You are not alone!! Lots of Windows 10/11 users come across this very common error. No matter what causes this error, there are ways that can help you fix the folder is empty but contains files issue. In this post, we will help you first understand this issue. Along with that, we will walk you through all the possible solutions you can try to resolve the issue where the system shows the folder is empty that files are there on Windows 10/11.
“How maddening! The folder shows no files though they still exist. I moved all of my photos the other day from my external storage device to PC and stored them in a folder on hard drive D. Unfortunately, today, when I open the folder, nothing exists there. I am certain that all data has been transferred successfully without any problem, though I lost them. The more annoying thing is that I didn’t have a backup. In such scenarios, what should I do to fix this error and get back my files?”
Does this situation sound very familiar to you? Seeing hard drive not showing files though they still exist just like in the below picture?
And the catch is that the folder shows size.
This problem indicates a hidden attribute, implying that you have hidden the files and unable to view them in the folder. That’s why the folder shows empty but has size.
There could be a number of reasons for this issue, which include:
Nevertheless, there is no need to fret. Just have patience and do not try to write any new data on your Windows PC. In the next part, we have provided effective solutions to fix this folder is empty Windows 10/11 issue.
After knowing all the possible causes for the problem, it is time for you to get familiar with all troubleshooting methods you can try to fix folder shows empty but files are there.
Method 1. Try Another USB Port & Restart the Computer
If it’s about the external hard drive not showing files though they still exist, then the USB port could be the culprit. In such cases, you can try two following things:
If nothing changes, try rebooting your system. If these simple tricks are of no help to you, no worries!! Proceed to the next solutions.
Method 2. Show Hidden/Lost Files in an Empty Folder in File Explorer
It could be possible that files are just hidden. Fortunately, Microsoft gives a comprehensive guide to assist its users on how to show hidden files in every Windows version. Indeed, there is a minor difference in performing this operation for each version. However, the basic process is the same, i.e., locating the unhiding option within the File Explorer.
Here’s how to unhide files to fix this folder is empty Windows 10/11 problem:
Step 1: In the Windows search field, enter “folder option” and select “File Explorer Options”.
Step 2: In the “File Explorer Options” window, click on the “View” tab.
Step 3: Choose “Show hidden files, folders and drives” under the “Hide files and folders” option.
Step 4: Select the “Ok” button.
Method 3. Show Missing Files in an Empty Folder by Run attrib command
In case the above method is of no help to you fix folder shows empty but files are there on Windows 10/11, there is an advanced way to show hidden files. And it is through the command line.
Step 1: Press the “Windows + R” keys at the same time and enter “cmd” in the search box.
Step 2: Launch the command prompt as an administrator.
Step 3: Determine the letter of the drive folder that shows empty. For instance, if it is drive X, then you need to enter the following command:
“attrib -h -r -s /s /d x:\*.*”
Step 4: Hit “Enter” after typing the above command.
Step 5: Refresh the folder and see if the files are showing now.
Method 4. Recover Hidden Files in an Empty Folder with Data Recovery Software
If nothing above words to help you fix the problem that this folder is empty Windows 10/11, then use Wondershare Recoverit software. It can help you recover hidden files and data in an empty folder with ease. You will be able to rescue all kinds of deleted, hidden, or lost files, including images, videos, documents, audios, and more.
Here’s how to recover hidden files in an empty folder using Recoverit:
Step 1: Choose a location
Run the software and select a location (hard drive folder) that you would like to scan for hidden files. After that, click the “Scan” button.
Step 2: Scan the location
Recoverit will scan your selected folder to locate the hidden, deleted, or lost files.
Step 3: Recover hidden files
After the successful scan, you will be allowed to preview the recoverable files. Finally, choose the one you want to rescue and hit the “Recover” button.
Method 5. Check Drives for Errors
Maybe the problem that hard drive not showing files though they still exist might occur due to errors on your hard drive. You can easily troubleshoot this problem by simply checking the drive for errors.
Step 1: Open the File Explorer.
Step 2: Expand the “This PC” option and right-tap on the partition that indicates the folder is empty.
Step 3: Choose “Properties” and go to the “Tools” tab.
Step 4: Check the “Error-checking” box, followed by “Scanning the partition and Repair errors”.
After performing the error checking option, launch the file explorer and see whether the problem of the folder is empty but contains files is gone or not. Keep in mind that you can also perform this method for your external hard drives.
Method 6. Run Hardware and Device Troubleshooter
Hardware and drive troubleshooter is an in-built Windows utility that comes in handy to fix command system issues and errors. This feature is capable of detected hardware and device changes and tries to resolve hardware and device issues.
Here’s how to run a Hardware and Devices troubleshooter in Windows 10/11:
Step 1: Press “Windows + S” and enter “troubleshooting” in the search field.
Step 2: Click on “Troubleshoot”.
Step 3: Tap the “Hardware and Devices” option and then tap on the “Run the troubleshooter” button.
Step 4: Let the troubleshooter detect problems with your system hardware and devices.
Step 5: Upon the successful scan, it will problem a solution that you can use to fix the issue. Finally, don’t forget to reboot the system.
After the successful reboot, this method will probably fix the problem that internal or external hard drive not showing files though they still exist.
It is common to encounter folder is empty but contains files problem on Windows 10/11. With the solutions mentioned here, you may be able to come out of this issue. In case you do not want to take the risk of losing your important hidden files, we recommend using Recoverit. With this powerful data recovery solution, you can rescue all of your hidden folder contents.
How do I show hidden files Windows 10/11?
To show hidden files on Windows 10/11, you need to follow the below steps:
How do I fix a corrupted folder in Windows 10/11?
The most common solution for the corrupted folder is using the CHKSK command.
You can perform this operation for both internal and external hard drive folders. Once executing the above command, Windows will perform a scan on the drive. During the scan process, it will also resolve the problem simultaneously.
How to fix Windows 10/11 desktop folder empty?
To restore Windows 10/11 desktop folder files, you can try the following methods:
Why can't I see shared folders on my network?
In case you set up sharing correctly, your system should see shared folders. However, if you can’t see then, then perform the following checks: