With each new version of Windows, Microsoft is making it harder for hackers and crackers to hack into Windows. Windows has also become less vulnerable to viruses and other malware by default as Microsoft has added securities like a built-in antivirus program and blocking removable media auto run functionality until selects to do so etc. But most people still fall prey to USB viruses because they attack automatically when a USB drive is inserted and auto-run is turned on. The best way to avoid viruses and keep yourself safe is to educate yourself about how computers work and how to keep it secure.
In this article, we will go through the solution to completely remove pendrive shortcut virus from our USB drive and our Windows computer.
Symptoms and behavior of Pendrive shortcut virus
Lately I have been asked about the pen drive shortcut virus by quite a few people including users of iTechtics through the comments on other articles. The symptom of this virus is that all the folders you copy to your USB drive will be converted to shortcuts. If you double click the shortcut, it will open the same folder in a new window.
At first I didn’t take it serious until I came across an infected system myself. If you go to Google Search and search for a solution to pen drive shortcut virus, you will be greeted with a lot of pages with almost the same sort of solution. A batch file is being shared across all the pages that I came across. The batch file simply does three things; unhide all the files in the USB drive, delete all the shortcuts in the USB drive and delete two files called fypuas.exe and fypuasx.exe.
While this is a solution, it is not a permanent solution as it will only last until the computer is restarted. If you restart your computer and insert your USB drive again, it will show the same behavior as discussed above.
Fixing Pendrive shortcut virus issue permanently
Before going through the steps to delete this virus from your system, let me give you a brief overview of what this virus does. This will make it easier for us to understand and solve the problem. This virus surfaced in 2010 and has been around with different names since then. It injects itself to system startup, creates a few executable files inside the USB drive which look like shortcuts, hides the original folders and files inside the USB drive, copies itself into the profile folder of the current user and connects to an outside computer.
If you right click any shortcut folder inside your USB drive and go to Properties, you will be able to confirm that this is actually not a shortcut but properties of an executable file. Now let’s go through removing the shortcut virus step by step:
- Download Hijackthis and install it on your computer.
- Scan your computer with Hijackthis and preferably save the log file.
Hijackthis gives your a list of entries with codes at the start of each line. Each code has a meaning. We need to look at the entries with code ’04’. These are the entries which are executed when a user is logged into the computer. These entries will display startup items for all the users in the computer.
- Make sure you delete all entries which have the following file names inside them: fypuas.exe and fypuasx.exe
- Now open your Task Manager. Under Processes, make sure no process is running under the name fypuas.exe and fypuasx.exe
- Now go to your profile home folder (Run –> %HOMEPATH%), delete all files named fypuas.exe and fypuasx.exe
Hopefully the above steps will cleanup our system from the pendrive shortcut virus. Now let’s clean our USB drives and restore our data.
- Open command prompt (Run –> cmd) and go to your USB drive. For example, if my USB drive is E drive, I’ll need to type E: and hit the enter key. This will take me to the USB drive inside the command prompt.
- Run the following command:
This will delete all files with the extension of a shortcut
- Now run the following command:
attrib -h -r -s /s /d E:*.*
This command will remove the following attributes from all files inside the USB drive; hidden, read-only, system.
Following these steps should remove the virus from the USB drive completely. If you open your USB drive folder from Windows Explorer, you will be able to see all your files and folders restored inside the USB drive.
After removing this virus, you should scan your system with a good antivirus so that it may be able to detect and remove traces of any virus inside your computer. You will be able to download AVG Internet Security 2014 free for one year. If you are still having problems with this malware even after going through all these steps, please let me know through comments and we can find a solution to your specific problem together.