How To Remove a Virus From a USB Drive

How To Remove Virus From USB Drive

Written by   (author of Obvious Conclusions)

In this article, we will look at how to remove a virus from a USB Drive.  The process of removing a virus from a pen drive can be slightly different because your computer sees this as an external drive and thus it cannot remove the infection.  We will show you how to get this pesky virus off of your thumb drive.

First off, let me just say I absolutely love my USB thumb drive and have it with me everywhere.  As someone who travels and visits cybercafes while on the move, a thumb drive with lots of space is essential.  Did you know that you can now get a 32GB thumb drive for less than $80?  That’s pretty amazing.

However, in traveling a lot, and putting your pen drive in many different computers, the risk of your USB drive becoming infected with a virus increases dramatically.  You simply cannot ensure that the other systems that you are using maintain strict virus control policies.

Thus, when I put my USB drive in my home computer last week, I got the message that you see below:

delete virus from thumb drive

What a great way to start the day…a virus on my pen drive. I keep a lot of valuable data on my pen drive so I was not exactly enthused that my USB drive was reporting to me that I had a virus. Also, I was worried that this pen drive virus would then pass to my system.

However, I use what has been a great virus protection program called AVG Anti-Virus and I thought this would do the trick and get rid of the virus on my USB drive. However, not so fast. When I tried to remove the virus, AVG reported that it couldn’t because the drive was a removable drive. I received the following message:

virus on USB drive

You can see that the message says that it cannot remove the thumb drive virus from a non-local drive. Well, this is not good.

I tried to go to the USB drive itself and simply remove the file, but the system wouldn’t let me. It reported to me that the there was an Error Deleting File or Folder as you see in the graphic below:

error deleting file or folder virus error

I found a file called Flash_Disinfector.exe that seemed like it might do the trick. The function of this file is one thing: It removes viruses from thumb drives and its extremely simple. When you run the program, it gives you the following message:

running flash disinfector to remove pen drive virus

You simply click on “ok” and voila!, you are done and the virus is removed from you flash drive.

However, this may not work in all instances. You see, if you have a report that the file autorun.inf is the culprit of the thumb drive virus, the flash disinfector may or may not do the job. If you still encounter a problem, if your pen drive still reports a virus, then the autorun.inf file is probably in use and has been structured so that it cannot be deleted.

This is in fact the nature of many computer viruses…they replicate themselves within other files and run automatically so that you cannot delete them because they are active files and may have a hidden and read only attribute set on them.

Thus, it is a best practice to download the necessary utilities and then run your computer in safe mode by pressing F8 before Windows starts and then choosing to run your computer in safe mode. After you are in safe mode, you can then run the utilities that ideally will eliminate the virus.

Fortunately for me, I was able to delete the virus associated with the autorun.inf file by going into safe mode and then running the flash disinfector. It is important to remember to prevent the autorun of the file by holding down the shift key when putting the USB thumb drive in–this will prevent the autorun from taking affect and the virus launching itself.

I have heard of cases where the flash disinfector did not eliminate the virus on the USB drive. If this is the case for you, you need to do a comprehensive cleaning of your system which, unfortunately, takes some time.

To do a comprehensive cleaning of your system to rid your computer and USB drive of viruses and malware, visit this page. It will walk your through step by step the procedures that you need to implement to remove viruses from your USB drive and your computer.

How To Remove Virus From USB Drive: Conclusion

It is no great pleasure to have a virus on your thumb drive and they can often be difficult to remove. Fortunately, there are tools that assist us in cleaning our systems. Some work…and others do not. In fact, you need to be very careful because some software that claims to clean your computer of viruses actually serves to infect your computer even more. And then, they try to sell you a product that will clean your system which their software has just infected.

Moral of the story: be careful and try to determine if a site that provides suggestions to clear a virus off of your pen drive is legitimate or a farce.

The first step is to always consult the website of your anti-virus application as they usually have a solution to your problem.

In the case of removing viruses from your USB drive, this is not always the case. For me, as I mentioned, I had to run the Flash_Disinfector.exe in safe mode to get rid of the virus on my pen drive.

I hope the same holds true for you. But if not, consult this page at MajorGeeks.com which provides comprehensive resources and help for removing a virus from a USB drive!

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Richard Cummings

Richard Cummings is writer, traveler, and web content developer. He creates fun, informative how to articles for this site and exercises his creative writing prerogative at ARichIdea.com.

Get your copy of his latest book entitled Obvious Conclusions, stories of a Midwestern emigrant influenced and corrupted by many years living in San Francisco and abroad. It just received its first outstanding review "...reminiscent of David Sedaris or Augusten Burroughs" on Amazon UK.
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