Can’t See Files on USB? Fixed!

Can’t see files on USB? Get four methods to show hidden files on USB drives and recover deleted files from USB drives on this page. You can also get relevant data loss prevention suggestions.


By Penny / Updated on April 3, 2024

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I can’t see files on my USB!


I have Windows 7 pro, but it is not reading my ScanDisk USB flash drive files. It reads the drive and loads it on My Computer, but I click on them it says no files. The files are there when I run virus protection, but I can’t access or see them at all when I’m clicking on the drive itself. Can someone help me? Thanks.     

- A user from Microsoft Community   

USB is known as USB flash drives, USB drives/sticks, pen drives, or thumb drives. It is a portable storage device that can save and transfer data among different devices. You can also use it to make a bootable USB media to make your Windows become bootable.


But some of you might say:

I can’t see files on USB drives, or USB files not showing up but space used Windows 10. So how to browse files on USB drives?

How to view files on USB drive?

These common reasons may discourage you from browsing files on USB sticks.  

USB files are hidden: Windows File Explorer or MS-DOS commands such as attrib/dir command can’t show hidden files, folders, and drives.  
Deletion: Both accidental and intentional deletion could be the most common data loss scenarios. After deletion, there will be no sign of your desired files on USB sticks. That might be the reason why you can’t see files on USBs.
Corrupted/damaged file systems: If the file system of your USB is corrupted, you’re not likely to open them. Not to mention viewing them.
Virus infection or attacks.

If your files copied to the USB drive have disappeared, you can also refer to the methods below.

Part 1. Use command prompt to recover hidden files in USB

As mentioned above, hidden files is a top data loss scenario. If you’re not familiar with CMD, you can try to show hidden files, folders, and drivers with File Explorer.

Connect the USB to your computer. Then press Win + E to open File Explorer. Then click your USB > View > Options > View > Show hidden files, folders, and drives.


However, if Windows 10 shows hidden files not working, you can try another two ways to show hidden files.  

Solution 1. Use the attrib command to show hidden files

The attrib command is designed to show or not show hidden files in Windows. There’re four common attributes for your reference.   

Read-only (R): You can only access and read this type of file rather than modify it. 
Hidden (H): MS-DOS commands such as attrib or dir and Windows apps like Windows File Explorer cannot display hidden files by default.
System (S): Mark a file/folder as an important file system and you plan to set its priority.  
Archive (A): If there’s something new after the last backup, the backup tool will delete this backup automatically after making a full/incremental backup.

Step 1. Connect your USB to the computer. Type “cmd” in the search bar and “Run as administrator” to open it.


Step 2. Type “attrib –h –r –s /s /d G:\*.*” in the command prompt window. In this case, the letter G is the drive letter of your USB. You can change it based on your needs.


Step 3. After the process, there will be a new folder that saves your needed files. If you need, you can change their formats and store them in another location.

Solution 2. Use the dir command to show hidden files

Similarly, you can use the dir command to show hidden files. Let’s show how it works.   

dir /ah: Show all hidden files and hidden directories in the current directory. 
dir /ah-d: Show all hidden files in the current directory (the one you’re in) but not hidden directories.
dir /a: Show all files and directories including hidden files and directories in the current directory.

Step 1. Connect your USB to the PC. Then type “cmd” in the search bar and click “Run as administrator” to open the command prompt window.


Step 2. Copy “dir F: /a:h /b /s” in the command prompt window and hit “Enter” or press “OK” to show hidden files in F drive.


You can also replace F with your needed drive letter. After the process, you can open your USB drive to see if there’re files you want.

Part 2. Recover deleted files from USB drives via data recovery tools

As you can see, if the attrib command cannot work for you, or the above methods cannot help you access hidden files on USB. You’d better use data recovery software to recover deleted files from USB drives.

Solution 1. Recover deleted files from USB drives via Windows File Recovery

Windows File Recovery devotes to recovering lost files from internal and external hard drives, USB drives, SD cards, SSD, and other storage devices.


Basic (extensive & regular) modes and advanced (Signature & Signature) modes can support four (NFS, ReFS, exFAT, and FAT32) file systems.


Windows File Recovery only works well with Windows 10 and above.
This command-line software cannot recover cloud storage and network files.
There’s no GUI (graphical user interface) for you.
You need to resemble the basic command line winfr source-drive: destination-drive: [/mode] [/switches] according to your selected mode and switches.

Please refer to these steps to figure out the file system of your USB stick.

Step 1. Connect your USB to the computer and press “Win + E” to open File Explorer. Click This PC > right-click on your connected USB > select Properties.


Similarly, you can also refer to the following form to check the file system.

File system


FAT and exFAT

SD cards, flash or USB drives (< 4GB)


Computers (HDD, SSD), external hard drives, flash or USB drives (> 4GB)

Step 2. Select the basic “Regular” or “Extensive” mode after learning the file system of your USB drive and data loss scenarios.

File system




Deleted recently



Deleted for a while



Formatted disk



corrupted disk


FAT and exFAT



Step 3. Choose some switches from the following form.



Supported          modes


Recover specific extension groups, comma-separated



Saves a log file of the recovery operation in a different location than the default location on the recovery drive (for example, D:\logfile).



Overrides user prompts, which is useful in a script file.



Recovers undeleted files, for example, from the Recycle Bin.

NTFS Segment


Recovers system files.

NTFS Segment​​​​​


Recovers files without primary data streams.

NTFS Segment


To keep your results manageable and focus on user files, some file types are filtered by default, but this switch removes that filter. 

NTFS Segment


Specifies which file types are filtered.

NTFS Segment

Step 4. Go to Microsoft Store and click “Get” to download this tool on your Windows 10/11 computers. Then “Open” it.


Step 5. How to recover deleted files from USB drives? Let’s take recently deleted PDF files as an example.

  • If you need to retrieve PDF files from the F drive and save them in the D drive, enter “winfr F: D: /regular /n*.pdfin the command prompt window. 


Step 6. Please copy the above command line in the command prompt window. To start the process, press the “y” key. You can also press “Ctrl + C” to stop the thumb drive data recovery process.

Solution 2. Recover deleted files from USB drives via data recovery software

Undeniably, free Windows File Recovery can discourage non-tech users from utilizing it because there’s no GUI (graphical user interface).

Compared with Windows File Recovery, MyRecover is a more friendly data recovery tool for non-tech users to recover deleted files from USB drives. With an intuitive GUI, it’s easy for you to recover files within three steps.   

Powerful features & friendly design::   
Recover deleted/lost Word, Excel, PPT, PDF, photos, videos, audio, folders, and other 200+ types of data from HDD, USB, SD cards, and other storage devices.
Keep the original format for the deleted/lost files.
During Quick Scan and Deep Scan, you can enter filenames in the search bar to find your desired files or wait to see all the deleted and missing files.   
Support NTFS, exFAT, FAT32, and ReFS file systems.

Download MyRecover on your Windows 11, 10, 8, 7, or Windows Server computers to recover deleted files from USB drives!

Download Software Windows 11/10/8/7/Server
Secure Download

Step 1. Launch MyRecover on your PC and connect your USB to the computer. Then hover the mouse over the USB partition and click Scan.


Step 2. Locate your desired files by Name, Date, Type, Size, or Path. After Quick Scan and Deep Scan, you can also wait to view all the files and other missing files.


Step 3. Go to the Deleted Files/Other Missing Files folder, and click “Recover x files” to get your selected files back. Please remember to store these recovered files in another location.


Related suggestions

If you’re bothered by you can’t see files on USB, you’re supposed to check whether the files are hidden from you or not. For the deleted files, MyRecover could be your top choice because there’s no need for you to recover deleted files using CMD.

Most importantly, it’s time for you to develop a good habit of making regular file, folder, partition, disk, or system backups using free backup software for Windows.

Penny · Editor
Penny works as an editor at AOMEI Technology, while she's a tester and editor for AOMEI Data Recovery Tools. She enjoys helping users with data recovery issues on Windows and iPhones using simple and practical solutions. Outside of work, she has a strong affection for pets, particularly giant pandas.