How to Fix 'USB Says It's Full But Not' Error Without Data Loss

Tracy King updated on Sep 16, 2019 to Storage Media Recovery | How-to Articles


Does your USB flash drive says it's full in the Windows File Explorer but it's not when you open the drive? If your USB shows full in computer, relax. Follow this tutorial article to fix USB full but not issue without losing any data now.

Why Does My USB Say It's Full but It's Not

USB says it's full but it's not

"I have a 16GB USB flash drive, and it has about 2GB of files saved inside. Yesterday, I downloaded some interesting videos online, and I wanted to save them to the USB drive. But when I connected it to my computer, the flash drive said it’s full. I opened the drive; just those 2GB files were there. Nothing else exists. So how come such a weird thing happens to me? Right now, the problem still exists - USB says it’s full, but it’s not. Does anyone of you know a fix to this issue? I need help and please help me if you happen to have a trick."

So how to restore USB/SD/External hard drive to full capacity without losing data becomes entirely necessary. EaseUS software has gathered some useful tips here, and you can follow to get files off USB or other storage devices and restore them to full capacity now.

How to Fix USB Says It's Full but It's Not Error

According to many Windows and Mac users, it seems that USB, SD, and even external hard drive show full but not have happened usually. If you are having a similar problem on your external hard drive or SD card, you can apply methods below for help.

Part 1. Export Data and Restore Hidden Files from USB

If you have many important data saved in the USB flash drive, you can directly export them to a safe location on your PC or another storage device with below tips:

Step 1. Connect the full USB to your PC and open the File Explorer.
Step 2. Locate and open the USB which says it’s full.
Step 3. Copy and save existing files from the USB to a safe location on your PC or another secure storage device.

If you have some useful files saved as hidden files, you can use professional data recovery software to recover and unhide hidden files on the USB drive with simple clicks. EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard can do this for you with easy clicks:

Step 1. Preparations

  • Connect the USB drive to your PC.
  • Launch EaseUS data recovery software.
  • Select the USB drive.
select the usb to find hidden files

Step 2. Scanning

  • Click Scan after you have chosen the USB.
  • The software will scan the USB to find all of the hidden files and the existing files on the USB.
  • Wait patiently during the scanning process.
scan the usb

Step 3. Recover

  • Preview the hidden files. You can click Filter to help you find the recoverable hidden files. If the name or path of the hidden file has been changed, click Extra Files to find it.
  • Select the wanted files and click Recover to restore the hidden files from a USB.
  • Choose another place to save your recovered files to avoid data overwriting.
recover hidden files from usb

Part 2. Show Hidden Files in USB Flash Drive

After exporting useful data from the USB flash drive, you can continue with the below tips to show hidden files and remove them from the USB so to free up space:

Step 1. Connect USB to your PC.
Step 2. Right-click Windows icon and select Command Prompt (Admin).
Step 3. Sign in with your Administrator account if system asks. And type: attrib -h -r -s /s /d G:\*.* and hit Enter. (Replace G with the drive letter of your USB flash drive.)
Step 4. After this, you can go to check your USB or SD card and find the hidden files.

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 Tool 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 Tool M for Free.

Step 2. Start EaseUS Tool 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

The reason why we need to do so is that when files are set to hide in the storage device, ordinary file deleting or device formatting can do nothing to them. It means that you won’t be able to remove hidden files until you unhide them.

Part 3. Format and Restore USB to Full Capacity 

After extract useful files to secure location and showing hidden files in the USB flash drive, you can now fully restore the USB flash drive to its full capacity by formatting:

Step 1. Connect the USB flash drive to your PC.
Step 2. Open Windows File Explorer and find the full USB drive, right-click on it and select Format.
Step 3. Set the file system to NTFS and click OK to confirm that you want to format the USB drive.

Wait for the process complete and then you can save files back to your USB drive again. The ‘USB says it’s full but it’s not issue’ no longer exists on your device.


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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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