This particular Windows issue brings back memories. A music studio was having major problems as a result of virus on their systems. When I got the call, I expected it to be a GIGO (Get In Get Out) job but boy was I wrong. The problem was that once you connect an external storage to their PCs, the virus would dump the entire content of the external storage to a hidden location on the PC then corrupt the files in the external storage. In a business like that, you deal with a lot of storage devices so you can imagine how much dumping must have been going on. Those were the longest 2 days of my device repair career but I learnt a great deal. By the way, the virus I encountered that day was the “Recycler virus”.
What should be the first line of action in such a situation?
The first thing you want to do is to get the virus out before you consider deleting the dumped files. In some cases, the virus replicates existing files (making your deleting efforts a complete waste of time) so you see why removing the virus should be your first goal.
Can I just scan the PC with the antivirus on it?
If the present antivirus (virus definition database) on the PC was sufficient then things wont have gotten this bad. If you must use the antivirus on the PC then ensure to update it to the latest version (including the virus definition) before scanning. Its also important you use a strong antivirus, not one of those jokes out there.
I seem not to be able to uninstall some stubborn / corrupted programs, what can I do?
This is quite normal in a virus crisis. It even gets as bad as malware disabling the installed antivirus. To resolve this, follow the guide @ https://journal.hovatek.com/how-to-uninstall-stubborn-or-corrupted-programs-on-a-windows-pc/
How do I get rid of the virus?
You need to install a strong and updated antivirus on the PC. Personally, I use Norton (http://us.norton.com/) but there are other good options out there like Kaspersky, Bitdefender etc. After installing and updating the antivirus, you should run a full scan.
How do I import an antivirus installer into such a PC if it keeps corrupting all files in the external storage, including the antivirus installer?
In a case like this, what you do is to zip the antivirus installer and other files you wish to import to the PC before copying them to the external storage device. This way, its harder for the virus to corrupt them. To zip a file:
- Right-click the file
- Highlight Send to
- Click Compressed (zipped) folder
How do I locate and delete the dumped / duplicate folders and files?
The duplicate / dumped files and folders might be hidden so you need to first unhide all hidden items. To do this:
On Windows 7 PCs
- Open any folder
- Tap the Alt key
- Click on Tools at the top
- Select Folder options
- Navigate to the View tab
- Tick Show hidden files and folders
- Click Apply then Ok
On Windows 8 & above PCs
- Open any folder
- Click View at the top
- Tick Hidden items at the top
Now that you can view hidden items, you could either:
- Manually locate large files / folders by opening C: then right-clicking each folder one at a time and selecting Properties to view the size
- Use a tool like the Hard Disk manager in Advanced System Care PRO (http://www.iobit.com/en/advancedsystemcarefree.php) to sort folders by size.
How do I recover the corrupted / missing files on the external storage device?
Use the command prompt (Recycler) method @ https://journal.hovatek.com/how-to-recover-corrupted-files-lost-files-from-corrupt-or-accidentally-formatted-usb-devices/
The virus is still very much active on the PC despite the full system scan by the antivirus, what do I do?
In such a case, use a more advanced anti-malware tool.
For a thorough scan, you could use the Norton Power Eraser Tool as described below:
1. Download Norton Power Eraser Tool
2. Launch the tool (ensure the PC has an internet connection)
3. Click Accept
4. Wait while the tool checks to be sure you’re running the latest version
5. Click on Unwanted Application Scan or Advanced Options
6. A list of threats will appear (if there are), click Fix Now
7. Wait while the program creates a System Restore point
8. Norton Power Eraser should begin removing the threats
9. Once its done, a list of items to be removed will appear, click Restart
10. You may re-run the tool after system restart to be sure the PC is clean
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