[Answered] How to Fix Folders Turned into Shortcuts?

Learn how to fix folders turned into shortcuts after figuring out the potential reasons in this article. Besides, there’re relevant shortcuts and data loss prevention tips.


By Penny / Updated on April 2, 2024

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Why did my files & folders turned into shortcuts?


I have a hard drive of 500GB. Once I used a pen drive, the folders in this external hard drive turned into shortcuts. And they’re still opening. Whenever I try to remove/attach any external hard disk, it displays a message: PLEASE ENTER THE DRIVE (it shows the execution of any autorun.exe file). In comparison, the folders in other systems’ hard drives have not changed into shortcuts. I’ve partitioned off my external hard drive into two parts of 250GB each. I don’t want to lose any data. So why did my files and folders turned into shortcuts? And how to convert shortcut folders to original folders? Thanks.

- A user from CCM.net

Have your folders saved on your internal and external hard drives or USB drives turned into shortcuts? Are you wondering what the reason behind folders turned into shortcuts is?


Shortcut virus is the root cause of this problem. Combined with a worm and a Trojan horse, the shortcut virus is a malicious program that can be loaded on a computer without the user’s permission. These infections can alter the Windows settings to carry out destructive activities.

The shortcut virus can hide all the original files and folders of your PC and replace them with fake shortcuts that are exactly identical to the original ones. Furthermore, it mainly targets external HDDs, USBs, SD cards, etc.

Part 1. How do I change a folder from shortcut to normal?

What’s worse, there would be more problematic folders if you unwittingly activate your infected shortcuts or malicious software.

“So how do I change a folder from shortcut to normal?” Please don’t be frustrated and there’re three feasible fixes for your reference.

Fix 1. Run a Full Scan to clear shortcut viruses

As stated earlier, the shortcut virus is responsible for folders turned into shortcuts. To remove ransomware viruses and protect your PC, you can make good use of Window’s in-built features, Windows Settings.

Because Windows Settings constantly scans for malware, viruses, and security risks. In addition to this real-time protection, updates are automatically downloaded to keep your device safe and secure from threats. 

This feature also can prevent files from being automatically deleted from desktops.

Step 1. Press “Win + I” to open Windows Settings and go to Update > Security > Windows Security > Virus & threat protection.


Step 2. Click the “Scan options” button.


Step 3. Select “Full scan” and click “Scan now” to begin scanning.


Fix 2. Show hidden files, folders, and drives via File Explorer

The second way is to use File Explorer to show hidden files, folders, and drives because shortcut viruses can make your original folders invisible to you.

If your Windows 10/11 shows hidden files are not working, you can use the attrib/dir command to show hidden files.

Step 1. Connect the portable device to your Windows. Then press “Win + E” to open File Explorer > click View > Options.


Step 2. In the Folder Options interface, click View > Show hidden files, folders, and drivers > Apply > OK to save these changes.


Fix 3. Use CMD to recover folders after virus attacks

How to convert shortcut folder to original folder? The powerful CMD is another useful way. Let’s show how it works.

Step 1. Create a new Notepad document and copy the following command lines in the Notepad. Then save these modifications.


Step 2. Close the Notepad document and rename this file as UPAN.cmd (.cmd is the file extension). Then copy the file to the device where your folders become shortcuts.


Step 3. Double-click the .cmd file and run it. After the process, check whether you can access your original folders and their data or not.

Part 2. How to recover deleted/lost folder shortcuts?

If you’ve removed shortcuts from desktops, you may need to recover deleted or missing folder shortcuts. Then you can access your desired files saved in these folder shortcuts.

Since few users take preventative measures like file backups, you’d better use powerful Windows data recovery software to retrieve them.

Released by AOMEI Tech, powerful MyRecover aims to help all users recover deleted & missing folders from hard drives within three steps. Besides, its advanced scanning technology (Quick Scan & Deep Scan) will automatically scan and show all recoverable folders on your selected drive.   

Other key features of MyRecover:
All-inclusive: Apply to a variety of data loss scenarios such as deletion, disk formatting, system crashes, or virus attacks.
High-efficiency: Recover 200+ types of files such as Microsoft Word, Excel, PPT, and WPS files, folders, compressed files, photos, audio, songs, videos, and websites from HDDs, USB sticks, SD cards, etc.   
Advanced scanning method: MyRecover runs Quick Scan & Deep Scan automatically to search all the recoverable files. Specify the filename, saved path, date, or size to filter your needed files.
Convenience: Retain the original filename, path, and format for the deleted files.   
Excellent compatibility: Support NTFS, FAT32, exFAT, and ReFS file systems.

Don’t hesitate to download MyRecover on your Windows 11, 10, 8, 7, or Server PC to retrieve them!

Download Software Windows 11/10/8/7/Server
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Step 1. Install and launch MyRecover. Hover the mouse over the drive saved deleted files before, and click Scan.


Step 2. Filter your needed folder according to Document Type, Name, Date, or Path.

  • Name: Type the filenames of your desired files to narrow the search area.
  • Date modified: Set the date (today, yesterday, last 7/30 days, and so on).
  • Size: Filter the file size (<128KB, 128KB~1MB, 1MB~ 512MB, etc).


Step 3. Go to the Deleted Files/Recycle Bin/Other Missing Files folder and select your wanted folders. Then click “Recover x files” to start the data recovery process.


After recovery, please remember to store your retrieved folders in another drive instead of the original hard drive.
MyRecover can recover your 500MB of files for free. If you desire to recover a large number of deleted/lost files & folders from local drives, upgrading MyRecover to the Professional or Technician edition is a more cost-effective choice. 

Wrapping up

How to fix folders turned into shortcuts? How to recover deleted folder shortcuts? You can get the corresponding methods from the above two parts. Moreover, please consider using this free Windows backup software, AOMEI Backupper to help you prevent data loss at the source.

Penny · Editor
Penny works as an editor at AOMEI Technology, while she's a tester and editor for AOMEI Data Recovery Tools. She enjoys helping users with data recovery issues on Windows and iPhones using simple and practical solutions. Outside of work, she has a strong affection for pets, particularly giant pandas.