Solved: Hard Drive Not Showing Files Though They Still Exist

Jean updated on Jun 27, 2019 to Resource | How-to Articles


Many users have reported the issue that their local or external hard drive is not showing files though they still exist. When they open their device, they can't see files on their hard drive. If you are troubled by this same issue, follow to learn how to fix the hard drive that is not showing files and recover data from the device with EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard when necessary.

Files Not Showing in External Hard Drive Though They Still Exist

"Why can't I see files and folders saved to my external HDD in Windows 10? They should be there because I didn't press the deletion button or format the disk. So annoying. Where have they gone? How to make them show up again?"

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

Then why Can't you see the files on the (external) hard drive when they still exist on your computer? "Hard drive now showing files tough they still exist" is an issue occurs frequently. There are many factors would cause your storage drive contents to disappear without being noticed, such as:

  • File system errors that make the entries to your files inaccessible
  • Your hard drive is infected by a virus or attacked by malware that hides, deletes or encrypts the files on your hard drive
  • The power supply is not stable
  • The files and folders are hidden and you disable "show hidden files"
  • Others including hardware issues, hard drive getting corrupted, and more

In addition to the four common causes, an external hard drive may also result from other unexpected reasons. The corresponding solutions are detailed below.

How to Fix Files Not Showing Up on External Hard Drive

If you can't identify what the specific reason is, follow the solutions one by one to fix the error "can't see files on the external hard drive".

Method 1. Run CHKDSK to Fix HDD/USB Pen Drive Not Showing Files

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, use command prompt to fix the hard drive problems to prevent further data loss.

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

Step 2. On the command window, type: chkdsk g: /f ("g" is the drive letter of your external hard drive, so please replace the drive letter with the corresponding drive letter of yours).

Click to copy

Step 3. Press "Enter" and chkdsk will start checking your corrupted HDD and then fix any corruption on the drive.

Method 2. Recover Files Not Showing from External Hard Drive and Then Format It

Another way to fix file system error is to recover files and format the hard drive. This method can also be applied to the situation in which the hard drive not showing up files though they still exist due to virus attack. Whether you want to recover files and folders that are hidden or deleted by a virus/malware or retrieve data from an inaccessible storage device that has a file system error (like becoming RAW), you can use the advanced hard drive recovery software - EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard to have a try. EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard is able to perform deleted file recovery, formatted file recovery, RAW file recovery, and sometimes virus attack recovery.

To restore files that you can't see on an external hard drive or USB drive in Windows 10 within minutes:

Step 1. Choose the external hard drive

Since you're going to recover data from the external hard drive, run EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard and under the External Devices tab, choose the exact drive where you lost data. Click Scan.

select external hard drive

Step 2. Scan for lost data

The software will start immediately to scan all over the selected drive for all lost data. During the scan, you could see more and more data showing up in the results.

scan external hard drive

Step 3. Preview and recover data

After the scan is over, check the scan results for the desired data. You can preview the file by double-clicking on it. Click Recover and choose another location to save the recovered data.

preview and recover data

If you have retrieved your data successfully, you can now format your hard drive in Windows 10 to make your device usable again.

Method 3. Try Rear USB Port

Don't bother trying the simple solution. If you can't think of any serious issue that may result in "can't see files on the external hard drive", the causes may be minor issues with the hardware connection.

Generally, you connect your external hard drive to your computer via one of the front USB ports. Although there is no difference between the front USB ports and the rear ones technically, it's said that the rear USB ports are more stable since they are soldered to the motherboard directly. Thus, if you are using a desktop, change to a rear USB port to have a try. This solution is also helpful in solving the common USB drive related issue "Please insert a disk into removable disk".

Method 4. Show Hidden Files/Folders

Did you accidentally hide the files and folders on your hard drive? If you did, you may not see files on your external hard drive due to your computer settings. Hidden files won't appear on your hard drive if you don't allow them to. There is more than one way to show hidden files or folders on your computer. Here we present you the easiest one. 

Step 1. Go to "This PC" and double-click to open your hard drive.

Step 2. Click "View". In the Show/hide section, make sure "Hidden items" is checked.

Fix hard drive not showing up files -  show hidden files

If you can't see files on your external hard drive because you have hidden them, the files and folders you can't see just now will appear again on the external drive after you apply the steps above. However, there are still some people saying that showing hidden items doesn't help them restore the missing files. If it doesn't work, try other ways detailed in the article about how to recover hidden files instead.

The Bottom Line

If the solutions above can't fix "hard drive not showing files though they exist" for you, we recommend you get your hard drive serviced. Some physical damage can be fixed by manual repair. If you don't want to give up your hard drive, asking help from manual service is also a choice to make.


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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.

About Data Recovery Wizard

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