www.makeuseof.com Can’t See Your USB Drive's Files and Folders on Windows? Here's How to Fix It
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www.makeuseof.com Can’t See Your USB Drive's Files and Folders on Windows? Here's How to Fix It

27/04/2022  |   494 Views

While it's usually the complex peripherals are the ones that throw up error messages, even simple devices such as USB drives can sometimes malfunction. The most common case is when the files or folders simply go missing. This could happen because a virus deleted or altered the data, the drive is damaged, or the files are hidden, among other reasons.

If this has happened to you, our guide will help you quickly fix it.

1. Check If the Files Are Hidden

Maybe you can’t see the files or folders because someone hid them. To fix it, open the View ribbon in File Explorer and check the Hidden items option. If you still can’t see your files and folders after checking this box, it means something a little more complicated has gone wrong.

2. Connect the USB Stick to Another PC

If the files don't show up when plugging your USB into one computer, try plugging it into a different device. If you still can’t see the files on the other device, it means there is something wrong with the USB. If the files are visible on the other device, you should take a look at your computer settings and use some Windows troubleshooting tools to figure out why it's not showing your data.

Related: How to Fix a USB Device That Keeps Disconnecting & Reconnecting in Windows 10

3. Run the Hardware and Devices Troubleshooter

www.makeuseof.com Can’t See Your USB Drive's Files and Folders on Windows? Here's How to Fix It

Sometimes, a USB could get damaged if you connect and disconnect it very often. If this is the case, running the Hardware and Devices troubleshooter might fix the problem. Here is how you can do it with Command Prompt:

  1. Open Command Prompt with administrative rights. You can do this by searching "command prompt" in the Start menu, right-clicking the result, and selecting Run as Administrator.
  2. Type msdt.exe -id DeviceDiagnostic.
  3. Press Enter. This will bring up the Hardware and Devices window.
  4. Click Advanced and check the Apply repairs automatically option.
  5. Click Next to start the troubleshooting process.

4. Update Your USB Drivers

If there’s a driver that is outdated or got corrupted, it could stop your computer from showing the files and folders on your USB. If you want Windows to search and install drivers that match your system, the easiest way is to use Device Manager.

  1. Right-click Start and select Device Manager.
  2. Expand the Universal Serial Bus controllers list.
  3. Right-click the problematic USB device and select Properties.
  4. Open the Driver tab and select Update Driver.

If Windows fails to find the drivers for your USB stick, or it claims that the newest ones are already installed, try doing a search for your USB's manufacturer and see if it has any drivers on its website. Sometimes Windows fails to pick up third-party drivers and you need to instead perform the update process manually.

5. Run the CHKDSK Tool

If none of the mentioned solutions help you fix the problem, you could try using the CHKDSK command line. The CHKDSK tool scans any external or internal disk drives for errors and tries to fix them, and has become a beloved Windows troubleshooting tool over the years.

To run CHKDSK, open Command Prompt with administrative rights and type chkdsk/f /r. Then, press Enter to start the scan.

Related: Practical Uses for a USB Flash Drive You Didn't Know About

Get Back Your Data Once More

Hopefully, one or more of the solutions helped you fix the problem. If you still can’t view your files or folders and there is no way to recover your data, it might be time you get a new USB or switch to using a cloud storage service.

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Read NextShareTweetEmail Related TopicsAbout The AuthorMatthew Wallaker(109 Articles Published)

Matthew's passions lead him to become a technical writer and blogger. Having a Bachelor's degree in Engineering, he enjoys using his technical knowledge to write informative and useful content.

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