How to Fix USB Pen Drive Not Showing Data

Abby Haines updated on Sep 16, 2019 to Resource | How-to Articles


It happens that a pen drive is deleted and shows used space but doesn't show any data. USB not showing files can be caused by various reasons, and each has a corresponding fix. You can try the fixes below to make your pen drive show data again or directly recover files from the pen drive with reliable data recovery software - EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard.

Pen drive detected but not showing data

"When I insert my 64GB SanDisk USB pen drive into a computer, it is detected and shows the occupied space. But when I trying to access my data, the USB is not showing files and folders. I have no idea about why the pen drive show empty even when data exists. I have very important data in that. Please help me to recover data."

If you can't see the data on your USB drive when you open it, you may feel panic since the files and folders are all gone. Actually, USB not showing files is much better than USB drive not showing up on the computer, because the data can be rescued in most of the cases. Thus, relax and follow to learn why the pen drive is not showing data and how to fix it easily.

Why is the USB pen drive not showing data but space used

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

  • Files and folders on your pen drive are hidden
  • Data is accidentally deleted
  • The file system is not recognized by the OS of your computer

If you are annoyed by pen drive not showing data problem and trying to find a USB data recovery solution, congratulations, 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. By the way, the tutorial also works with flash drives, external hard drives, SD cards or other external USB devices.

When you meet 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 pen drive not showing data and retrieve files

Depending on the causes, the solution to the issue "USB not showing files" vary. If you haven't identified the specific cause yet, you can follow the methods below in order to solve the problem with ease.

Method 1. Unhide files using CMD while pen drive not showing data

If the data on your USB is accidentally hidden or made invisible by a virus, you can try to unhide your files using CMD. Besides, there are other ways available to show hidden files on a USB drive. Check it if you need to.

Step 1: Connect the USB pen drive or flash drive to PC. Open Windows "File Explorer" > Go to "Tools" > "Folder" Options > Go to the "View" Tab > Check "Show Hidden Files". This will make sure that the files and folders are not in hidden mode. 

Step 2: Next, click on the "Start" Menu > "Run" > Type cmd and press "Enter". To make the pen drive data show up, type the commands: attrib -h -r -s /s /d k:\*.*  and press "Enter". Here, you need to replace "K" with the drive letter of your pen drive.

Click to copy

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 Fixing" on the left pane. Next, choose the target drive and keep the "Show hidden files." selected. Then, click the "Fix" button to start the progress.

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

Now all your files will start showing up in 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 to remove the virus. But it always does not help. Even it helps, it may delete the virus-infected files on your USB. If so, you will need to use Method 2 to recover the lost data.

Method 2. Recover files with EaseUS recovery software when pen drive not showing data

If the steps above failed to help, then try to retrieve your data with EaseUS disk data recovery software - EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard, a popular third-party data recovery software. This is a method that can recover your files and folders in all the situations mentioned above. Whether your pen drive is not showing data due to virus attack, hiding files, accidental deletion, or file system errors, you can directly recover your data using this reliable tool. It performs well to recover shortcut files, hidden files, deleted files, and RAW files from USB pen drive or flash drive. When your USB is not showing files, it's the most certain way to retrieve your data.

Step 1. Choose the pen drive to scan.

Connect your pen drive to your computer and then you can run EaseUS pen drive recovery software - Data Recovery Wizard on your PC. On the main interface, choose your pen drive which marks as a removable disk, and click "Scan" to start the pen drive recovery.

choose pen drive to scan

Step 2. Scan the pen drive.

Let the program run to scan and find all your lost files. After the scan is complete, you can quickly find the desired file type by using the features of "Filter" and "Search".

  • Filter: Filter a specific file type like Pictures, Documents, Videos, etc.
  • Search: e.g. File name/file extension.
scan pen drive data

Step 3. Recover pen drive files.

One locates the target files, you can double-click to preview them one by one. Finally, click "Recover" to save them to a secure location on your PC or another external storage device.

preview and recover pen drive data

Method 3. Format the USB this is not showing files

This is not the method to make your files show up again. Instead, this fix helps to make your device usable again. If your pen drive is infected by a virus or has file system errors, which results in USB not showing files, you will need to format the USB to remove the virus completely or assigning a new file system to your USB drive by formatting.

But hold on. Since formatting a device will delete all the files on it, you need to recover files from the USB drive using method 2 in advance. Afterward, you can format your device without worrying about data loss. Here we introduce the easiest way. If you are interested in other workable ways, you can refer to the article about the best USB formatting tool.

Step 1: Open "This PC".

Step 2: Find and right-click your USB pen drive. Choose "Format" in the menu.

Step 3: Assign a Windows-compatible file system to your USB and click "Start".

Step 4: In the warning window, click "OK" to confirm the operation.

Fix USB not showing files - format USB

Now you can copy the recovered data back to your USB device and use it as normal.

Method 4. Run CHKDSK

Other than the three methods above, you can also try to fix the USB that is not showing files using CHKDSK. The CHKDSK command can be 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

The Bottom Line

Actually, if unhiding files fails to bring your data back again, 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 EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard 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.


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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 to better 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.

About Data Recovery Wizard

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