USB drive files cannot be seen but they are there

By hassankhalid024 ยท 16 replies
May 17, 2009
  1. Hi,

    Whenever I plug in the USB into my computer, it could detect it and seems to work alright. My computer detects it and gives the option to play the files.

    However, if I try to browse/explore the device, it's always empty(gives the 'This folder is empty' message). I can't see any of the folders or files on the device and I know they are there because when I rightclick and see the properies, the pie chart shows that some space has been used! It just happened yesterday and please tell me what to do, I have extremely important files on the USB!!!
    I have also tried searching for some files that I had on my USB but it says that it can no longer find them. It says that 'The item 'whatever I searched for'
    that this shortcut refers to has been changed or moved, so this shortcut will no longer work properly. Do you want to delete this shortcut?'

    Please help, I would appreciate any solution to the problem.. its urgent
  2. tw0rld

    tw0rld TS Maniac Posts: 572   +6

    Run checkdisk on the flash drive. Follow the instruction with the following heading: Manual steps to run Chkdsk from My Computer or Windows Explorer found at this link
  3. hassankhalid024

    hassankhalid024 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Hi tw0rld,
    Thank you for your reply. I ran the check disk via My Computer and this is the screenshot of the completed process:
    Alternative link of the screen shot:

    Any ideas on what to do next?
  4. tw0rld

    tw0rld TS Maniac Posts: 572   +6

    The Information Showed that you have 4 hidden files on the drive, but before we proceed to unhiding them ( may be system files, If drive has firmware), could you please give me more information about the drive, such as make and model. It also shows that 30 MB of your drive contains some unknown files (maybe the ones you are looking for).
  5. hassankhalid024

    hassankhalid024 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Sure sir..
    It's file system states that it is a FAT32 system file. The type is removable disk. I took another screenshot of the properties:

    I hope that's enough information... the usb does not has a specific brand name. It's just a regular usb.
    If you need to know what type of usb it is, then here's the place where I bought it:
  6. tw0rld

    tw0rld TS Maniac Posts: 572   +6

  7. hassankhalid024

    hassankhalid024 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    I followed the instructions to unhide the files and checked the box to unhide the files and folders(I have Windows Vista by the way.. but I still managed to unhide the files.). It's still not showing up the files...

    As for the thread, I followed this post:
    However I cannot run the attrib in the command prompt as it says that attrib is not recognized as internal or external command, operable program or batch file
    Please help..
  8. LookinAround

    LookinAround Ex Tech Spotter Posts: 6,491   +184

    Based on your initial post and as i read the rest of this thread, i hate to suggest it, but it's quite possible your files are really not there.

    Don't look for files/folders within Vista but from directly within a command prompt window. In the command prompt enter,
    [B] dir /a[/B] [B][I][COLOR="Blue"]driveletter:[/COLOR][/I][/B] *
    to see if anything appears (use driveletter of your USB volume)

    1. It's normal for the filesystem to use some of the space on a volume for itself (indenpendant of additional space for your folders and files)
    2. Check your Recycle Bin
    3. Try File Recovery Software (sorry i'm unfamiliar with any so can only suggest you might want to create a separate thread to inquire on recovery freeware tools)

    Hope you can find and or recover your files
  9. hassankhalid024

    hassankhalid024 TS Rookie Topic Starter


    I took a screenshop of the process:

    But it says that 128 mb out of 16 gb is used up.. I don't think that the filesystem was using that much space initially when I bought it. When I first saw its properties, it showed: 16 gb(all free space). I don't see the files in the Recycle Bin..

    I have tried File Recovery Software(about 5 of time). One showed that the initial file which I was looking for had been deleted(and I would have to buy the $40 software to restore it). However the rest showed that I had no files on that drive...

    I swear if I lost those files, my hardwork of 1 month will be lost in a split second :(
  10. LookinAround

    LookinAround Ex Tech Spotter Posts: 6,491   +184


    The snapshot you show indicates
    => a directory found.0000 (i'll guess was the result of recovery software you tried)
    => And 3 huge files (the names appear with "garbage" characters. I don't know if they represent a non-English character set? or the names are truly garbage characters

    but those 3 files are 124MB .

    I'd first try to copy your E: drive to a folder on your C: drive
    Then try opening those strange files from the C: drive with Start->Accessories->Notepad. See if there's any intelligible text within them. (if they're too big for notepad, try downloading and reading them with freeware tool called Notepad2)

    Also, do you see anything inside that found.000 folder?

    You might also try Recuva is freeware
  11. hassankhalid024

    hassankhalid024 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    They can't represent a non-English character set.. as I only have them in English so perhaps they might be really garbage characters...

    Hmm I can't open the E:drive(after copying to C drive on a New Folder) with Notepad. It says that it is empty so I can't open any files inside... also while copying.. it gave the name of a weird file(I am sure it was not on my usb when it was working properly) with some garbage text and said that it couldn't copy that to a new file.
    But I did check the file properties of the New Folder when I was done copying the E: drive into it. It says 109 mb now since it couldn't copy that weird file.

    What do you suggest?:S
  12. LookinAround

    LookinAround Ex Tech Spotter Posts: 6,491   +184

    1) Your command prompt snapshot earlier showed 3 weird files. Each about 41MB
    2) i don't know what they are either (maybe remnants of the Recovery s/w you tried? i'm really not sure)
    3) It's really an outside chance that they might contain any fragments of your documents. I have no idea. Just thought to take a look at them with notepad
    4) So might come up with a way to open them w/notepad to have a look but at the same time i don't want you to have to work at opening them without realizing the odds of them being useful aren't good :(

    Wish i had better news...
    /* EDIT */
    Have you also looked in your recycle bin??
  13. hassankhalid024

    hassankhalid024 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Yes.. I did look into the recycle bin, couldnt find them there either.
    sighs.. so there's NO way to restore the files? I thought that 128 mb of [hidden] files in it meant that those files were inside but there was a special way to open them..
  14. hellokitty[hk]

    hellokitty[hk] Hello, nice to meet you! Posts: 3,448   +145

    Windows doesn't put files deleted from an external source into the bin, not that i know of.
    Firstly, by the look of that flash drive, the brand (I forgot what it was called, starts with a b i think) is VERY unreliable, on top of that, you never keep important information even a reliable flash drive if you have no back up.

    That means windows probably can't see the files anymore, or something has moved them.

    What exactly are the files?
    I probably can't help, the only thing I can suggest is looking through again using a different computer, a windows 98 computer, or a linux or mac.
  15. hassankhalid024

    hassankhalid024 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    The files compose of some powerpoint files(the only main things), some excel files, and some other text files, and a video file: Nevertheless, everything is extremely necessary for my job. I tried checking the files of the usb on another computer and the same problem was there: The folder was empty :(

    I admit that I am stupid enough for placing those files on the usb.. but I am a human being and we all make mistakes
  16. LookinAround

    LookinAround Ex Tech Spotter Posts: 6,491   +184

    That's correct. Windows doesn't do that. However, there are some products (Norton is one) that can provides a Recycle Bin that effectively covers all your drives. (So is easier to ask someone to check their Recycle Bin rather figure out their running products) :)

    I feel your pain. It's still a long shot but i think your best chance at this point to start another thread and request info from people with experience with File Recovery Software
  17. hassankhalid024

    hassankhalid024 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Okay.. I hope that someone helps, I've created the thread:
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