[Solved] USB Pen Drive Not Showing Data, Files, and Folders

The following table helps to quickly learn ways to solve USB Pen Drive not showing data, files, and folders:

Workable Solutions Step-by-step Troubleshooting
Fix 1. Unhide files in pen drive using Windows Explorer If the data on your USB has accidentally been hidden or made invisible by a virus, you can try to unhide...Full steps
Fix 2. Recover hidden files from pen drive with data recovery software If the steps above didn't work for you, try to retrieve your data with Qiling disk data recovery Wizard...Full steps
Fix 3. Show hidden files in Command Prompt

Windows Command Prompt is a suitable tool for professionals to solve many computers...Full steps

Fix 4. Show hidden files on a USB drive with a disk tool Manual execution of the command line is suitable for computer professionals, since incorrect...Full steps
More useful solutions Format the USB pen drive that is not showing files, check and fix USB pen drive errors...Full steps

Why Is USB Not Showing Files?

Pen drive not showing data but using space is one of the main reasons you lose data. This situation prevents you from accessing your data while the used space and unused space is showing correctly when you check. The most likely cause of this issue is a virus attack. Some unknown virus can not only infect your files but also makes them hidden. This creates an empty shortcut of your files and folders that leads to nowhere, like a shortcut virus. In addition to virus infection, there are other causes that may lead to USB not showing files:

If you are annoyed by the pen drive not showing data problems and you are trying to find a USB data recovery solution, you are at the right place. Here, we will show you how to recover files from pen drives to fix USB drive files or folders not showing but space used in simple ways. Know that this tutorial also works with flash drives, external hard drives, SD cards, or other external USB devices.

If you experience the same problem on a Mac computer, follow this page and solve the issue flash drive not showing up on Mac and restore all lost files.

How to Fix USB Pen Drive Not Showing Data

Depending on the cause, the solution to the issue of "USB not showing files" varies. If you haven't identified the specific cause yet, you can follow the standard methods below to solve your problem. In total, we offer five effective solutions to restore disappeared files and fix the USB not showing data issues.

Fix 1. Unhide Files in Pen Drive Using Windows Explorer

If the data on your USB has accidentally been hidden or made invisible by a virus, you can try to unhide your files using CMD. There are other ways available to show hidden files on a USB drive too, check them out if you want.

Step 1. Connect the USB pen drive or flash drive to the PC.

Step 2. Open Windows "File Explorer" > Go to "Tools" > "Folder" Options > Go to the "View" Tab > Check "Show hidden files, folders, and drives". Finally, click "Apply". This will make sure that the files and folders are not in hidden mode. 

fix usb pen drive not showing files in windows explorer

Fix 2. Free Download USB Recovery Software to Recover Hidden Files From a Pen Drive

If the steps above didn't work for you, try to retrieve your data with Deep Data Recovery, which is a popular third-party data recovery software. This method can recover your files and folders in all the situations mentioned above.

Whether your pen drive is not showing data due to a virus attack, hiding files, accidental deletion, or file system errors, you can directly recover your data using this reliable tool, you can even recover corrupted files from USB drive. This tool does a decent job to recover shortcut files, hidden files, deleted files, and RAW files from a USB pen drive or flash drive. When your USB is not showing files, this is the most effective way to retrieve your data.

Step 1. Launch Deep Data Recovery. Select file types

Connect the USB drive or pen drive to your computer and launch Qiling USB data recovery software on your PC. Select file types and click "Next" to start.

Select file types that you want to recover

Step 2. Run USB Data Recovery Software

Select the drive which is labeled as a External drives, and click "Scan" to start looking for lost files.

Select USB/pen drive to scan and find lost files

Step 3. Scan and Search Lost Files on a USB Drive

Deep Data Recovery will thoroughly scan your USB flash drive/pen drive and find all your lost data on it. When the scan process completes, use the Filter feature to find wanted files.

Scan USB flash drive/pen drive to find lost files

Step 4. Restore All Lost Files from USB

A double-click will allow you to preview the files. Select the target files to restore and click "Recover" to save them to a secure location on your PC or other external storage devices.

If you cannot find missing files, you can also let data recovery and repair experts help.

Consult with Qiling data recovery experts for one-on-one manual recovery service. We could offer the following services after a FREE diagnosis.

  • Fix HDD, SSD, external hard drive, USB flash drive errors, and restore data from all RAID levels
  • Recover lost partition that cannot be restored by data recovery software
  • Fix disks that cannot be read or accessed because of bad sectors
  • Fix disks that become GPT protected partitions
  • Wipe data, unformat hard drive, Install/uninstall software or driver, etc.

Fix 3. Show Hidden Files in Windows Command Prompt

Windows Command Prompt is a suitable tool for professionals to solve many computer storage issues. It's a kind of high-level tool that requires administrator permission.

Step 1. Click on the "Start" Menu > "Run" > Type cmd and press "Enter".

Step 2. To make the USB pen drive data show up, type this commands: attrib -h -r -s K:\*.* /s /d press "Enter". (Replace "K" with the drive letter of your pen drive.)

Fix 4. Download Qiling CleanGenius to Show Hidden Files on a USB drive

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. 

Now all your files will start showing up on your USB flash drive or pen drive. If you see a folder without a name, rename it to recover its data.

You can also run antivirus software on your computer to try and remove the virus. But, it does not always help. Even when it does, it may delete the virus-infected files on your USB. So, you will need to use Method 2 to recover the lost data.

Fix 5. Format the USB Pen Drive That Is Not Showing Files

When your USB pen drive data not showing, you'll see some error messages appear on your screen. This indicates something has gone wrong with your USB file system, which includes the drive is corrupted, damaged, inaccessible, or showing RAW, and asking you to format it. The common errors are usually as follows.

To overcome this kind of USB problems that cause the data not showing, you need to format the drive to a Windows-recognized file system. Since formatting erases data completely, do not start to format the disk before recovering data.

Step 1. Download Deep Data Recovery and perform data recovery.

Step 2. Open Windows Explorer, right-click on your USB drive, and choose "Format".

Step 3. Choose a Windows-compatible file system such as FAT32, NTFS, or exFAT to your USB, and click "Start".

format usb drive using file explorer

Fix 6. Check and Fix USB Pen Drive Errors

Other than the five methods outlined above, you can also try to fix the USB that is not showing files using CHKDSK. The CHKDSK command is used to check and repair the disk error on your pen drive that is not showing data correctly. Compared to running the CHKDSK command in CMD, it's more convenient to run the CHKDSK utility.

Step 1. Open "This PC", right-click your pen drive, and choose "Properties".

Step 2. Go to the "Tools" tab.

Step 3. Click "Check" to check and repair the errors on your USB.

Fix USB not showing files - Run CHKDSK

If unhiding files fails to bring your data back, it's highly likely there is something wrong with your USB. In that case, you are recommended to perform data recovery directly and then format your pen drive to remove the error. Data recovery software like Deep Data Recovery will help you retrieve all your data as long as the data is not overwritten. Try it and you will get back your files and folders immediately.

FAQs about USB Pen Drive Not Showing Files

Apart from offering solutions for fixing USB pen drive not showing files issue, some users may also want to know the cause of USB pen drive not showing files and how to view files. To help resolve your queries, we have collected 4 top questions that you might be interested in.

Here are those questions and answers:

1. How do I recover my pen drive data?

You can get your pen drive data lost due to deletion, formatting, or other misoperations. You should first check and restore the files from Recycle Bin.

To avoid complete data loss, you can recover deleted/formatted files from the pen drive using the reliable data recovery software - Deep Data Recovery. In addition to this, you can also use CMD to recover data from a pen drive if the files are hidden. For more details, you may refer to How to Recover Deleted Files from Pen Drive for help. 

2. How do I view files on my USB?

Files can become hidden on a USB drive for a variety of reasons. You can use Control Panel, CMD and Qiling data recovery software to show or recover hidden files on virus-infected USB flash drives, hard drives, memory cards, and pen drives.

By doing so, you can make all your files viewable again on your USB drive. For detailed instructions, please refer to Show Hidden Files on USB Drive.  

3. Why do files disappear from USB?

Many users say that the files they copied to their USB drive suddenly disappear.

One might wonder, how can files on a USB pen drive go missing mysteriously? Here are the common reasons why that happens:

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