Pendrive or USB drive displaying only shortcuts ? Here’s the Solution!



Howdy friends! Here I am with a common computer virus issue faced majorly in educational institutions. Usually what happens in this case is that, your pendrive statistics show that it is occupied with data but, inside of it only shows that it has one or few shortcuts! Data in your pendrive shows only one shortcut or looks something like the following image.


Let’s get to the solution:

Here is the solution provided, you have not formatted your pendrive:


Step 1 : Start Command Prompt (with Administrator privileges )  




Click on START   type in cmd and right click cmd.exe and click ‘Run as Administrator’.


Step 2 : Note down the Drive Letter for your pendrive.





Here in this example Drive letter is  I: (as you can see in the Image Above).


Step 3 : Type this command.

attrib -h -r -s /s /d i:\*.*





attrib -h -r -s /s /d i:\*.*    (read it as attribspace-hspace-rspace-sspace/sspace/dspacei:\*.*).

Or simply copy the Command in green color and paste it inside CMD and strike ‘ENTER‘ key.


Step 4 : Wait for some time (depending on the size of data inside the pendrive).

You will notice the cursor blinking but stay patient, and wait till there is something to display on your Command Prompt screen.  Don’t worry even if it displays certain errors like “The file or directory is corrupt or unreadable”. It’s just the system’s message for certain files.


Step 5 : Check back the pendrive.

Data must have returned in the pendrive, possible in a unnamed folder with original folder structure, and many shortcuts. Delete the suspicious files and some stupid ‘.ini’ files and continue.


I hope it solves your issue. And do not forget to share the information with your friends, because this is the most commonly faced issues.

So next  time, don’t FORMAT and groan for your lost data just CMD’ed it!


UPDATE: Some people are facing problem in not reaching the solution. Here is one suggestion I would like to make. before you progress with any commands, try this.


Go to Control Panel> Folder Options, select VIEW tab, SelectShow hidden files, folders and drives” and UncheckHide protected operating system files (recommended)” now click APPLY. And now try the command.

Do not forget to put spaces as mentioned in the command parameters and replacing your drive letter.


Thanks for reading !

64 responses to “Pendrive or USB drive displaying only shortcuts ? Here’s the Solution!

    • Hi! Shortcuts remain there, but three might be a folder with the name “.” Only or no name at all! There inside will be the data with all the directory structures maintained!

    • Can you please mail me some screenshots from your pc. I guess you are in a dire need. And please try mentioning certain steps or small description.

  1. Even after running all those comments in cmd, I’m facing the same problem with my USB. I formatted it once. Please help me in clearing that virus…

    • Hi Bhavya,

      can you try this way..

      Go to Control Panel> Folder Options, select VIEW tab, Select “Show hidden files, folders and drives” and Uncheck “Hide protected operating system files (recommended)” now click APPLY.

      And now try the command.
      Do not forget to put spaces as mentioned and replace your drive letter.

  2. superb! thanks a lot. Had this problem for a long time couldn’t solve it. But this worked especially beacause you had explained it in detail the space in betweens. Thanks a lot

    • Sounds amazing!

      yeah that drive is infected by a virus. It modifies the node addresses (path of the file in hard disk) of the files. So, files are actually not visible and their icons are rendered mere shortcuts.

  3. hey….. when i write this command in cmd then it shows “attrib is not recognizied in external or internal command or Batch file” please solve my problem.
    8 GB pendrive full by 4 GB data bt it shows empty……

  4. i removed the drive right after doing this by mistake. can u plz tell me if anything can be done cause right after doing this it looked like that most of the files got deleted. plz help

  5. After unsuccessful attempts to fix my USB drive with MBAM, Bitdefender, Panda USB Vaccine, etc (perhaps right tools, but wrong problem), I chanced upon your method. Worked like a charm. Thanks much! 🙂

  6. M facing the problem of shortcuts in my pendrive and as mentioned above i tried the command but its nt giving me the response..
    So please tell me nnow what to do ??

  7. i also facing same issue but if i put my pendrive in my pc it shows like shortcut but if
    i use in another pc it shows normally y how to solve this Sudhanshu

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