A USB drive is still one of the easiest file transfer methods. But, it is also sensitive to corruption due to its fragile build and usage patterns, like not ejecting before unplugging it.
One of its common errors is that it shows up on your PC but doesn’t display the files inside of it. Some primary causes behind it can be that the files within are hidden or accidentally deleted. Other reasons can be a corrupted USB driver or simply a damaged flash drive. Is it too old and has broken parts?
If the pen drive is somewhat damaged, it may not show files when connected to a PC due to connectivity issues. In such a case, you can view the size and space it occupies, but not the files.
How to Fix USB Drive Not Showing Files on Windows?
Before diving into the solutions, let’s check a few things. USB drives come in many different shapes and sizes. Check if you’ve properly connected the drive to your PC.
Then, you can also try restarting your computer.
Check USB Drive in Disk Management
Some USB drives can act abnormally for no reason. For instance, some USB drives might show up on your PC but might not show up on the disk management and vice versa. Here’s how you can check your disk management.
- Press Windows + X keys and click on Disk Management.
- In the Volume tab, you can see the complete list of all drives and partitions. Look for your USB drive here.
If you can see the USB drive in the list above but not in the Explorer window, it means that you’ll need to assign a drive letter. Here’s how to do it:
- Right-click on your USB drive and then click on Change Drive Letter and Paths.
- Select Add from the section.
- You’ll find that a drive letter is already picked by default. Click on OK to assign the drive letter.
- If you want to change it, click on the drop-down menu and select the one you prefer.
- Finally, click on OK.
Unhide Files and Folders
You might not find the files from your USB drive on your PC if they’re hidden. So, there’s a way you can unhide them and erase their hidden property. Here’s how you can do it:
- Open the USB drive in another Explorer window.
- Click on View from the menu bar.
- Then, go to Show and then select Hidden items.
For more options, follow these steps:
- Click on the three dots in the menu bar.
- Go to Options. Doing so will open the Folder Options window.
- Click on the View tab.
- Uncheck the option that says Hide Protected Operating System Files (Recommended).
- Click Yes in the warning prompt.
- Click Apply and OK in the dialogue box.
Search for Files through Folder Path
When you can’t find a file, you can search for it from the folder path on the Explorer address bar. Here are the exact steps:
- Connect your USB drive to your PC.
- Click on the address bar to select the file path.
- Hit the End key and add your file or folder’s name respectively.
- Press Enter.
Using Command Prompt
Command Prompt is another method you can look for files in your USB drive. Here’s what you’ll need to do:
- Search for Command Prompt from the search bar and open it.
- Copy and paste the following command:
attrib -h -r -s /s /d E:\*.*
In the above code, type the letter of your USB drive instead of the “E” letter.
- Now, you can view all your files from the drive.
- To save these changes, restart your PC.
Enable USB Driver
If your USB drive is still not showing up, you can restart your Driver. Here’re the steps:
- Press the Windows + X keys and click on Device Manager. Here, you can view all your devices.
- Double-click on Disk drives. If you find your USB driver here, right-click on it and click on Disable device.
- Then, click on Yes.
- After a few minutes, right-click on your USB driver again and click on the Enable device option.
- You can now check for the files from the File Explorer.
Update/Reinstall USB Driver
If you’re still not seeing any files on your USB drive, you can check its further details in Device Manager. From there, you can try different remedies like updating or reinstalling your USB drive.
To update the driver, follow these steps:
- In the Device Manager, right-click on your USB drive and click on Update driver.
- Doing so will display two options. You can choose to make Windows look for a driver automatically or you can select one manually from your PC.
- Proceed with the instructions displayed on your screen.
To reinstall the driver, follow these steps:
- In the Device Manager, right-click on your USB driver and then click on Uninstall device.
- Now, restart your PC as Windows will automatically download a new driver for your USB drive.
How to fix USB Drive Not Showing Files on Mac?
If you’re a macOS user and are facing the same problem of incompatibility with your USB drive, here are some remedies.
Similar to Windows, you can also unhide the files on your USB drive. Here are the steps to do so:
- Open Terminal and type in this command:
defaults write com.apple.finder AppleShowAllFiles TRUE
- Press Enter and then type in another command:
- Press Enter and select Return and then reopen the Finder.
- Connect the USB drive to your Mac and recheck the files.
Modify Finder Settings
Sometimes, your Mac may not show the USB drive or its files even if it recognizes it. This can occur if you’ve not allowed the required permission to your Mac. Here’s how you can alter the settings:
- Open Finder and then go to Preferences.
- Click on the General tab.
- Check the box that says External Disks in the Show these items on the desktop section.
Similarly, if you’re unable to find the drive or its files within the Finder, here are the settings you can tweak:
- Go to Finder and then go to Preferences.
- Select the Sidebar tab.
- Under the Locations section, check the box that says External disks.
Repair USB Drive Using Disk Utility
If you’re still not seeing any files, the USB drive may be at fault as it may have corrupted files. So, you can try repairing it using the Disk Utility on your Mac. Simply, follow these steps:
- Open Disk Utility.
- Click on the Show all Devices option from the View tab.
- Select your USB Drive and then click on First Aid.
- Click on Run and wait for the process to complete.
- Lastly, click on Done.