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Can't see files in external HDD and they're not hidden!

Last response: in Storage
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October 24, 2010 3:26:33 PM

I have a pretty bizarre problem with my 350GB AData Hard Drive, FAT format. I'm using Windows 7 (which apparently is known to have problems with USB HDDs). Okay, so here's the story:

Yeterday my HDD was working fine. I was moving files and folders around in it, copying things from my PC to it and so forth. I put my computer to sleep and then unplugged my HDD to take it to my office. When I plugged in at my office computer the HDD wasn't labeled and it only showed a single 2GB file called "USBC8T+à.". I tried scanning my drive with an antivirus and it said the drive wasn't accessible. So I brought it back home, thinking it was a problem with my office PC. But the damage was already done, my home computer also only showed the 2GB file.

I clicked on Properties->Tools->Check Now... only clicked on the "Automatically fix file system errors" checkbox and when it was finished it said that nothing was wrong. After that I ran it again but now I clicked both checkboxes, searching and fixing for bad sectors. While that was running my computer decided it was a good idea to have one of it's most annoying and sporadic errors happen...it shut down out of nothing, interrupting the scan. When I restarted it and checked my drive it didn't show the 2GB file anymore. Add to that that when I tried running the error-checking tool again it just closed and didn't say anything. Also, if I just click on Properties, it shows that I have 220GB of used space and about 70GB of free space, So my files are still there. I clicked on Show Hidden Files and Folders and it only shows 5 files: Recycle Bin, Recycle Bin.BIN, System Volume Information, FOUND.000, and FOUND.001 (none of which I have ANY idea what they are and what the files they contain mean).

I then plugged my drive to my other home computer which is running on XP. Tried the error-checking tool again, checking both checkboxes and again it didn't show any problems. After that I ran EASEUS Data Recovery Wizard Professional 4.3.6, and after 7 hours it showed that it found about 1061GB of data to recover. More than three times what my HDD's capacity is! Plus, I honestly didn't understand a thing of what it had found because the folders and files were not called the same and they were simply TOO many. And since it'a a TB of data to recover, I obviously have no space ANYWHERE on any computer to recover that data to. So now I'm running PC Inspector File Recovery 4.0 to see if it has a more understandable solution. Thing is, it'll take 4000+ minutes to finish scanning my drive.

Is there any other explanation or solution for this!? Has this happened to anyone else? Or should I just resign and format my drive and just lose all my files?
December 22, 2011 12:34:19 AM

There is an alternative method through which you can make the device to view its contents. All you need to do is to:

Click on the start button.
Go to to My computer option.
Then organize to the option.
Go to folder and search options.
Click on View Tab.
Uncheck the Hide empty drives in computer folder.
Click Ok.
March 17, 2013 12:57:29 AM

I Faced the same problem with my external harddrive.
After going to numerous post on net could not find a solution. Then tried some work around myself and got solution to viewing your files and recovering them.

A very simple and straight forward ways.
For this you need to have winrar installed.
Start winrar
click up sign next to address bar
keep clicking the sign till you reach My computer and all drives are visible below.
Then click on the hard drive where you face this problem.
you would see folders and files all related to system.
you need to click on the first item in the list with Hard drive icon.
all you content would be there.

you can then create arches of the files on your PC.
And then extract the files from the archives.

Related resources
April 3, 2013 11:55:08 PM

whirlpooldemons said:
There is an alternative method through which you can make the device to view its contents. All you need to do is to:

Click on the start button.
Go to to My computer option.
Then organize to the option.
Go to folder and search options.
Click on View Tab.
Uncheck the Hide empty drives in computer folder.
Click Ok.


April 4, 2013 6:24:55 PM

The response I'm getting is to format it before using. It also says, does not contain recornize
file system.
April 6, 2013 4:55:23 AM

Thinking me insane but i sware it worked on my 16GB card just right Copy the external hard disk icon on my computer and paste in any folder

Hope it works:) 

Best solution

April 10, 2013 8:43:26 AM
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Hey man.. the same thing happened to me..so i surfed around the net and this solved my problem.... all credit goes to the guy who answered my question

1. click start>>run>>type in "cmd"
2. type the location of your flash drive.. e.g. "d:", "e:", "f:", etc..
3. type "dir /ah"
*you will now see the files/folders with hidden attributes
4. type "attrib [name of file/folder] -r -a -s -h"
*if you're going to unhide files, you should type the whole name plus the extension (format).. example "attrib party.jpg -r -a -s -h"
**if you have folders with 6 characters and above, type the first 6 characters then "~1".. example for folder named "birthday"
"attrib birthd~1 -r -a -s -h"
5. you should repeatedly type dir /ah after unhiding some files/folders so you'll know if they're now working or not..
6. now check you flash drive.. it should be there..
December 11, 2013 5:23:22 AM

This worked like magic, Thanks Ian

1. click start>>run>>type in "cmd"
2. type the location of your flash drive.. e.g. "d:", "e:", "f:", etc..
3. type "dir /ah"
*you will now see the files/folders with hidden attributes
4. type "attrib [name of file/folder] -r -a -s -h"
*if you're going to unhide files, you should type the whole name plus the extension (format).. example "attrib party.jpg -r -a -s -h"
**if you have folders with 6 characters and above, type the first 6 characters then "~1".. example for folder named "birthday"
"attrib birthd~1 -r -a -s -h"
5. you should repeatedly type dir /ah after unhiding some files/folders so you'll know if they're now working or not..
6. now check you flash drive.. it should be there..[/quotemsg]

December 21, 2013 9:32:36 AM

Joe Ouma said:
This worked like magic, Thanks Ian

1. click start>>run>>type in "cmd"
2. type the location of your flash drive.. e.g. "d:", "e:", "f:", etc..
3. type "dir /ah"
*you will now see the files/folders with hidden attributes


That didn't work for me. :(  Here is the message I got when I tried it:


Microsoft Windows XP [Version 5.1.2600]
(C) Copyright 1985-2001 Microsoft Corp.

C:\Documents and Settings\Chuaz>e:

E:\>dir /ah
Volume in drive E has no label.
Volume Serial Number is 1AFC-2847

Directory of E:\

File Not Found

E:\>
!