Solved: Hard Drive Not Showing Files Though They Still Exist

Workable Solutions Step-by-step Troubleshooting
1. Reconnect Hard Drive Reconnect the internal or external hard drive on your computer...Full steps
2. Recover Files or Show Hidden Files Run Deep Data Recovery and choose the exact external drive where you lost data...Full steps
3. Fix Internal/External HDD Type cmd in the Windows search box, right-click on "Command Prompt" and choose...Full steps

On this page, we'll take "hard drive not showing files though they still exist" as an example to show you how to fix such a problem and restore all missing files from your internal or external hard drive with ease.

hard drive, external hard drive not showing files

Make sure that you go through the whole guide, and you'll get all your files back and make the drive working normally again.

Why Are My Files Not Showing Up in Internal/External Hard Drive

Quite a lot of Windows users reported that their local hard drive, external HDD, USB flash drive, pen drive, or memory card was showing up in Windows Explorer, but they couldn't see the files and folders when they opened the device.

So why can't I see files and folders saved to my external HDD in Windows 11/10/8/7? Check out the causes at first.

Causes of Files Not Showing in External Hard Drive Though They Still Exist Issue

"Hard drive not showing files though they still exist" error frequently occurs that many factors may cause your storage drive contents to disappear without being noticed, such as:

So how do I find missing files on my hard drive? Follow through the below 3 stages with detailed steps. You will find all existing or missing files from your internal or external hard drives on your own.

How to Fix Hard Drive Not Showing Files Though They Still Exist

It doesn't matter if you can't identify the specific reason that causes your drive not to show files. Finding a reliable way to show up or find the existing files should be your first concern.

To fix the error "data not showing in hard drive" or "files not showing in external hard drive" and bring back all your files immediately, we divided the whole process into three stages, as shown below:

As shown below, the whole procedure also works to fix files/data not showing in USB flash drive, SD memory card, etc., devices. Let's start finding and restoring all missing files from your hard drive or external hard drives now.

#Stage 1. Reconnect (Internal/External) Hard Drive to Make Files Show Up

Applies to: Fix internal/External hard drive files not showing up due to unstable power supply. 

Sometimes, when your internal or external hard drive connection is loosened, the device will not be able to show up the saved files on your computer. So the best way out is to reconnect the drive and make files show up again.

Step 1. Reconnect the internal or external hard drive on your computer.

To Reconnect Hard Drive:

To Reconnect External Hard Drive:

Step 2. Check if files show up on the hard drive.

Open the Windows File Explorer, and check to open your hard drive or external hard drive and see if files show up.

If not, move to Stage 2 and follow the tutorial steps to bring all your hard drive files back with ease.

#Stage 2. Recover (Not Showing) Files or Make Files Showing Up in Hard Drive

Applies to: Restore missing, hidden, not showing files due to device file system error, file hidden, or data removed by viruses.

As stated above, many factors may cause your hard drive files missing. For example, the virus infection that deletes or hides your files from showing up. To recover the files, here you have 4 methods to try:

For the easiest solution, Qiling hard drive recovery software can give you the best solution.

Method 1. Recover Missing or Not Showing Files with File Recovery Software

Qiling file recovery software - Data Recovery Wizard can help you recover files and folders that can't be seen on an internal or external hard drive in Windows 11/10/8/7. It's an all-in-one solution to recover hidden, not showing up, or missing files.

Show Hidden Files with Qiling

  • Recover and show lost or deleted files, documents, photos, audio, music, emails effectively.
  • Recover files from formatted hard drive, emptied recycle bin, memory card, flash drive, digital camera, and camcorders
  • Support over 1000 types of files like DOC/DOCX, XLS/XLSX, PPT/PPTX, AIF/AIFF, M4A, MP3, JPG/JPEG, AVI, MP4, and more.

Follow to retrieve all existing or lost files that are hidden, removed, or inaccessible on your hard drive with ease now:

Step 1. Select file types

Launch Deep Data Recovery. Select file types and click "Next" to start.

Select file types that you want to recover

Step 2. Use a correct USB cable to connect your external hard drive to your computer. Run Deep Data Recovery and you will see your external disk under External drives. This software supports all the popular external disk brands, including WD, Seagate, Toshiba, LaCie, SanDisk, Samsung, etc. 

Select the external hard drive and then click the "Scan" button. 

select your seagate external hard drive and click scan

Step 3. As soon as the scan process starts, the software will find more and more lost and deleted data and display the data in the scan results. The recovered data will be nicely organized. You can quickly find the target files/folders by file type or search in the search box with exact file name. 

scan the lost data on the seagate external hard drive

Step 4. You can preview the files found by Deep Data Recovery's scanning algorithms. Then, select files and click "Recover". To avoid data overwriting, we recommend that you save the recovered data to a different drive than the original Seagate drive.

Don't save the recovered files to your original drive. Then move to Stage 3 to repair your drive, making it viable and secure for saving files again.

You can also check this video tutorial to see how to show your external hard drive files.

Method 2. Show Hidden Files in Hard Drive or External Hard Drive

To protect some confidential files, people tend to hide them from showing up on a storage device. If you did so or accidentally hide them in your drive, you would encounter the hard drive not showing files though they still exist issue.

So the best way out is to unhide them. Here are the steps to show hidden files on your hard drive or external hard drive:

Step 1. Double-click "This PC" to open File Explorer.

Step 2. Locate and double-click to open your hard drive or external hard drive.

Step 3. Go to the "View" Tab. In the Show/hide section, check "Hidden items".

Fix hard drive not showing up files -  show hidden files

After this, you will be able to check the hidden or missing files in your hard drive again.

Also Read: Show Hidden Files on USB and Memory Card.

Method 3. Retrieve Files that Were Hidden/Deletes by Virus Using CMD

According to some users, sometimes viruses or malware may cause a "file loss" issue on your hard drive. For example, a shortcut virus would hide the original data, creating a shortcut of the files displaying on your drive.

To restore the files that are hidden by virus or malware, run the CMD command lines are shown below:

Step 1. Run antivirus software to clear viruses, malware on your hard drive and PC.

Step 2. Connect the external hard drive to your PC if files are not showing on it.

Step 3. Type cmd in Windows Search box, right-click Command Prompt, select "Run as Administrator".

Step 4. Type the following command lines and hit enter each time:

Show hidden files from virus

Step 5. Type exit when the process completes.

To recover hidden files from hard drive using CMD:

Step 1. Press Windows + S keys, type cmd in Windows Search box.

Step 2.  Right-click Command Prompt, select "Run as Administrator".

Step 3. Type the command line attrib -h -r -s  G:\*.* /s /d and hit Enter. 

The command will show all hidden files on your device. You can open the device to check them now.

Step 4. Type exit to close the command prompt.

Method 4. Find Hidden Files on Hard Drive Using CMD Alternative

Manual execution of the command line is suitable for computer professionals, since incorrect commands can do more harm than good. Therefore, for security and usability, we strongly recommend you try an automatic command line alternative - Qiling CleanGenius. It is a practical tool that enables you to check and fix file system errors, enable/disable write protection and update your system with one-click instead of typing intricate command lines.

Follow the simple steps below to show hidden files with this 1-click-fix software. 

Step 1. DOWNLOAD Qiling CleanGenius for Free.

Step 2. Start Qiling CleanGenius, choose "Optimization" on the left panel. Next, click "File Showing" on the right panel. 

Step 3. Select the hard drive and click "Execute".

Step 4. After the operation completes, click the here link to check the hidden files. 

After this, you can reconnect your device to the computer and check if the hidden files show up. 

Note that this is not the end. You still have one last move to go, which is to fix the device error, making your hard drive available for saving data again. Check out how to fix your hard drive device error in Stage 3.

#Stage 3. Fix Device Error and Format to Reset Hard Drive

Applies to: Fix file system error that causes files inaccessible on a hard drive or external hard drive, and reset the device to usable again. 

If you can't see files or folders on the external hard drive or USB pen drive is not showing data files due to file system errors or hard drive corruption, you can try the following two tips to make your drive showing up files and work normally again:

#1. Using Command Prompt to Fix Internal Problems on Hard Drive

Running chkdsk can hopefully fix the hard drive errors, however, it can also result in total data loss. So, perform data recovery in advance, and then continue with the CMD method.

Step 1. Type cmd in the Windows search box, right-click on "Command Prompt" and choose "Run as administrator".

Step 2. Type chkdsk g: /f and hit Enter.

 "g" is the drive letter, so please replace it with the drive letter of your external hard drive.

CHKDSK command will fix your corrupted HDD or external HDD once it finds any corruption on the drive.

Fix file system error on internal or external hard drive

Step 4. Type exit when the process completes.

Now, you go to the next guide to format the hard drive or external hard drive to reset its file system to NTFS or exFAT, making the device secure to save and show files again.

As formatting will cause file loss, remember to let Deep Data Recovery scan your whole drive, finding all missing data first.

#2. Format or Reformat Hard Drive/External Hard Drive

To make the hard drive or external hard drive work normally without any issues, we recommend you to format your hard drive to Windows-supported format. NTFS is recommended for a hard drive.

Refer to the steps here to make your device usable again:

Step 1.  Connect the external hard drive to your PC.

Step 2. Right-click "This PC" > Select "Manage" > "Disk Management".

Step 3. Right-click on the target drive or partition and click on "Format".

format hard drive windows 10

Step 4. Select the file system as "NTFS", tick "Quick Format" and click "OK" to format the drive.

Now, your device is available for saving data, and you may save the found files back to your external or internal hard drive again.

Now, You Are Good To Use the Hard Drive and Files

When your hard drive is not showing files though they still exist in Windows 11/10/8/7, try to reconnect the drive to your computer first.

If you can't see the files, hard drive data recovery software - Qiling Data Recovery Wizard can help. It is the easiest way that you can try to bring back all the files.

After restoring not showing files, you can run the CHKDSK command to fix the hard drive error and reformat the device to NTFS for saving data again. 

FAQs about Files Not Showing in Hard Drive

If some of you may more questions about the hard drive not showing file issue. Check questions and answers below, you may find desired answers here:

1. What is taking up space on my hard drive Windows 10/8/7?

How to see what's taking up space on PC in windows 7/8/10? You have two steps to go:

Step 1. Show hidden files on the hard drive. 

You may revert to Method 2 in Stage 2 for help.

Step 2. Analyze the hard drive and find what's taking up space on your hard drive:

What's taking up space on hard drive

You may refer to What Is Taking Up Space on My Hard Drive for more details. 

2. How do I show hidden files on my external hard drive in Windows 10/11?

3. How do I fix my external hard drive not recognized error?

When an external hard drive becomes unrecognizable, it may be caused by not working USB port, hard drive driver outdated, virus attack, or device failure error.

You can try the five ways to fix it:

You may refer to Fix Seagate External Hard Drive Not Detected/Recognized for help.

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