4 Methods to Fix Pen Drive Not Showing Files

Pen Drive Not Showing Files

If your pen drive is not showing files, there could be several reasons. It could be a problem with the drive itself or the data it has. Furthermore, if you are attempting to locate a file by clicking the ‘Open’ option from a particular app, the other files may not be visible to you.

For instance, after connecting the pen drive to your PC, when you launch MS Word, click ‘Open’, and browse to the pen drive, you only see the DOC, DOCX, or other files that Word can recognize. If the storage has any XLS or XLSX files, you will notice that the pen drive is detected but not showing files. This is because XLS or XLSX files use MS Excel and are not compatible with Microsoft Word.

How to Fix Pen Drive Not Showing Files

Depending on the cause of the issue, the troubleshooting process may vary. Some of the easiest remedies are given below in detail.

Solution 1: Unhide the Files

Windows allows you to hide important files so they are not visible to others unless you unhide them. This is not a glitch but a facility that Windows offers to prevent accidental data exposure. Once you hide documents and folders, you can use the ‘Folder Options’ box to view them or get to the Command Line Interface to change their attribute to ‘unhide’, and then access them.

For your convenience, both methods are given below. Windows 11 is used for this demonstration.

Method 1: View Hidden Files

  • Launch File Explorer.
  • Click to expand the See more menu from the Ribbon at the top.
  • Click Options.
View hidden files 1

  • Go to the View tab.
  • Click to select the Show hidden files, folders, and drives radio button.
  • Click OK.
View hidden files 2

  • Get back to the pen drive.
  • See if the pen drive is showing files or not.

Method 2: Unhide the Hidden Files with Command

  • Click inside the Search bar in the Taskbar.
  • Type CMD and press Enter.
  • In the command line window, type the letter of the USB drive followed by a colon sign.
  • Press Enter.
  • Type ATTRIB – S – H /D *.* and press Enter.
  • Use File Explorer to get to the pen drive folder to view all the files.
View hidden files using cmd

Solution 2: Check the Pen Drive for Viruses

Sometimes, a virus may change the attribute of the files in the pen drive and mark them as ‘hidden’. When this happens, you may see that the pen drive is showing empty though it has data. Although you can use the above methods to view those hidden contents, as a permanent solution, you must remove the virus from your PC to avoid pen drive not showing files again. You can follow the steps given below to do so.

Note: The built-in Windows Security tool is powerful enough to detect any viruses that your computer may have. Therefore, you don’t need to buy a third-party antivirus program. However, if you already have one, that wouldn’t make any difference as the process given below works identically in both cases.

  • Launch File Explorer.
  • Right-click the USB drive volume.
  • Click Show more options from the context menu.
    • Note: You get this option in Windows 11. If you are using Windows 10, all the commands are already present in the context menu.
  • Click Scan with Microsoft Defender.
  • Wait while Windows Defender scans the drive and detects and removes the viruses (if any).
  • Once done, use the method given in the previous solution to view and unhide the hidden files.
Scan with Microsoft Defender

Solution 3: Check the Pen Drive for Errors

In some instances, you will notice that the pen drive is not showing files because of some error in the drive itself. Fortunately, Windows has a built-in error-checking and fixing mechanism that does the task well. You can follow the steps given below to check and rectify the errors that your pen drive may have:

  • Open File Explorer.
  • Right-click the USB drive icon from the right window.
  • Go to Properties.
  • Go to the Tools tab.
  • Click Check from the Error checking section.
  • Follow the on-screen instructions to check and fix the errors in the pen drive.
Error checking a drive 2

Solution 4: Fix File System Errors

If the file system of your pen drive is faulty, you may not see the files it contains either. The best way to fix such an erroneous volume is by conducting a quick format. However, because you can’t afford to lose the files it has, it is imperative to recover them before formatting.

If your pen drive is not showing files, the recovery process becomes easy when you use a third-party program that has been specifically developed for the purpose. One such application is EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard. The app is compatible with both Windows and Mac platforms and comes in two variants, namely free (with some limitations) and paid, with all the features unlocked.

You can follow the steps given below to use EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard Free (allows you to recover 2GB of data) to recover the files that your pen drive is not showing, and then format the storage device to fix the errors:

To Recover the Files

  • Use the link given above to download EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard Free and install it on your PC.
  • Launch the program if it doesn’t start automatically.
  • Hover the mouse over the pen drive icon in the right window of the main interface.
  • Click Scan when the option appears.
  • Wait while EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard Free scans for the missing files.
  • Once the process completes, check the boxes representing the files and folders you want to recover.
  • Click Recover from the bottom-right corner.
  • Use the Save to box to locate a folder you wish to save the files EaseUS recovers.
  • Close EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard once the recovery process is complete.
EaseUS Home screen

To Format the Pen Drive Not Showing Files

  • Launch File Explorer.
  • Right-click the pen drive icon from the right window.
  • Click Format.
Format flash drive 1

  • Check and confirm that NTFS or NTFS (Default) is selected in the File system menu.
    • Note: You can select exFAT if you want to use the pen drive on a Mac computer as well.
  • Check the Quick Format box if it is not already selected.
  • Click Start.
Format flash drive 2

  • Click OK on the warning box that appears next.
  • Wait while Windows formats the drive.
  • Once done, click OK on the information box and close all the boxes.
  • Move the recovered files back to the pen drive.


It could happen that your pen drive is not showing files due to a corrupt file system, faulty clusters, or a virus attack. Thankfully, Windows and some third-party vendors have developed a few effective mechanisms that help you fix the problem. We hope the solution introduced here helped you.

Joel Wilson

Joel Wilson

Joel is a fan of technology. He uses both iPhone and Android phones. Being interesting in exploring new features, he likes to share his experiences on how to use the devices in a better way. Because of his enthusiasm for technology, he becomes an "expert" to fix problems with phones and computers.

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