USB Problem! Unable to open folders.

My USB appears to have picked up a virus where the names of the folders have been changed and now can not be recognised when trying to open them. The error message reads "The filename, directory name, or volume label syntax is incorrect" and a folder that what would usually be my name now appears as "thk c" and the USB name itself now appears as "STOSE j O". I don't know what this virus/corruption is or how to fix it. Can anyone help?!

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This is usually not a big issue. Why?

Because we only lose what we don't backup, no one today keeps their files cut down to one last copy. Format the drive and copy from your backups.

There is likely more to this story like "I don't backup" or the name of the virus or ransomware but without more details, the files are likely gone except for backup copies.

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It's a bit more complicated.

You see, I'm doing this ICT course and the computers we use have a program (HDGuard9) that wipes the computers memory after a restart or shutdown. So anything downloaded, or in this case, any documents saved are gone after the computer is shut down. So the only copy I had was on the thumb drive. There has to be a way to fix the problem on the USB, right?

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I'd need the name of the virus or trojan or ransomware

To have a chance at recovery. If you feel it's worth recovery, ask how much.

But with cloud storage like google drive, dropbox and even a second USB stick it's a shame to see folk needlessly run around with all their stuff on a single stick.

That's too unreliable as you know that you can yank the drive and sometimes the entire stick goes corrupt.

In parting we NEVER repair the drive directly. We clone the drive and attempt repairs on the clones. But without a virus name, you don't know where to start and neither do I except to wipe and pull from my backups.

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