USB Files Not Showing but Space Used? Fixed!

Find why USB files not showing but space used in this article. You can also fix this issue and get several data loss prevention measures to prevent USB data loss.


By Penny / Updated on April 3, 2024

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The USB drive is a convenient storage device for data storage, backup, and transmission for different devices. Generally speaking, users usually bring partially filled USB drives for emergencies or urgent storage needs.


But some users are not permitted to save new files because of few available used space. For example, some of them have received error messages as follows.



There is not enough free space on the hard drive. Delete one or more files to free disk space, and then try again.

If you’re bothered by similar problems, you’ve come to the right place because this post explains possible reasons and provides feasible fixes.

Why are USB drive files not showing but space used?

“Why is my USB drive full but no files visible?” If you can’t see files on USB drives, please get an overview of the following possible reasons.

 Your USB files might be hidden: 

File attributes are a type of metadata that describes how files and directories are in a filesystem. If the file attribute of your USB files has been set as Hidden, you’ll be discouraged from accessing these files in File Explorer.

The file size is too large for the file system:

If you attempt to transfer a sizable file to a USB drive that has been formatted with the FAT32, you may get an error warning that reads the file is too large for the destination file system. Because the FAT32 system imposes a restriction on file copying, limiting files to a maximum size of 4GB.


Corrupted file systems or bad sectors:

Damaged file systems could prevent USB files from showing up. Besides, old USB drives also give rise to impediments in reading and writing functionalities.

Sometimes, the USB stick might display unallocated space because of virus attacks or incorrect formatting. So it’s advisable to recover files from your corrupted USB drive before fixing it.

How to fix: USB files not showing but space used?

Why are USB files not showing but space used Windows 10? It’s a little similar to hard disks full but no files Windows 10.

As mentioned above, it might be caused by logical damage or file system corruption. Besides, the hidden file attribute is also responsible for this issue. When it comes to solutions, there’re five efficient fixes for you. 

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

As the title suggests, this method aims to reappear hidden USB files or folders with File Explorer. Please refer to the following steps.

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


Step 2. In the Folder Options window, click View > tick Show hidden files, folders, and drives > click Apply > OK to change the hidden file attribute.


However, if your Windows 10 show hidden files not working, you can use the attrib/dir command to show hidden files.

Fix 2. Restart your PC and reconnect the USB drive

This might be a temporary error. You can try to restart your Windows OS and reconnect the USB stick to your computer to resolve this issue.


Fix 3. Fix corrupted USB drives via CHKDSK

Built-in Windows OS, CHKDSK offers a promising avenue for redressing file system glitches and rehabilitating damaged sectors.


Please remember to type CHKDSK with /f, /r, /x, or /b parameters to fix corrupted USB drives because CHDSK only can examine and show disk status instead of repairing disk errors.

Step 1. Connect your USB to the Windows > type “cmd” in the search bar > select Run as administrator to open the command prompt window.


Step 2. Type “chkdsk F: /f /r /x” in the window. This command line will automatically fix the detected USB errors. Please replace F with the real drive letter of your USB stick.


Fix 4. Format the USB drive

If the above fix is useless, please seek help from the Disk Management utility to format the USB drive. This way also can help you solve the SD card that won’t format in Windows.

Though disk formatting is an efficient solution to fix drive corruption and eliminate the 4GB file transfer limitation that is linked to devices employing the FAT32 format, it can erase all the existing data on your USB stick.

Step 1. Connect the USB stick to your Windows PC > press Win + X > select Disk Management to open this utility.


Step 2. After entering the interface of Disk Management, right-click on your connected USB > select Format.


Step 3. Select the NTFS file system and click “OK” to save these modifications.


Fix 5. Repair corrupted partitions via TestDisk

TestDisk, an open-source file recovery utility, is specifically engineered to facilitate the retrieval of lost partitions or to render non-booting disks functional once again.

This freely accessible software is compatible with a wide array of prominent operating systems.


If your USB drive files not showing but space used, you can try to use TestDisk to repair corrupted partitions.

How to recover files from USB drives that are full but showing empty?

So how to recover USB files? In this scenario, the most efficient way is to use powerful USB recovery software if there’s no file backup.

MyRecover stands out in the market because of its high data recovery rate, friendly GUI (graphical user interface), and good compatibility.

Supported by its advanced scanning method, MyRecover is designed to recover deleted and missing files from varied brands of USB drives (Sandisk, Samsung, Kingston, etc.) and other local storage devices.

  • After data loss, please stop loading new files to your USB to prevent data coverage. After data erasure, it can decrease its USB data recovery rate.
  • After USB data recovery, please remember to save your retrieved files in a new path instead of the original USB stick.
  • Upgrading MyRecover is a more cost-effective choice for those users who prefer to recover plenty of deleted or missing USB files.
★Key features of MyRecover:
Recover 200+ types of files: images, audio, videos, MS Office files, WPS files, folders, compressed files, websites, etc.
Combined scanning method: MyRecover can automatically run Quick Scan and Deep Scan to detect all the recoverable files on your selected local drive.
Easy-to-find: After recovery, MyRecover can keep the original format, filename, path, and size for the deleted files.
Excellent compatibility: Support Windows 11, 10, 8, 7, or Server PC and 4 file systems (NTFS, FAT32, exFAT, and ReFS).
Download Software Windows 11/10/8/7/Server
Secure Download

Step 1. After connecting your USB to the Windows, run MyRecover on your Windows > hover the mouse over your connected USB stick > click Scan.


Step 2. After clicking Start Scan, MyRecover can automatically run Quick Scan and Deep Scan to search all the retrievable USB files.

During scanning, you can filter/preview your desired USB files according to Filename, Document Type, Path, Size, Date, etc.

  • Name: Enter the filename of your wanted USB files to narrow the search area.
  • Date modified: Set the date (today, yesterday, last 7/30 days, etc.)
  • Size: Filter file size (<128KB, 128KB~1MB, 1MB~512MB, etc.)


Step 3. Under the Other Missing Files folder, select the USB files you intend to retrieve > click Recover x files.


Related suggestions

Why are USB drive files not showing but space used? How to fix USB files not showing but space used? Or how to recover deleted files from USB drives? After reading this article, you may find the corresponding answer.

When it comes to deleted USB files, those users without regular file backups may have no choice but to seek help from trustworthy data recovery software like MyRecover.

  • To prevent further data loss, it’s time to develop a good habit of making regular backups with this free Windows backup software, AOMEI Backupper Standard because it offers more flexible backup options and simpler operating steps than Windows backup options.


  • Please don’t eject your USB as it reads, writes, or transfers data.
  • You’re recommended to eject the connected USB stick after seeing this message: Safely to eject.
  • Please think twice before deletion.
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.