How to recover files hidden or corrupted to shortcuts by the Recycler virus on a storage device

how to recover files corrupted to shortcut or hidden by recycler virus

If you’ve never encountered the Recycler virus as a student then you surely will in your final year. You connect your flash drive, SD card, external HDD or SSD to a Computer, only for all your files to disappear or be replaced by shortcuts (sexy, secret, passwords etc) all of the same size. Thats a taste of the Recycler virus.

Are my files gone for good?

No, they’re still very much on your storage device, just hidden from you. To confirm this, go to My Computer > Right-click on the storage device > Select properties. From the statistics (Used vs Free space), you’ll see that the files are still stored on the storage device.

How did my PC get infected with the Recycler virus?

Mostly by using infected storage devices on your PC without first scanning them with a good antivirus. The Recycler virus could become a space hog if not arrested on time. I discussed a serious case of the Recycler virus at

How can I recover my hidden / corrupted files?

Recovering your files is pretty easy:

  1. Connect the infected storage device to the Computer
  2. Navigate to My Computer and note the storage device’s drive letter (usually G, H, J, L etc)
  3. For this guide, we’ll assume the drive letter is I
  4. Press the Window button or launch the Start menu
  5. Type cmd in the search bar
  6. Command Prompt should appear in the result
  7. Right-click Command Prompt and select Run as Administrator
  8. Command prompt should now appear
  9. In Command prompt, type I: and press enter (replace I with the drive letter and don’t forget the colon )
  10. Still in Command prompt, type attrib -r -a -s -h /s /d and press Enter. *Note: put a space between each item as in attrib space -r space -a space -s space -h space /s space /d )
  11. Wait for the process to finish running then go to your storage device
  12. All your files should have been returned
  13. Delete any folder named Recycler

You could see the video tutorial below or @ :

How do I remove the Recycler virus from my PC?

Simply install a strong antivirus (like Norton, Kaspersky, Avast, AVG etc), update it over the internet (very important) and scan your PC.

My storage device is still acting up, what do I do?

Its nothing to worry about. Follow the guide at to get your storage device working perfectly once again.