Solved: Hard Drive Not Showing Files Though They Still Exist

Jean updated on Oct 27, 2020 to Data Recovery Resouce | 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.

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 drive with ease.

Why Are My Files Not Showing Up in External Hard Drive 

"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, pen drive, or memory card was showing up in Windows Explore but they couldn't see the files and folders when they opened the device.

Most ordinary uses don't know why they can't see files on the (external) hard drive in Windows computers. Finding a reliable way to show up or find the existing files becomes a top issue that you should concern about. 

Continue reading and you'll find answers in the following parts.

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

"Hard drive not showing files though they still exist" is an issue that occurs frequently. There are many factors that would cause your storage drive contents to disappear without being noticed, such as:

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

So how do I find missing files on my hard drive?  In the next part, 4+ practical methods with detailed tutorial steps will guide you to find all existing or missing files from your internal or external hard drives effectively.

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

If you can't identify what the specific reason is, don't worry. You can follow the solutions here one by one 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:

  1. #1. Reconnect Drive
  2. #2. Recover Files in Hard Drive with Data Recovery Software  - Most Effective
  3. #3. Manually Show Hidden Files
  4. #4. Retrieve Hidden Files Using CMD
  5. #5. Fix Device Error and Format Hard Drive

The provided methods also work 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.

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

Method 1. Reconnect Drive to Make Files Show Up

Applies to: Show up drive files that were hidden 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 all saved files on your computer. So the best way out is to reconnect the drive and make files show up again.

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

To Reconnect Hard Drive:

  • Shutdown PC > Open computer case >Check the power cable and SATA cable, if they are broken, change with a new one.
  • Reinstall it to PC via its power cable and SATA cable, tight the cables and computer case, and restart PC.

To Reconnect External Hard Drive:

  • Eject and remove the external hard drive >Check the USB cable, if it's broken, change with a new one.
  • Reconnect the external hard drive to the PC tightly.

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

Open the hard drive or external hard drive and check if files show up. If not, try Method 2 and follow the tutorial steps to bring all your hard drive files back with ease.

Method 2. Recover Files Not Showing in Hard Drive with Data Recovery Software

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

When a hard drive is not showing up files though they still exist due to virus attack, file system error, or manual hiding files, you can turn to professional hard drive recovery software for help. It's an all-in-one solution to recover hidden, not showing up or missing files.

EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard can assist you in recovering files and folders that can't be seen on an internal or external hard drive in Windows 10/8/7.

Take it to retrieve all existing files that are hidden, removed by a virus/malware, or inaccessible on your hard drive that has a file system error (like becoming RAW) with ease now:

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

Don't save the recovered files to your original drive. Then move to Method 5 to repair your drive, making it viable and secure for saving files again.

Method 3. Manually Show Hidden Files in Hard Drive or External Hard Drive

Applies to: Display and show files that are hidden on your hard drive or external hard drive from Windows File Explorer settings. 

In order 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'll encounter the hard drive not showing files though they still exist issue.

So the best way out is to unhide them. Here we will present to you the easiest steps to show hidden files in hard drive or external hard drive:

Step 1. Connect the external hard drive, on which your files are missing, to PC.

Step 2. Double-click "This PC" and open File Explorer.

Step 3. Then click to open your hard drive or external hard drive.

Step 4. 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.

Method 4. Retrieve Files that Were Hidden/Deletes by Virus Using CMD

Applies to: Retrieve and show files that were removed or hidden by virus, malware.

According to some users, sometimes virus or malware may also cause "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, you may run the CMD command lines are shown here:

Step 1. Run virus cleaning software or application to clear the existing viruses, malware on your device.

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

Step 3. Type cmd in Windows Search box and right-click Command Prompt to open it as administrator.

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

  • (Replace E with the drive letter of your hard drive or external disk that is not showing files.)
  • del *.lnk
  • attrib -s -r -h *.* /s /d /l

Show hidden files from virus

Step 5. Type exit when the process completes.

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

Method 5. Fix Device Error and Format to Reset Hard Drive

Applies to: Fix file system error on a hard drive or external hard drive that prevents you from accessing files 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

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.

Click to copy

Step 3. CHKDSK command will fix your corrupted HDD or external HDD once it finds any corruption on the drive.

Step 4. Type exit when the process completes.

After this, you can re-open the drive and check if you can see all the hidden files showing up. If no files show up, revert back to Method 2 and let EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard scan your whole drive, finding all missing data immediately.

Using CMD Alternative - EaseUS Tools M to Fix File System Error on Hard Drive

Manual input of the command line is suitable for computer professionals since wrong commands can cause more severe problems. Therefore, for security and usability, we strongly recommend you try an automatic command line alternative. EaseUS Tools M is a practical tool that enables you to check and fix files system error, enable/disable write protection and system update 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 EaseUS Tools M for Free.

Step 2. Start EaseUS Tools M, choose "File Showing" on the left pane. Next, choose the target drive for scanning.

show hidden files - step 2

Step 3. After the operation completes, click the View button to check the hidden files. 

show hidden files - step 3

#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.

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 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.

The Bottom Line

This page covers 5 practical methods to help you recover and display not showing files on an internal or external hard drive.

When your hard drive not showing files though they still exist in Windows 10, try to reconnect the device, set to show hidden files first.

If nothing works, reliable hard drive data recovery software like EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard is able to help. After restoring not showing files, remember to run the CHKDSK command to fix device file system error and reformat the device to NTFS for saving data again. 

Note that the above solutions only work to fix logical errors that cause files not showing on the hard drive. If your device is physically damaged, take it for repair at a local device repair.

Also, don't forget to create a backup of your hard drive or external hard drive data. This will always rescue you whenever you lose files due to device error or even natural disasters. 

FAQs about Files Not Showing in Hard Drive

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

1. How do I view files on my hard drive?

First, open Windows File Explorer and check if your files are on the hard drive.

If not, go to the View tab and tick "Hidden files". Recheck files in your hard drive again. 

Next, if no files show up, run EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard to scan and find all missing files on your hard drive.

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

  1. Open File Explorer and go to the Video tab.
  2. Click Options and choose Change folder and search options.
  3. On the View tab, look for the Advanced settings area.
  4. Check "Show hidden files, folders, and drives" and click "OK".

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:

  • Try a different USB
  • Uninstall and reinstall external hard drive driver
  • Turn on USB Root Hub
  • Show all hidden files
  • Use Registry Editor

For a detailed guide, you may refer to Fix Seagate External Hard Drive Not Detected/Recognized for help.

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Frequently Asked Questions

1. Why choose EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard?

"EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard is the best we've seen. It's far from perfect, partly because today's advanced disk technology makes data-recovery more difficult than it was with the simpler technology of the past, but it's fast and efficient..."PCMag

"The first thing you'll notice about EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard Pro is that its interface is very clear and uncluttered, with only a small collection of self-explanatory controls. You won't find lots of extra options hidden in a system of hidden menus, either; what you see really is what you get."techradar

"Recover lost files, even after deleting a partition or formatting your drive."Macworld

2. 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.

3. 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.

4. 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.

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

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

6. 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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