Can’t Find Saved Files on My USB

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Flash drives, also known as pen drives or USB drives, allow you to carry data easily in a portable storage unit. If you’re unable to access or view files and folders on your flash drive, there are a few common errors that ma be causing the issue. For example, you might have inserted your USB drive and can see that space is taken, but no files appear. The most common reason you’re unable to see your files is because they are in Hidden mode. However, the flash drive could also have been infected by a virus, the files could have been accidentally saved in another location, the pen drive could be physically damaged, or the files or folders could have been deleted. Here, we will provide an overview of troubleshooting this issue on your PC or Mac, for all types of pen drives.

N.B. This FAQ is also applicable to files missing on external hard drives, flash drives, USB drives, or pen drives.



Check if Pen Drive Files Are in Hidden Mode

If you’re unable to view the files on your pen drive, they may be in Hidden mode. To check on your PC, open the Search tool, enter cmd, and press Enter. In the Command Prompt that opens, enter the following command:


attrib -h -r -s /s /d g:\*.*

The G should be replaced by the driver letter of your pen drive. After typing the command, click Enter. Now, navigate back to your pen drive and check if the files appear. If they still do not appear, try the other options to uncover hidden files and check your flash drive for physical damage or a virus.

Display Hidden Files from the Folder in Windows 10

If you’re using Windows 10, connect your pen drive. In the File Explorer, click the View tab. Then, check the Hidden items box. Return to the pen drive and check if your files are visible. If not, you will need to check if the files or pen drive is corrupted by a virus.

Display Hidden Files from the Folder in Windows 7

If you are, instead, using Windows 7, go to Start, Control Panel, and then click Appearance and Personalization. Select Folder Options, then go to the View tab. Under Advanced Settings, check Show hidden files, folders, and drives, and click OK. Next, connect your flash drive and check if your files appear. If they still do not appear, try a data recovery tool such as WinRAR. You should also check for a virus.

Pen Drive Doesn’t Display File on Mac

If your files are missing on a Mac, go to the main search bar and find Terminal. Enter the following text command:

defaults write com.apple.Finder 
AppleShowAllFiles YES

Press Enter to run. Press and hold the alt key, click Finder, and then select Relaunch. Navigate back to your pen drive and the files should appear. If not, you should check your flash drive for a virus.

Use WinRAR To Find Hidden Files

Another option is to use WinRAR, which is an archiving tool used to manage compressed or hidden files. After downloading the tool and completing installation, open WinRAR and locate your pen drive. This tool should automatically display missing files and folders in your flash drive.

Pen Drive Has A Virus or is Corrupted

Check if the pen drive is infected by a virus by running a scan on your antivirus software. If there is a virus present, you will need to reformat the USB drive.


If the flash drive is corrupted, then you will need to reformat (repair) it. To repair your USB drive from the command prompt, go to Search, type cmd, and press Enter. Right-click on cmd.exe, then select Run as administrator. Enter the following command, and select Enter to repair the USB:

chkdsk h: /f

If these procedures do not work and you have not saved a copy of your data, unfortunately you will be unable to recover the missing data.


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Jean-François Pillou

Jean-François Pillou - Founder of CCM
Better known as Jeff, Jean-François Pillou is the founder of CommentCaMarche.net. He is also CEO of CCM Benchmark and digital director at the Figaro Group.

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