USB Drive not Showing Files and Folders – Try 5 Methods to Solve It

Sometimes when you connect the USB drive to Windows 10 computer, you can see the USB drive in File Explorer, but you cannot see any files it stores. Why is the USB Drive visible but the content is not? What caused the issue that your USB drive not showing files and folders?

USB Drive Now Showing Files

USB Drive Not Showing Files and Folders – Try 5 Methods to Solve It

In fact, there are many possible reasons behind this issue, for example, the hidden files, accidental file deletion, wrong file system, virus invasion, etc. This post will learn 5 methods to solve the “USB files not showing but space used” issue.

1] USB Drive not Showing Files and Folders – Try These 5 Methods

Unhide files in the USB drive

If the files in your USB drive are hidden, you can only see the USB drive, but the file won’t appear. Below are 2 ways to unhide/show the files when your USB drive not showing files and folders. Connect your USB drive to a Windows computer and do as follows.

Show hidden files

Step 1. Right-click the Start button at the lower-left corner, then choose Control Panel.

Step 2. Click Appearance and Personalization -> Under File Explorer Options, click Show hidden files and folders (see the following image).

Unhide files folders control panel

Step 3. Check Show hidden files, folders, and drives; afterward, uncheck Hide protected operating system files (Recommended), at last, click OK.

Use CMD to unhide the files.

Press Windows + X keys to open the Power Users menu, then click Command Prompt (Admin) → Type diskpart, press Enter, and type this command:

attrib -h -r -s /s /d G:\*.*

(Note: G represents the drive letter of your USB drive, you should replace the drive letter with the correct drive letter in the command.)

Unhide Files using Command Prompt

At last, type Exit and press Enter.

If the USB drive files still do not show, the files are likely to have got lost. How can we recover lost files from the USB drive? Please read on to find the answers.

2] When virus or malware attack your USB drive

Due to virus infection, the folders and files in your USB drive are possibly become hidden. The hidden tick is grayed out in the Properties of the folder, so you won’t be able to unhide the folder and see it.

We would like to recommend using third-party software, such as MiniTool Power Data Recovery, to fix the “USB drive not showing files and folders” problem.

MiniTool Power Data Recovery offers a smooth and intuitive interface to help you recover the hidden files from your USB drive after virus invasion. You could also use this full-featured data recovery software to recover files from external hard drives, SD cards, or other storage devices. You can download MiniTool Power Data Recovery Trial Edition on Windows 7/8/10 and then follow the tutorial step by step to recover lost data from the USB drive.

Step 1: Launch MiniTool Power Data Recovery, and you will see 4 data recovery modules, including This PC, Removable Disk Drive, Hard Disk Drive, and CD/DVD Drive. To recover hidden files in the USB drive, you should click the second one – Removable Disk Drive.

Mini Tools Software Drive List

Step 2: Select the USB drive, and then click the orange Scan button to begin the data scan process. (Before scanning the whole device, you can Settings feature to specify the file systems and file types you need. This will help you save the time of waiting.)

Select Removable Devices Minitools

Step 3: Preview the files in the scanning results, select all files that you need, click Save to choose a proper place to store them, at last, click the OK button. Pay attention, never store the selected files to the USB drive you are using, or the original data could be overwritten.

Recover Deleted Files USB

3] When USB drive files are deleted

If some files and folders are accidentally deleted by you or deleted due to virus/malware, you can only see your USB drive but cannot see the files stored on it. In this case, you can also use MiniTool Power Data Recovery to get around the issue that the USB drive not showing data on the PC.

4] When the USB drive has a wrong/damaged file system

The file system corruption is very likely to cause this “USB files not showing but space used” issue to occur. In computing, a file system is a data structure that an operating system uses to keep track of files on a disk/partition. Simply put, the type of file system determines how data are organized and stored on the disk.

When the file system is damaged or shows as RAW, you will see error reports and cannot access the files. In case that your USB hard drive shows as RAW, you will receive two common errors like

  • You need to format the disk before you can use it, OR The disk is not formatted. (This message often appears on Windows computers. Note: DO NOT format your USB drive; otherwise, all the lost data will get overwritten, and you can never recover them by any means. )
  • The volume does not contain a recognized file system (see picture below).

Volume is not recognized

If the Windows system cannot successfully recognize your USB drive’s file system, it won’t show the files/folders in the device. In other words, if your USB drive is formatted with the ext2/3/4 file system, you can neither see it in File Explorer nor access the data in the device.

In this case, how can you solve the issue of the USB drive not showing files in Windows 10? This method is proven to be feasible – first, recover lost data from the USB drive, when that is done, format the USB drive.

Recover all lost data from the USB drive

  • Launch MiniTool Power Data Recovery program on Windows computer, and click ”Removable Disk Drive” mode.
  • Scan your USB drive with the ext2/3/4 file system.
  • Save all the needed files to a new, safe folder (Important – do not save them to your USB drive).

Format the USB drive to NTFS/FAT32.

You can use free USB format tools to do this. If you do not know which tool to choose, find more in this related post: How to Format USB Drive to FAT32. We will take MiniTool Partition Wizard, for example.

  • Download MiniTool Partition Wizard free edition on Windows, install the program, and launch it.
  • Select the USB drive in the software, then click the Format Partition feature on the left side.
  • Specify a partition label, file system, then click the OK button (see picture below); at last, click Apply to perform all changes.

Format USB Drives

5] When the USB drive might be damaged

A physically damaged USB drive is usually inaccessible. But the firmware is functional, the USB drive and the storage space condition will get displayed on your computer. You can copy some files into this USB drive and find them when you open your drive. However, the files/folders won’t be available when you unplug your drive and plug it back in again later.

To avoid USB Drive data loss, you can take these tips. It’s always a good habit to backup critical files to another drive. Ensure that you eject the USB drive from your computer safe each time, using the “Safely Remove” or “Eject” option. When you realize some data are lost from your USB drive, stop storing any new data on that drive immediately.

Ashish Mohta
A die-hard fan of Windows, PC Gaming, and Xbox. He is a seasoned content writer with over 15 years of experience in the industry. He is a specialist in writing about Windows, software reviews, troubleshooting Windows, and automation.


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