We usually use USB Flash Drives to exchange data between friends and family. While doing this, we generally overlook safety precautions and plug-in our USB flash drive loaded with important data on other’s PC without giving a second thought. In certain cases, if the other computer is infected with viruses and malware, there are chances that the virus will be injected into your pen-drive. This might not only infect every other PC you connect later with that USB drive but also may lead to deletion/corruption of important files.
If this happens to you too, then you can use any of the methods from below to keep your PC safe from the infected flash drive.
Method 1: Disable the auto run feature on Windows
In Microsoft Windows, auto run feature is very harmful due to the fact that it opens the doors for viruses which are capable of spreading infection by running automatically. You need to disable this feature from the Group Policy Editor.
Steps to disable the auto run feature in Windows:
- Press WIN + R to open run window.
- Type gpedit.msc and press enter.
- Using the left pane navigate to Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Autoplay Policies.
- Enable the turn-off autoplay setting from the right pane.
Now your PC will not autoplay any flash drive even it was infected with viruses and your will not be infected with any viruses.
Method 2: Use Anti-virus programs
If you connect any virus infected USB flash drive to your PC, Windows defender will notify you about threats from the flash drive and quarantined them until you remove them using the Windows Defender.
Windows defender should be turned on and updated every time so your PC will be protected from viruses.
- Hit Windows key and type “Windows Defender”.
- Launch it and turn it on from there.
- Switch to “Update” tab and click on “Update Definitions”.
- It will automatically search and install the update.
Install an antivirus program on your PC and whenever you connect your flash drive to the PC, first scan it with the antivirus program then move the files from the flash drive to the PC.
Tip: Keep your antivirus up to date so it should detect the new viruses.
Want more protection? You can look for a good paid Anti-Virus program that can provide you a real-time security protection along with other useful features. One such example is the BitDefender Total Security which works flawlessly on my machine. You can click here to check our review for the same.
Method 3: Remove Shortcut Virus
Shortcut viruses are one of the most common infections found in Windows computers. When the USB flash-drive is inserted, the shortcut virus converts all your files into shortcuts, leading to corruption of data. The data is almost unreadable after the virus follows up with its action.
In such cases, you can use two easy methods to recover your data.
- Firstly, download the Shortcut Virus Remover tool. It is a small-sized direct utility which on opening will ask you for the location from where you want to remove the shortcut virus. You can select the USB flash drive or any other location that you wish. Once clicked on scan, the tool will give you information of all the shortcuts which can be rectified in a single tap.
- In addition to the above method, you can connect the USB flash drive to your Android smartphone via OTG. On opening the drive in file manager, you’ll see the original files along with their shortcut counterparts. Simply delete all the files with .Ink extension. Don’t forget to check nested folders for shortcut files. Once you’re done, you can safely use the pen-drive back in your PC without formatting it or losing the data.