“Help! My Files Are Lost!”- Disaster Recovery Measures on Virus-Affected Files

Written by Publisher on . Posted in IT Advisory

No matter how careful a computer user is, disasters are bound to happen during manual transfer and opening of documents. This disaster refers to files attacked by malwares lurking in flash disks and hard drives.  A desktop or laptop computer can easily be infected by different virus, worms, and other forms of malware.  The severity of infection can easily be observed in removable drives, like external hard disk and flash drives, when your files become suddenly missing. Local hard drives are affected also, as evidenced by a computer serving as conduit or host to spread the malware in removable drives.

When your precious documents are nowhere to be found, and all hope is lost - do not despair, because with this guide, you can help yourself out of this dire predicament.

First, take a deep breath and relax. Do these so that your mind will be clear and you will be able to determine the correct file to look for among the bunch of what you will discover later.

Make sure that the computer you are using to open the files is free of infection itself. You can run your trusted anti-virus software in either boot-time schedule or in SAFE MODE (keep pressing F8 while the computer boots to go to this mode) so that the malware is disabled during scanning for easy removal.

Next, click on the “My Computer” icon, where you can see the main window on the right, and the explore panel to the left. Open the affected drive with the corresponding drive letter using the explore panel.

If you do not see the files and folders you are looking for, go to the menu item in the upper part of the window, where the MENU BAR is located (the one with FILE, EDIT, VIEW, TOOLS, and HELP buttons).

Click on the “TOOLS” button, then choose “FOLDER OPTIONS…”.

Under “VIEW” tab > Advanced Settings > Files and Folders > Hidden Files and Folders

Choose “Show hidden files, folders and drives”.

Uncheck "Hide protected operating system files (Recommended)"

After this, all hidden files in your removable drive will appear. There will be a hidden folder where all the seemingly “lost” files will be transferred. This is the result of a virus infection. Apart from turning the host PC into a carrier, it hides and relocates all the files of the target removable drive. Once you insert a USB drive into the port – BAAMMM…. you are now infected. The prevalent ones that attaches itself to USB drives nowadays is the Win32:RmnDrp, or any of its variants.

Be sure to switch your viewing option to “DETAILS” view.

If the file Type category is not shown, right click on the category bar and select the appropriate item.

 

Be wary of files having the following unfamiliar sample file types when you open your USB drive:

     - Application (ex.  Folder.exe, document.exe )
     - Application extension
     - Ini file (desktop.ini, autorun.ini)
     - Configuration settings (ex. Desktop.config)
     - Shortcuts
     - Set-up information (ex. Autorun.inf)
     - INIT file (ex. WKADYYWWR.init, or any other random characters)
     -  “RECYCLER” folder
     -  .trashes
     -  .temporaryitems

If you know you did not intentionally create any of the files, just delete it.  These should not be present in your flash drives in the first place.

You will most likely see your lost files in a folder with this name - “__” or a folder denoted by a hard disk icon like the one below:

Click on the folder and you will see all of your documents. Just select all the contents of the said folder, then CUT and PASTE to the root directory of your flash drive. PRESTO! Your flash drive is now healed. Just don’t insert it in an infected PC to avoid experiencing the same problem.

Lastly, return the “FOLDER OPTIONS” to its original state:

Under “VIEW” tab > Advanced Settings > Files and Folders > Hidden Files and Folders

Select “Don’t Show hidden files, folders and drives”.

Check  the box with "Hide protected operating system files (Recommended)"

The last step is being done to prevent inadvertent deletion of system files in the local hard drives that might cause the entire operating system to crash, and avoid the discovery of previously hidden files and folders by the computer user.

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