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I'm running Windows 7.

On the desktop I have a folder called Work, in it are about a dozen folders with a bunch of files + 2 Excel spreadsheets.

This morning when I looked into it, I could see only half of those, and even those were shortcuts to another folder on my desktop that doesn't and never existed. I set so I can view the hidden files, and I saw the remaining folders were set as hidden, made them visible, and can access them just fine.

The problem is the other half of the folders are still shown as shortcuts, and no way I can access them. Any ideas?

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Any idea what might be the cause? –  Mixxiphoid Jun 6 '12 at 13:25
    
Nope, that's why I'm asking. Yesterday was a normal office day, just editing some files, that's it. This morning - boom! –  pHelics Jun 6 '12 at 13:30
    
It's malware. I've seen this kind of infection several times. It usually spreads via pen drives using the same trick. –  Dennis Jun 6 '12 at 13:46
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2 Answers 2

I would immediately check for malware. It sounds very similar to a recent sting of viruses and rootkits going around lately. It hides most of your files and I've even seen them delete files.

As for the missing files, if they are not there, you may consider doing a search for them from windows search (winkey + s).

If you still cannot check them you may want to restore from backup.

If you do not have a backup(I recommend you start keeping one :) ) there is software to undelete deleted documents; my favorite is Pandora Recovery.

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This might sound trivial, but have you rebooted? Try turning it completely off and restart. Also, check the recycle bin to see the folders are there.

Then you should probably run Malware Bytes or SpyBot S&D to make sure there isn't anything else (malware/spyware/adware) messing with your system. A free online scan at eSet just to make sure its all gone might be a good idea.

Once you know the system is clean, open an elevated command prompt and run SFC /SCANNOW to run the System File Check. When it is done, reboot.

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