USB Files Missing But Space Still Used Why? How Can I Fix This?

Jason Florek | March 22nd, 2019 | How to

“Yesterday I moved some crucial files of my computer to a USB Flash Drive and deleted them from the computer. After that, when I plugged my USB drive to the computer I found all the files and folders stored within it becomes disappeared. I remembered clearly that I didn’t perform any operation on my USB Drive after that Cut/ Paste but, the strange thing is that space is still occupied. Does this mean the files are still in my USB Flash Drive or I have lost them? What to do if pendrive is not showing files? Please help!”

USB Flash Drives are always considered as a small hard drive used to store and move data items among various digital devices like computers, laptops, etc. Since these small drives are very handy but sometimes they misbehave and interrupt the workflow of users. Once such case is USB files missing but space still used issue. This is one of the most common problems that users often encounter when their files go missing from the USB Drive and they are quite sure that they have copied the files to drive.

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Therefore, in this article, we are going to disclose some simple techniques to pen drive not showing files and folders along with reasons for the same. So, let’s get started!

Also Read This: how to restore mistakely deleted data from pen drive

Why is USB Files Not Showing but Space Used?

There might be multiple reasons that can make the USB Drive files and folders disappeared. Some of the most common reasons are as following:

  1. Files/ Folders are Hidden: If the data stored within the USB Flash Drive is hidden then, you cannot access it as it is in an inaccessible state. Changing the status of a file to hidden or saving the files as ‘Protected System File/ Folder’ makes the files hidden from USB Drive.
  2. Damaged USB Flash Drive: Well, this happens often and makes the USB Drive files inaccessible or hidden. In case if the pen drive is damaged logically then, it might work fine while copying files to it and later show the storage space used but files missing.
  3. Virus Infected USB Drive: Virus programs can modify or delete the files stored in a USB Drive. Also, in some cases, viruses hide all the folders automatically and set their status as ‘Protected System Files/ Folder’.
  4. Deleted Files and Folders: If the USB Flash Drive files and folders get deleted accidentally by you or some virus/ malware then, files go missing. Moreover, some viruses integrate themselves with the files and folder stored with your USB Drive and when you attempt to access those files, it wipes your files out.

How to Solve ‘USB Files Missing But Space Still Used’ Issue?

So, if you are sure that your USB Drive is perfectly fine but, files are missing from it and space is still in the use then, follow the techniques below.

Note: The methods discussed in this section are applicable for inaccessible data.

Method 1. Unhide Files and Folders

If your files and folders saved within the USB Drive are hidden then, follow the instructions below How do I recover hidden files on my USB?:

  1. Connect the USB Drive to your computer and an open explorer window
  2. Click on the Organize and choose folder and search options
  3. Now, in the Folder Options wizard, click on View tab
  4. Double click on hidden files and folders option, choose Show hidden files, folders, and drives
  5. Hit a right click on files and folders and navigate to Options
  6. After this, uncheck the Hidden checkbox and apply the changes

Method 2. View Hidden System Files/ Folders

If the above method does not show the hidden USB Drive files then, this might be possible that the files are saved as ‘hidden system files/ folders’. Below is How do I recover hidden files on my USB?:

  1. Access your USB Drive in a fresh explorer window and click Organize
  2. Click Folder and search options. Select the View tab
  3. In Hide protected files sections, uncheck the Hide protected system files option. Apply changes
  4. After this, all the hidden files and folders will be displayed in your USB Drive

Method 3. Search Files Using their Folder Path

If you know the name of hidden files or folder that gets disappeared from your USB Drive then, below is how to find the missing files:

  1. Plug USB Drive to the computer and open it
  2. Click on File Path Address menu from the top and it will display the path
  3. Hit the End button to navigate to the end of the file path
  4. Now, type a backslash (\) that is followed by the file/ folder name. Press Enter
  5. Doing this will open a file/ folder with this name
  6. In order to access a specific file, enter a dot (.) after the name and it will display all the file names with the same name and extensions
  7. Click on the complete extension and press the Enter button to open your file

    Note: Do not try to open files with .lnk or .exe extensions as they might be viruses.

  8. After this, save the folder content into a new folder and save this in a new location

Bottom Line

This article comprises complete information about USB files missing but space still used issue. Here, we have tried to roll up all the possible reasons that might make the USB Drive files hidden or inaccessible. Despite this, we have also revealed some methods to resolve this issue in a simple manner. At last, if the missing files still not get recovered back using any of the discussed methods then, there are high chances that USB Drive is corrupted highly. Then, the only option left format your USB drive then, try USB Drive Recovery Tool as it allows to recover entire lost data from USB Flash Drive quickly in a few clicks.

Frequently Ask Questions

How do I recover hidden files on my USB?

Read this blog and follow these simple steps to recover hidden files on my USB.

How do I find missing files from the flash drive?

Try manual solution to find missing files from the flash drive.

Can this software unhide hidden files?

No, this software is not able to unhide hidden files. You can unhide hidden files by following the above given steps.