How to Fix Pen Drive Shows Empty Although It Has Data - 4 Solutions

Brithny updated on Jan 22, 2021 to Storage Media Recovery | How-to Articles

Many reasons could result in Pen drive showing empty although it has data, and this page will analyze the reasons and show you corresponding solutions. The solutions are also applicable to similar issues like USB shows empty but it is full, USB files not showing but space used, etc. No matter how Pen drive files and folders missing, you can easily find the lost data with the help of EaseUS Pen drive data recovery software.

Pen Drive Shows Empty Although It Has Data

"I have this issue with my storage USB Pendrive. I use it very frequently in Internet cafes for listening to music or watching movies I previously put on the USB Pendrive. Yesterday, I inserted the drive to my laptop only to see the Pendrive showing empty although it has data. The USB files and folders are not showing but space used! Can anybody help me?"

Also known as memory sticks, USB sticks or flash drives, Pen drives are a tiny, portable and possibly capacious data storage device that is used to move and store data from a computer. Due to its small size, we usually put it in the pocket or the handbag and take it everywhere and use it on a variety of computer devices. On one hand, the Pen drive facilitates our digital life. On the other hand, it could destroy us with imminent failure. It can face with annoying issues like corruption, malfunction, data loss, etc. Of which, one of the most commonly seen troubles is that the Pen drive showing empty but the files and folders defacto are there.

Do you know why Pen drive showing empty when data exists? We collected the primary reasons for you, to help you recall the last operation on your own drive.

  • Virus infection
  • Unknown files/folders hidden
  • File system corruption
  • Pen drive bad sectors

If you've done any improper thing on your Pendrive and it becomes blank, now try the solutions below to solve this issue – USB Pen drive data not showing on PC.

Solution 1. Show Hidden Files When Pen Drive Showing Empty

There are two ways to unhide USB files:

Method 1. Show hidden Pen drive files using Windows Explorer

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

Step 2. Open Windows Explorer > Tools > Folder Options > Go to View Tab > Check "Show Hidden Files".

This will make sure that the files and folders are not in hidden mode. 

Method 2. Show hidden Pen drive files using cmd

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

Step 2. 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 your pen drive letter.

Solution 2. Recover Files with Pen Drive Recovery Software

If you are annoyed by USB pen drive not showing data but files actually are there problem, you come to the right place! Retrieve your data with EaseUS pen drive data recovery software. It performs well to recover shortcut files or hidden files from USB pen drive or flash drive. Here, if pen drive data not showing due to the virus deleting, hiding or in any way the data just lost, you should first scan your USB device to get back the missing files and folders. Three steps are enough for all data recovery.

Step 1. Connect the Pen Drive to Scan

Connect your pen drive to your computer and run EaseUS pen drive recovery software. Choose your pen drive and click the Scan button.

choose pen drive to scan

Step 2. Scan the pen drive and preview files

After the software scanning all over the pen drive, all your lost files will show up in the scan results. You can use the Filter function to quickly filter a file type and preview the files before recovery.

scan pen drive data

Step 3. Recover pen drive files and save

After the file preview, click the Recover button to save the selected files to a secure location on your PC or another external storage device.

preview and recover pen drive data

Solution 3. Format Disk When Pen Drive Showing Empty

Chances are that your pen drive file system has corrupted, turning it to the unrecognized RAW file system, Windows will not let you open the drive data as normal. In this case, you need to perform a quick format and restore the Pendrive full capacity. Meanwhile, disk formatting can sometimes remove viruses, which also cause the Pen drive working abnormally.

To format a corrupted Pen drive, download EaseUS free partition manager and begin with the guide:

Step 1: Select the USB drive to format.

Connect the USB drive or pen drive to your computer. Download and launch EaseUS partition software. Right-click the USB drive you intend to format and choose "Format".

Format Hard Drive Partition - Step 1

Step 2: Set the drive letter and file system.

Assign a new partition label, file system (NTFS/FAT32/EXT2/EXT3), and cluster size to the selected partition, then click "OK".

Format Hard Drive Partition - Step 2

Step 3: Check the warning box.

Click "OK" if you see the Warning window. If you have important data on it, back up the data in advance.

Format Hard Drive Partition - Step 3

Step 4: Apply the changes.

Click the "Execute operation" button first, and then click "Apply" to format the USB drive.

Format Hard Drive Partition - Step 4

Solution 4. Repair Bad Sectors When Pen Drive Showing Empty

Each digital storage device has a limited lifespan and the removable flash drives' lifespan usually shorter than the large hard drives. After a period of use, particularly to users who did not habitually use the pen drive in the standard ways, they will see an even shorter lifespan of it. A starting malfunctioning Pen drive usually has bad sectors over the accepted numbers. At this moment, you could see strange things like empty space on it though there are files and folders.

To remove bad sectors from your Pen drive, higher-level users can use the cmd method, but an easy fixing tool will also work:

If you don't have any technical know-how and want to minimize data risks, using third-party software could be a better choice. The Command line is suitable for computer professionals since wrong commands can cause severe problems. Therefore, we strongly recommend you try an automatic command line alternative.

EaseUS Tools M is a practical computer fixing tool that is safe and light-weighted. It's a perfect alternative to CHKDSK command. Use this one-click tool to solve your computer issues.

To fix file system error or disk error:

Step 1: DOWNLOAD EaseUS Tools M for Free and install it.

Step 2: Open the software and select the "File showing" option. 

Step 3: Choose the drive and wait for repairing. After the operation completes, click the "View" button to check the drive. 

select the drive and check off file system error

Extra Tips to Avoid Pen Drive Data Loss

  • Back up important data or files to other devices
  • Avoid using the same USB device in multiple systems as there is a possibility of its corruption.
  • Always disconnect your USB drive safely to avoid virus attack
  • Storing flash media in proper conditions and not exposing your flash drive to extreme temperatures, humidity or pressure will keep your drive functioning longer.

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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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