Folder Shows Empty but Files Are There Windows 10/8/7

Jean updated on Jul 09, 2019 to File Recovery | How-to Articles


If you meet folder shows empty but files are there on Windows 10/8/7 due to virus infection, hard drive corruption, or other reasons, you can fix the issue and recover missing files by changing view settings in File Explorer, command prompt, or resorting to EaseUS free file recovery software for help.

Overview of the folder is empty
Casues of the folder shows empty
Three solutions to solve the problem

The Folder Shows Empty but Has Size Overview

"How strange! The folder shows empty but the files are there. I transferred all of my pictures the other day from my Canon camera to PC and kept them in a folder on drive D. Today I click on the folder, but nothing is there! I am sure that all files have been successfully transferred, while I lost them due to unknown reasons. What's worse is that I didn't keep a copy on my camera storage. So how can I recover files when the folder wrongly shows empty?"

Are you seeing an empty folder that should have contained files in it? The folder shows empty as the picture.

the folder shows empty and no files

But in fact, the folder has size.

folder shows empty but it still takes space

Imagine this. You've created a folder to store some specific files, like downloaded apps, photos, documents, or video files. One day when you try to open the folder to view the contents inside, nothing is there, nor does it allow you to move to another storage location. What causes this issue? What we can do to fix "This folder is empty"? Read on and find the solutions. 

Why Would a Folder Shows Empty but Files Are There

Most cases of files/folders not showing up though they still exist suggest a hidden attribute, which means that you have hidden the files and cannot see them in the folder. As a result, the folder is empty but has size. 

The possible causes of the folder show empty but files are there is virus or malware infection. The virus hides the files and make the folder shows empty but has size. Other probable reasons are improper removal of the external hard drive/USB flash drive/memory card, system update, or hard drive corruption that prevents from proper viewing. If your storage devices get corrupted, repair the corrupted external hard drive/USB/SD card first, then follow the three solutions below to get data back in time. 

Solutions to Solve This Folder Is Empty Issue and Recover Missing Files

You have three options in all to solve a folder shows empty but files are sure to be there on Windows 10, 8 and 7. The methods are showing hidden files from Windows Explorer, using command prompt line and third-party data recovery software. 

1. Show Hidden/Lost Files in an Empty Folder in File Explorer

Microsoft gives a detailed guide to help on how to display hidden files in all its Windows' versions 10/8.1/8/7.  Despite a small difference in performing this action for each version, the basic operation is the same. That is finding the unhiding option inside the File Explorer. In Windows 10, you can unhide all files with these two steps.

Step 1. In the search box on the taskbar, type folder option, click "View". 

Step 2. Select "Show hidden files, folders, and drives" beneath "Hide files and folder". And then select "OK".

folder shows empty but files are there

2. Show Missing Files in an Empty Folder From Command Prompt

A high-level way to see hidden files is using the command lines. See the steps below.

Step 1. Press Windows + R keys together and input cmd in the search box. Open the command prompt as an administrator.

Step 2. Make sure in which drive the folder shows empty, for example, drive G, then type the command attrib -h -r -s /s /d g:\*.* and press Enter. Refresh the folder and check if the files appear now. 

restore empty folder by using cmd

3. Recover Hidden Files in an Empty Folder With Data Recovery Software

The last and the most effective way to show hidden and recover lost/missing files is using a third-party data recovery software. Here, we highly recommend you try EaseUS free file recovery software to retrieve all kinds of files that were deleted, hidden or disappeared for no reason. It requires no computer skills, and the recovery procedure is effortless. Follow the three steps below and find your lost files.

Step 1. Select the location

Open the file recovery software and find the storage partition or location. If you can't find the partition, click the refresh option.

select the location of the hidden files

Step 2. Scan the hidden files

After you have selected the location, click the "Scan" option to start the scanning process.

This process may take a little time, please be as patient as possible.

show the hidden files with easeus

Step 3. Show the hidden files

As long as the scanning process ends, you are able to see all of the hidden files and existing files on that partition. Select the wanted files and click the "Recover" button to show the hidden files. Select another location to save the recovered files.

If you find it hard to get the wanted files, click the "Filter" option or the "Search" option to help you.

recover hidden files

In conclusion, don't easily give up when a folder that should have contained files shows up empty. By applying the above quick methods, you can undoubtedly retrieve all of your missing folder contents.


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Frequently Asked Qusetions

1. Why cannot I recover 2GB data for free?

It is recommended to check the version installed is Free or Trial because they are different versions.

Trial has data preview function but cannot save any files, while the Free version enables to recover 2 GB files. The default free space is 500 MB and you may share the product on social media to get another 1.5 GB.

2. Why cannot the recovered files be opened?

A file is saved as 2 parts on the storage device: directory info (which is comprised by file name, time stamp and size info, etc.) and data content.

If the files with original file names and folder structures cannot be opened, one possible reason is the corrupted directory info. There is still a chance to recover the data content with the RAW Recovery method in our software.

3. Why isn't it suggested to recover the files back to the original drive?

The storage structure of the lost files would be altered or damaged by any changes on the drive. If you save the recovered files back to the same drive, the original data structures and data content would be corrupted or overwritten, which causes permanent data loss. So you should prepare another disk to save the files.

4. How can I check whether my data is recoverable or not before purchase?

The Free version helps you save 2GB files to better verify the recovery quality of our product before purchase.

5. How long does it take to scan the drive?

It strongly depends on the capacity of your hard drive and the performance of your computer. As reference,most drive recoveries can be completed in around 10 to 12 hours for a 1-TB healthy hard drive in general conditions.

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