Virus Infected USB Flash Drive
Virus Infected USB Flash Drive

Dealing with a virus-infected USB flash drive can be challenging, especially when it contains important files. Viruses can hide or even delete your files, making them seem lost. However, with the right approach, it is often possible to recover these files and remove the virus from the USB drive. This article will guide you through the process of recovering virus-infected files from a USB drive and safely removing the virus.

Step 1: Use an Antivirus Program

Scanning the USB Drive

  • Connect the USB Drive: Plug the USB flash drive into your computer.
  • Run Antivirus Software: Use a reliable antivirus program to scan the USB drive. This will help detect and remove any virus or malware present on the drive.

Step 2: Recover Hidden or Deleted Files

Viruses often hide or delete files. Use the following methods to try and recover them:

Using File Recovery Software

  • Choose a File Recovery Tool: Select a reputable data recovery software like Recuva, EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard, or Stellar Data Recovery.
  • Scan the USB Drive: Perform a scan with the software to find recoverable files.
  • Preview and Recover Files: Preview the found files and recover them to a safe location on your computer.

Unhide Files Using Command Prompt

  • Open Command Prompt: Press Windows Key + R, type cmd, and hit Enter.
  • Use the Attrib Command: Type attrib -h -r -s /s /d G:\*.* (replace G: with the drive letter of your USB) and press Enter. This command attempts to unhide files hidden by the virus.

Step 3: Formatting the USB Drive

After recovering your files, it’s often advisable to format the USB drive to completely remove the virus:

  • Backup Recovered Files: Ensure all important files are backed up from the USB drive.
  • Format the USB Drive: Right-click on the USB drive in ‘This PC’ or ‘My Computer’ and select ‘Format.’ Choose ‘Quick Format’ and start the process.

Preventive Measures

To prevent future infections, follow these tips:

  • Regularly Update Antivirus Software: Keep your antivirus program updated to protect against the latest threats.
  • Be Cautious with Unknown USB Drives: Avoid using USB drives from unknown or unreliable sources.
  • Keep a Backup: Regularly back up important files to another location.

FAQs About Recovering Files from Virus-Infected USB Drives

  1. Can all files be recovered from a virus-infected USB drive?
    • Recovery depends on the extent of the damage. Some files may be irrecoverable if they are severely corrupted.
  2. Is it safe to open files immediately after recovery?
    • Scan recovered files with antivirus software before opening them to ensure they are not infected.
  3. How long does the recovery process take?
    • The time varies depending on the size of the USB drive and the number of files. It could take from a few minutes to several hours.
  4. Can formatting the USB drive remove all types of viruses?
    • Formatting typically removes viruses but may not eliminate advanced malware that infects the drive’s firmware.
  5. Should I use the USB drive immediately after formatting?
    • It’s generally safe to use the drive after formatting, but ensure your computer’s antivirus is active and updated.


Recovering files from a virus-infected USB flash drive and removing the virus can be a meticulous process, but it’s often possible with the right tools and steps. Regularly backing up your data and maintaining robust antivirus protection are key practices to safeguard your data against future infections.

Eric Chan

Hi! I’m Eric and I work on the knowledge base at  You can see some of my writings about technology, cellphone repair, and computer repair here.

When I’m not writing about tech I’m playing with my dog or hanging out with my girlfriend.

Shoot me a message at if you want to see a topic discussed or have a correction on something I’ve written.

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