How to Solve Folder Shows Empty But Files Are There?

Learn to fix folder shows empty but files are there and recover missing folders in Windows 10/11 via the corresponding ways. You can also get related tips about folders.


By Penny / Updated on April 2, 2024

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Why my folder is empty but files are there?

If you’ve copied data into a folder, please don’t worry when your folder shows empty. Without a doubt, encountering an empty folder can be confusing and problematic, especially when you urgently need the files.


So why my folder is empty but files are there? And how can I access the files saved in my folder? Thanks.

This issue is similar to the desktop Recycle Bin shows empty but it’s not. In this case, there’re two major possible reasons: hidden attributes & virus infections.


In many instances where files or folders are present but not visible, it is often due to the hidden attribute being applied. This means the files have been intentionally hidden, resulting in their absence from the folder’s display. However, the folder still retains its size, indicating the presence of hidden files.

Another potential cause for the folder appearing empty despite the existence of files is a virus or malware infection. These malicious entities can hide files and manipulate the folder’s appearance to give the impression of emptiness, despite the files still occupying space within the folder.

How do you fix folder shows empty but files are there Windows 10?

According to the above factors, this part lists five feasible ways to fix your folder shows empty but files are there.

Fix 1. Show hidden files, folders, and drives via File Explorer

As mentioned above, files can be marked as hidden, which can prevent users from accessing them in File Explorer. Please refer to the following steps to show hidden files, folders, and drives using File Explorer.

Step 1. Press Win + E to open File Explorer > click View > Options.


Step 3. When it comes to Folder Options, click View > Show hidden files, folders, and drives > Apply. Please remember to click “OK” to close the window.


If your Windows 10 shows hidden files are not working, the attrib/dir command also can change the hidden file attribute.

Fix 2. Use the Attrib command to show hidden files

Alternatively, you can use the attrib command to modify file properties and display hidden files in File Explorer because the attrib command aims to set the file attribute of a file/folder. Apart from the attrib command, you can also use the dir command to show hidden files.

Read-only (R): No written permission to change or alter the read-only file.
Hidden (H): Besides Windows apps like File Explorer, MS-DOS commands like dir are not allowed to show hidden files/folders to users. 
System (S): You can modify the priority of the file/folder.
Archive (A): If the hosting file has been changed since the last backup, the backup tool will inevitably erase it after a full/incremental backup.

Step 1. Enter “cmd” in the search bar on your PC and “Run as administrator” to open it.


Step 2. Copy “attrib –h –r –s /s /d G:\*.*” in the command prompt window. In this case, the letter G is the drive letter of your hard drive that saves your hidden files. You can replace G based on your needs.


Step 3. After the process, you’ll find a new folder with your desired files saved on your Windows PC. You can also change their formats and store them in another path.

Fix 3. Use the Disk Check utility to check & repair disk errors

If your folder shows empty but files are there Windows 10, which indicates there exist disk errors. Then you cannot read files from the disk. At the moment, you can perform a disk check using the Disk Check tool. This tool identifies and automatically corrects file system errors, ensuring the proper loading and writing of data from the hard disk.   

If the disk check could not be performed, you can find fixes on another page.

Step 1. Open This PC or My Computer > right-click on your local hard drive > select Properties.

Step 2. Under the Tools tab, click the “Check” button.


Step 3. Click the “Repair drive” button.


Fix 4. Run the troubleshooter in Hardware and Devices

Windows provides a built-in utility called Troubleshoot for diagnosing and resolving common computer issues. The Hardware and Device troubleshooter specifically detects hardware changes and resolves hardware-related problems, including driver issues.

If you are experiencing your folder shows empty but files are there Windows 10, run the Hardware and Device troubleshooter to help you identify and fix hardware problems.

Step 1. Press “Win + I” to open Windows Settings and go to Update & Security.


Step 2. Click “Troubleshoot” on the left, then Run the troubleshooter under the Hardware and Devices tab.


Fix 5. Run a full scan to remove detected viruses

Sometimes, a virus can be responsible for this problem. Have you disabled Windows Defender or received a warning from antivirus software? If so, running a full scan to remove ransomware viruses is recommended.  

Following the appropriate steps, you can overcome this frustrating problem and regain access to your valuable data. If your SD card is blank or has unsupported file systems, you can also adopt this way.

Step 1. Open Windows Settings by pressing the “Win + I” buttons, then go to Update & Security > Windows Security > Virus & threat protection.


Step 2. Click the “Scan options” button.


Step 3. Select “Full scan” and click “Scan now” to start the scanning process. Please wait patiently.


Further reading: How to recover missing folder in Windows 10/11?

If the attrib command is not working or the above fixes are useless, which implies your desired folder has been deleted or removed from your computer hard drive. So how to recover missing folder in Windows 10 or 11 PCs?

Users who’re diligent in creating regular backups can easily retrieve their required folders from the backup copies, eliminating the need for data recovery software.

In the absence of backups, you may need to rely on third-party tools like MyRecover for file retrieval.

Supported by advanced technology, MyRecover can help you recover deleted & lost folders from internal and external hard drives within three steps.

Key features of MyRecover:
All-inclusive: Apply to a variety of data loss scenarios such as deletion, disk formatting, system crashes, or virus attacks.
High-efficiency: Recover 200+ types of files such as folders, Microsoft Word, Excel, PPT, and WPS files, compressed files, photos, audio, songs, videos, and websites from internal & external HDDs, USB sticks, SD cards, etc.   
Advanced scanning method: MyRecover runs Quick Scan & Deep Scan automatically to search all the recoverable files. Specify the filename, saved path, date, or size to filter your needed files.   
Convenience: Retain the original filename, path, and format for the deleted files.
Excellent compatibility: Support NTFS, FAT32, exFAT, and ReFS file systems.

Download MyRecover on your Windows 11, 10, 8, 7, or Server PC to get your folder back!

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

Step 1. Launch MyRecover > Hover the mouse over the drive saved deleted files before, and click Scan.


Step 2. MyRecover will automatically scan your drive and detect all the recoverable folders and files.

Filter your needed Documents folder or saved files according to Document Type, Name, Date, or Path.

  • Name: Type the relevant filenames in the search bar to locate your desired deleted/lost files quickly.
  • Date modified: Set a customized date (today, yesterday, last 7 or 30 days, etc.)
  • Size: Filter the file size (<128KB, 128KB~1MB, 1MB~512MB, etc.)


Step 3. Go to the Deleted Files/Recycle Bin/Other Missing Files folder and select your desired folder or files. Then click “Recover x files” to start the document recovery process. 


After recovery, please store your retrieved folder or its files in another drive instead of the original hard drive.
MyRecover can recover your 500MB of files for free. If you desire to recover a large number of deleted & missing files from local hard drives, upgrading MyRecover to the Professional or Technician edition is a more cost-effective choice.    

Relevant Q&A about folder recovery

Are you wondering how to solve folder shows empty but files are there? How to recover missing folder in Windows 10 or 11 PCs? Please get the corresponding fixes to resolve these issues. Besides, there’re related tips about folders.

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.