Malware Made Your Folders and Files Disappear?

Something that's becoming more common with our clients is this new malware that makes all your files "hidden." Presumably, this is trying to trick you into thinking your hard drive is dying. Trust me it's quite annoying.

Seeing how this is gaining in popularity I thought I'd show a quick overview of how to get rid of this pest. Your mileage may vary, but this should at least get you going in the right direction:

alt Note: the following is based on Windows XP as your operating system, Windows 7 or Vista will be similar

  1. Don't panic! Most likely your files and folders are all still there. You just can't see them. You'll want to open your Control Panel and set all folders to "viewable." (See pic above)
  2. Run a malware scanner to eliminate the threat. Malwarebytes is our personal favorite here at HTTC (just grab the free version). You may have to restart your computer into "Safe Mode" (reboot and press F8) and/or log in as a different user on your machine. An administrator account is preferable.
  3. Scan and reboot as instructed by your scanning software. Note: you must run a Malware scanner, and Antivirus tool will not help you here.
  4. Once the threat has been deleted or quarantined, download the "Unhide" tool and run it as an administrator. This will reset all the attributes on your hard drive and make all the previously hidden files visible again. It will take a long time, depending on how large and full your drive is. Expect it to take a couple hours just in case. After it's done, it will ask that you reboot. Do so.
  5. If you notice that your Start Menu is still emtpy and missing all your shortcuts after unhiding and rebooting, they have most likely been moved to another folder. Typically they go somewhere in this area: C:Documents and SettingsAll UsersApplication DataTEMP Just find the folders under the "Programs" folder in this temp folder and  copy them back to your user folder (ie: C:Documents and SettingsYourUserNameStart MenuPrograms)

Any questions about the above steps? Leave and comment and we'll try and help.

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