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I have 8 GB pendrive of HP. Maybe I've deleted one file from this pendrive. But now, when I try to open any folder from my pendrive, I get:

Windows cannot find 'F:\RECYCLER\117f31f.exe'. Make sure you typed the name correctly, and then try again. To search for a file, click the start button, and then click search.

enter image description here

In case of files it works fine.

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migrated from serverfault.com Feb 14 '12 at 10:04

This question came from our site for professional system and network administrators.

    
Run a virus scan, this looks like malware. –  syneticon-dj Feb 14 '12 at 10:01

3 Answers 3

This is malware.

  1. Show hidden/system files and folders, and delete (if they exisit) the file autorun.inf and the folder RECYCLER. That is how it spreads, through a flash drive.
  2. Disable autorun on your computer. This is a useful security measure against future malware spread through the same method. Especially on WinXP, which had much looser autorun security controls than WinVista and Win7.
  3. Run malware scans. Also, check your startup programs using msconfig. Variants of this have put dodgy entries such as Taskmen.exe into the drivers folder and added them to the startup. There are plenty of discussion forums that are probably better suited for the kind of one-to-one help you really need - this.. virus.. has quite a few variants.

If you're lucky, your computer is still clean. One of the ways to check is to clean the flash drive, then take it out and reinsert it - see if those files reappear. If they don't, your computer is probably fine.

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As a side note, my school network a few years back caught this one - we had probably 100+ computers spreading it around so well it was almost impossible to completely eradicate. No one seemed to bother disabling autorun. –  Bob Feb 14 '12 at 10:52
    
Which is the reason Microsoft disables it by default in their supported operating systems. In other words if people would stop using Windows XP this stupid history of "auto-run" viral would end. –  Ramhound Feb 14 '12 at 13:31
    
@Except there's still a lot of people using XP, especially in environments likely to have large numbers of computers. Not a good combination. Though the cost and effort of upgrading is rather prohibitive. –  Bob Feb 14 '12 at 13:43

I can make these observations and speculations from your screenshot:

  1. Those are not folders. With the exception of Ultimate Jokes, they are all shortcuts which look like folders. The shortcuts are probably pointing to a virus or malware application (maybe F:\RECYCLER\117f31f.exe). Remember: Shortcuts have arrows on them; folders don't.

  2. The virus or malware application is probably already removed by your existing anti-virus software (it looks like you use Avira) which explains why you're getting this error message. If you got an anti-virus warning after plugging in your thumb drive and you chose to quarantine or remove the virus, this is the reason for the error message (which is a good thing, btw).

  3. The actual folders may be hidden. When you enable showing hidden folders and files (how?), you may find what looks like "pairs of folders" with the same exact name. But one of the "folders" in each pair will have a visible arrow (as you see in the screenshot above) and this is not a folder, it's a shortcut (as explained in point 1).

  4. The actual folders may be permanently deleted. If you do not find any real folders even after showing hidden folders and files and protected operating system files, this is the case. If so, I suggest you to use a recovery software such as Recuva to recover the deleted data as soon as possible. Do not write anything into the thumbdrive until you have recovered the data.

Clearly, your thumbdrive has been attacked by a malware in one of the computers you recently plugged it in to. Your own computer could be infected, so I suggest you run an anti-virus scan as soon as possible.

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Try these procedures that I found here. They helped me to fix my computer.

  1. (If you have XP) Open Command Prompt, by pressing Win+R, then type there “cmd” and click OK.

  2. (If you have Vista and 7) Log in your computer as Administrator, then open Command Prompt and type there attrib -h -r -s /s /d g:*.* (you should change the letter “g” to the letter that is the name of your hard drive, even external)

  3. After this step you should run the full scan with any powerful antivirus or anti-malware program, for example with the help of Malwaresbytes Anti-Malware, Spyware Doctor or A’squared free.

If this method doesn’t help you and the error message “Windows cannot find recycler” appears again, so you should try another method:

  1. Firstly you should install very powerful antivirus software, install it, update and scan your computer. (You can use the antivirus that you get used to use, but the sound advice will be to reinstall it, because the virus could have corrupt it).

  2. If the antivirus doesn't find anything, so you can use one more antivirus or try to use it in Safe Mode.

  3. When your antivirus will find a virus, so it is a high time to restore your system. For that you should insert Microsoft Windows setup disk, then open Command Prompt and type sfc/scannow.

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