How to Solve Files Not Showing in External Hard Drive

external hard drive not showing up

external hard drive not showing up

External hard drive not showing up: Many people have complained the issue that files don’t show in external hard drive while the external hard drive can be recognized with used disk space. Even though it’s commonly seen, most people don’t know how to get rid of it.

It must be incredibly frustrating as you can’t access to your files. But there is no need to worry too much. This is because in many cases, you have chance to restore the missing files from external hard drive.

Reasons for External Hard Drive Not Showing Files

Here, I list some main causes for issue of files not showing in external hard drive in Windows.

1. File System Error

If the file system of the hard drive is corrupted or it has an unrecognized file system, the files saved in it would be invisible.

2. Files Hidden

It is possible that the files in external hard drive are not missing. They are just hidden by improper operation or virus infection.

3. Wrong Checked Value Data Value

Sometime, virus infection may lead to wrong CheckedValue data in Registry Editor. So, external hard drive would fail to show files saved in it.

4. Outdated Device Driver

Outdated device driver may cause files not displaying in external hard drive, especially when it is connected to a computer that never plugs before.

5. Corrupted Mirror Image

Corrupted or damaged mirror image in memory of external hard drive may cause system not responding or refreshing timely, thus, files are invisible.

With understanding the possible reasons, it is easier to find solutions to fix files not showing in hard drive. If you are suffering this problem, please follow this guide below to start the work.

6 Solutions to Files Not Showing in External Hard Drive

In this segment, we will be going to show you some practical alternatives to resolve hard drive detected but not showing files problem. 

Method 1: Reboot Your PC and Reconnect External Hard Drive

Apply to: hard drive fails to show files due to corrupted mirror image or sudden power failure.  

Try restarting computer and reconnecting the external hard drive in order to fix the corrupted mirror image. In addition, you may check the USB cable and USB port to see there is something wrong with them.

Method 2: Modify Settings in Registry Editor

Apply to: Virus invasion causes faulty CheckedValue data value.

Please follow these steps to fix it:

① Run Registry Editor by typing Regedit in Windows Run dialog.

② Go to this location: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE > SOFTWARE > Microsoft > Windows > CurrentVersion > Explorer > Advanced > Folder > Hidden > SHOWALL.

③ Find CheckedValue on right panel. Right click it to see its data value.

④ If the value is not 1, delete CheckedValue. Then, right click the blank to create a DWOR and rename it CheckedValue. Finally, set its value data as 1.

Method 3: Check File System Issues

Apply to: hard drive has unrecognized file system or corrupted file system.

In this circumstance, you can run Windows check disk utility to fix file system errors. But you’d better recover data from external hard drive in advance to avoid data loss during the fixing.

How to run CHKDSK:

① In This PC, right click the target hard drive and choose Properties.

② Click Tools tab, and then click Check now.

③ Check Automatically fix file system errors on the pop-up window. Click Start to confirm.

Method 4: Update Device Driver

Apply to: Driver of the hard drive is outdated or corrupted.

Device driver is a tool that tells system and other programs how to interact with corresponding hardware. If the driver is out of date, computer will be unable to send and receive files correctly. You have 2 options to update the device drivers.  

Option 1 – update driver in Device Manager

① Connect the hard drive to your computer.

② Enter Device Manager. Click Universal Serial Bus controllers and locate your external hard drive in the device list.

③ Right click it and choose Update driver or Uninstall device.

Option 2 – update driver via manufacturer website

Another way to update device driver is to go to its manufacturer website, find the specific version to manually download and install it on your computer.

Method 5: Show Hidden Files in External Hard Drive

Apply to: Files in hard drive have been hidden resulting from careless operation or virus invasion.

Option 1 – Unhide Files in Control Panel

① Go to Control Panel. Click Appearance and Personalization.

② You can see Folder Option window. Click View.

③ Check the option show hidden files, folders, and drives.

Option 2 – Unhide Files via Command Prompt

① Type cmd in Windows Run dialog. Press Enter to open Command Prompt.

② If drive letter of your hard drive is J, type this command attrib -h -r -s /s /d K:*.* and press Enter.

③ Exit the window when the command lines finishes.

Method 6: Recover Lost Data from External Hard Drive

Apply to: Files and folders saved in hard drive have been deleted by human error or virus invasion. Or partitions in external hard drive are lost.

If files don’t exist in the hard drive any longer, you have to perform files recovery as soon as possible. To avoid data overwritten, you’d better not add new data to the drive. Then, follow the steps below to recover data from hard drive with MiniTool Power Data Recovery.

Step 1: Run this data recovery program on your Windows computer.

Step 2: On the main interface, choose Hard Disk Drive recoverymodule to begin.

Step 3: Select the target external hard drive on the disk map, and then click Scan.

Step 4: When the scanning process completes, check the results to choose and preview the need files. Then, click Save to set a destination to store the selected files. Note: the original hard drive should not be chosen as the storage location.

external hard drive not showing up

After finishing hard drive data recovery, you may choose to reformat it to make it reusable without issues, especially the files not showing in external hard drive is caused by drive logical error, such as bad sectors.

Other Solutions for External Hard Drive Not Showing Files

1. Run an Antivirus Scan

Except for hard drive not displaying data, if you are experiencing computer running slow, frequent pop-ups or program interruption, it is likely that your computer is infected with malware or viruses. So, try running antivirus scan to remove viruses and keep computer and data safe.

2. Check External Hard Drive in Disk Management

If your external displays on computer abnormally or doesn’t show its files, you may go to Disk Management to check whether it has no drive letter. If so, assign a drive letter to it.

3. Damaged External Hard Drive

External hard drive may get physically damaged by drop or sudden power failure when drive is in use. In this case, you may take it to a store for help. Or you may replace it with a new one.

Bottom Line

That’s all for the solutions to files not showing in external hard drive error. You can follow any of them to fix the problem by yourself. Hopefully, you can get rid of it with these methods. Please remember to make a backup for the important files to ensure data security.  

If you have any ideas or thoughts about this topic, please let us know by leaving comments in the section below. Thanks!

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