Windows XP go to Start > Run  and type cmd.exe and press enter.
  3. Once command prompt opens type the letter of your flash drive followed by a colon and then press enter. e.g. if your flash drive is under G: type G: and press enter.
  4. Now type attrib -h -r -s /s /d and hit return. What this does is just remove the hidden, read-only and system attributes from all the files in drive G:. The /s and /d just makes sure this is applied to apply directories and sub folders.
  5. When its finished the cursor will go to a new line saying G:.
  6. Close command prompt and your finished! Your files should now be restored!

 

 

 

USB drive
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