5 Methods to Convert Shortcut to Original File

If your files turn to shortcut files, worry not, this article will show you the possible reasons and 5 effective methods below to convert shortcut to original file without destroy the file quality.


By Ivy / Updated on April 2, 2024

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My Files Turn to Shortcut Suddenly

“Please help me! I stored the backup of my all important data in a USB drive. Yesterday when I was trying to open my file. I was shocked because my data in it turned into shortcuts. Actually, I saved my files with the same names but the used space shows 0 bytes.

I know the files are still there but I don’t know how to convert shortcut files into original files without destroying the file quality. Anyone can suggest to me the best way to resolve this issue.”

Convert Shortcut to Original File

Possible Reasons Behinds the Shortcut Files

Files turning into shortcut files is a common problem and it usually occurs in USB drives, SD cards, external disks, etc, and even internal disks. It’s likely your device is infected by a virus, trojan, or worm and the files are hidden in most cases.

Except for viruses, this may also be caused by power failure, incompatible file systems, operating system error, system driver failure, etc.  In addition, there is a chance your files are deleted.

How to Convert Shortcut File Into Original File

After getting the possible reasons, you may know that the Virus, Trojan, or Worm is the root cause. So please remove them with antivirus software first. You can choose to use Windows Defender or install any reliable software.

Way 1: Remove Virus, Trojan, or Worm with Antivirus Software

Step 1. Go to Settings > Windows Security and select Virus & threat protection.

Virus Threat Protection

Step 2. Select Scan options under Current threats.

Step 3. Select Custom scan and click Scan now.

Custom Scan

Step 4. Go to This PC and select the drive containing shortcut files.

Step 5. Click Select Folder to start the scanning process and remove the found viruses.

Select Folder

Way 2: Recover Shortcut Files using CMD

Step 1. Type cmd in the search box and select Run as administrator.

Step 2. Type chkdsk D: /F and press Enter. The D: is the drive letter of the problem disk.


Step 3. Type Y and press Enter if you are asked to run this command at next startup.

Step 4. Type attrib -h -r -s /s /d D:*.* and press Enter.

Way 3: Show Hidden Files and Folders

Step 1. Open your USB drive or other devices. Click View and Options in the File Explorer.


Step 2. In the View tab, go to Hidden files and folders and check Show hidden files and folders.


Step 3. Finally, uncheck Hide protected Operating system files and click Apply > OK.

Way 4: Format Disk in File Explorer

Step 1. Open This PC. Right-click the RAW partition and select Format.

Step 2. Select the NTFS file system and click Start.

Windows Quick Format


  • The quick format option deletes only the file system paths to your data on the RAW drive. If you uncheck it, it will overwrite data on this disk with zero.
  • You can also select any recognized file system based on your preferences, such as FAT32, FAT16, exFAT, etc.

Step 3. Click Yes in the prompt to start the formatting process.

Way 5: Recover Shortcut Files via Data Recovery Software

If you still cannot convert shortcut files to original or the original files are deleted, you can use MyRecover to help you recover shortcut files from USB drive, SD card, internal or external disk, etc successfully.

  • Support two advanced scanning methods - Quick Scan & Deep Scan. It is able to find out all of the data deleted by virus, or deal with other data loss scenarios.
  • Recover Word documents, Excel files, PPT, pictures, videos, compressed files, etc and more than 200+ file types
  • keep the recovered files with their original name, format, quality, and path.
  • Recover specific files or folders during the scanning process. You don’t need to wait for the scanning result.
  • Windows 7, 8, 10, 11, etc, and Windows Server.

Now download this Windows data recovery software- MyRecover and install it on your Windows PC.

Download SoftwareWin 11/10/8/7/Server
Secure Download

Step 1. Launch Windows data recovery software- MyRecover. Hover the mouse over the drive saved deleted files before, and click Scan.

Select Partition To Scan

Step 2. The software will automatically scan the selected disk and display all the deleted or lost shortcut files.

Scan Lost Data

You can also filter specific shortcut files that need to recover. Here are two ways in the following:

  • Directly type its file name in the Search for files or folders box.
  • Use the Filter feature. You need to select file type (eg: Word documents), date modified or size.

Search for Word Files


  • Type: include all file types, such as images, videos, documents, mails, webpage, compressed files, etc.
  • Data Modified: support today, yesterday, last 7 days, last 30 days, and custom.
  • Size: filter file size from less than 128KB to 128KB ~1MB to 1MB ~ 512MB and above, or custom.

Step 3. Select the files you want to recover and click Recover xxx files. You don’t need to wait for the final scanning result if you find the files need to recover.

Select Deleted Excel Files Click Recover

Note: MyRecover displays the number of files to be recovered and their full size. You can use this to determine if you have selected all the files on this volume.

Step 4. Select a new folder to store all the recovered files on the drive. Then, confirm it and click Select Folder. It will automatically recover the selected files on this folder. Don’t save them to original location as it may cause data corruption or permanent data loss.

Select Folder


  • MyRecover allow users to recover files from flash drive, SD card, external disk, etc, up to 500MB. To recover unlimited files, try advanced editions.
  • You still can use it to recover files from formatted hard drive, fix RAW SD card without formatting, and other data loss scenarios.


✍ What is the difference between shortcut and original file?

A shortcut file is a pointer to a file on your hard drive that takes very little space. It can be a file, folder or program and it will not work if you delete the original file.

✍ Does deleting a shortcut delete the original file?

The answer is NOT. Deleting shortcut files does not affect the original files. But deleting the original files will make shortcut useless.

✍ Does formatting USB remove shortcut viruses?

Formatting a USB drive will remove everything including the virus on it. It just like a new drive after formatting. If there are any important data, please recover files from USB drive with one reliable data recovery software.

Ivy · Editor
Ivy is an editor of AOMEI Technology, she covers backup & restore,hard disk & partitions management and cloud files transfer and so on for AOMEI. She is an outgoing girl and enjoys helping people find solutions to their problems. She loves traveling, eating, reading and so on. She usually hangs out with friends at her leisure time.