How to Find Pictures on External Hard Drive in Windows 11/10/8/7

Sometimes, you can't access pictures from your old hard drive. Read this article to learn how to find pictures on external hard drive on Windows 11,10,8,7.


By Lora / Updated on April 2, 2024

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Help! Can't find photos on external hard drive


When I connect the old drive to my new computer, to my surprise, it shows empty! Any idea on how can I find all pictures on the old hard drive?


Most users prefer to save their photos on an external hard drive storage device. But sometimes when you connect your external drive to a computer to view or manage your photos, you can’t find your photos there. This problem is not rare, especially if you are using an old external hard drive.

So, how to find pictures on external hard drive? This article will provide you with five solutions. It doesn't matter whether you want to find all the pictures on hard drive for Windows 7 or Windows 10.

external hard disk

Cases of finding pictures on external hard drive

Before exploring solutions, let's look at some common scenarios where you need to find photos. Here are a few several reasons why there arises a need for searching pictures on your hard drive:

💿 The picture is deleted on the hard drive-Accidental deletion, NTFS to FAT hard disk, metadata structure damage, etc. may cause pictures to be deleted.
❗ Too many images loss-Pictures on your hard drive come from different sources, so they are in different formats, such as JPEG, PNG, GIF, TIFF, etc. In some cases, when they are corrupted or misplaced in certain folders or subfolders, it is not an easy task to recover or find them.
👴 The picture is hidden-In some cases, due to virus or malware attack, encryption, "Show Hidden Files" is disabled, etc., your hard drive will not show pictures even if there are pictures on your hard drive.
🔧 The hard drive is crashed-Corrupted firmware, hardware failure that crashed the drive, and some files, including pictures, were lost.

How to find all pictures on external hard drive on Windows 10/11/8/7

Now, here are five different ways for different situations to help you know how to find photos on external hard drive. The first three methods are mainly used to find and recover deleted or lost pictures, the latter two are mainly to help you find some hidden pictures.

Solution 1. Find and recover all lost or deleted pictures on hard drive use data recovery software ★★★ ★★

The easiest way to find all lost or deleted pictures on external hard drive is to use professional data recovery software. Regardless of the situation mentioned above, this way can help you find and recover permanently deleted or lost files on your hard drive.

MyRecover is a powerful and reliable Windows file recovery tool that is highly compatible with Windows 11, 10, 8, 7. It embeds advanced scanning algorithms that are automatically executed in the optimal order to provide the best data recovery results.

Key features of MyRecover:

Find and recover photos in any file format. It allows you to search and recover deleted or lost photos of various file formats like JPG/JPEG/JPE, PNG, TIF/TIFF, HEVC/HEIC/HEIF, GIF, PSD, SVG, ARW, X3F, etc.
● All-inclusive data loss situation. It can help you recover photos from formatted hard drive, accidental deletion, system crash, virus attack.
● Supports more than 200 file types. No matter what you've lost, text, pictures, videos, audios, emails, compressed files, etc., this tool makes it easy to search for them.
● Easy-to-use. The simple and intuitive interface makes it easy for anyone to perform the entire process.

Free download and install MyRecover on your computer, read on to learn how to recover photos from external hard drive.

Download SoftwareWin 11/10/8/7/Server
Secure Download

Step 1. Run MyRecover > connect your external storage device to the PC > hover the mouse over the drive and click Scan to scan.

select the formatted partition to scan

Step 2. It will check all lost files on this disk, you can recover files during the scan. To quickly find certain files, you can search for files or folders in the search box or click Filter to choose specific files.

search files

Step 3. If you find the picture you need, click Recover x files and select a destination to save the recovered files. One thing to consider here is not to save files to your hard drive where you have deleted or lost data.

recover lost data

Solution 2. Recover deleted photos on hard drive from Recycle Bin

From the above cases, we can know that sometimes the picture cannot be found because the picture is deleted. When a file is deleted, it goes to the Recycle Bin. So, your deleted files can be easily restored from the Recycle Bin to where they were deleted.

Step 1. For this, just go to your desktop and double-click the Recycle Bin icon.

Step 2. Locate and select the picture or the folder containing the desired picture.

Step 3. Now, just right-click or double-click on the selection and click Restore. This will restore the deleted files to their original locations.

recycle bin restore

Solution 3. Find and retrieve photos from external hard drive with Backup

One of the best options for restoring or finding all lost or deleted pictures on your hard drive is to use the backup option. Backups are a great way to protect your precious files and come in handy if you face data loss.

If you regularly back up your computer, you can find and retrieve photos using the built-in file history backup feature. Steps on how to retrieve photos from external hard drive using a Backup:

Step 1. Type Control Panel and open it in the search box > click System and Security > tap File History.


Step 2. Make sure your File History is on, select Restore personal files on the left panel.

file history turn on

Step 3. Select all the pictures you need to recover, or you can search for them in the search box > click the green button > choose a new location to save them.

file history restore jpg

Solution 4. View hidden photos on external hard drive using Files Explorer

Finding hidden pictures is not an easy task because you don't know where those pictures are placed. Luckily, this solution will work for you.

Steps to find pictures on external hard drive:

Step 1. Open File Explorer. If you can't find it, you can search for it from the search bar.

Step 2. Click on the View tab > select hidden items.

hidden items

Step 3. To go in detail, double-click on Options.

Step 4. Go to the View tab > scroll down to find the Show Hidden files, folders, drives option at the Advanced settings tab. Alternatively, you can also uncheck the Hide protected operating system files option.

Step 5. Click Apply and tap OK.

show hidden files windows 10

Solution 5. Find hidden photos via Command Prompt

In addition to finding hidden photos from File Explorer, you can also use the attrib command to show hidden pictures. Usually, common attributes of files are read-only, archived, hidden and system. The attrib command can be used to display and modify the attributes of files and directories.

You can use this command to change its properties to show hidden directories and restore files. It is available from the command prompt of all Windows operating systems.

Steps to recover hidden photos from external hard:

Step 1. Connect your external drive to the computer > type cmd in the search box > select Command Prompt > right-click on it > choose Run as administrator.

run as administrator

Step 2. Type the command in the window: attrib -h -r -s /s /d drive letter:\*.* > hit Enter. (Replace the “drive letter” in the command with the letter of your drive.)

For example, if your drive letter is F, the command you need to type is: attrib -h -r -s /s /d F:\*.*

attrib cmd

The meaning of the attrib command parameters:
 assigns the Hidden attribute to the selected files.
r refers to Read-only attribute, which means files are readable but non-modifiable.
s assigns System attribute to the selected files.
/s applies the attribute and any command line options to matching files in the current directory and all its subdirectories.
/d applies the attribute and any command line options to the directory.


That’s all for how to find pictures on external hard drive. When you can't find your photos on your hard drive, you can use the methods in this guide to find them. In order to find and restore pictures faster and more accurately, it is recommended that you use MyRecover. With this tool, you can easily recover permanently deleted files from any storage devices in Windows 7,8,10,11.

Lora · Editor
Lora is an editor of AOMEI Technology. She is also a tester and editor of AOMEI Data Recovery Tools. -- "Keep testing, write the most useful tutorials for helping people recover the lost data for Windows and phones" is the most meaningful thing for her. Dedicated to creating helpful tutorials, she hopes her tutorial can assist users to effortlessly solve data loss problems on their personal computers and mobile phones.