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How to Show Hidden Media Files in USB Drive and Memory Card?

Summary: Can't find your favourite media files in your USB Drive or Memory Card? Learn 5 ways to see your hidden media files in any USB Drive or Memory card. Also know why USB Drive or Memory card's data gets hidden.


“Yesterday, when I connected my external USB drive to my Windows 10 computer, to my surprise, I found that my media files were missing. Neither did I delete the files nor did I move them to my computer. Please suggest any solution to get back my data and show hidden files in usb or Memory Cards. Thanks for your help.”

External USB drives have become common for people to use them as data storage media. Even, individuals use memory cards (SDXC) in their smartphones, tablets, laptops, camcorders, cameras, and CCTVs as a convenient storage solution. But, sometimes, the data stored on these storage media may not appear when viewed using File Explorer.

In this blog, we’ll share the common reasons as to why media files get hidden on a USB drive and memory card. We’ll also share the different methods on how to show  hidden media files from USB drive and memory card on Windows 10.

Why a USB drive or Memory card’s data goes hidden?

The external storage drive’s data can turn hidden due to various reasons. Some of the common reasons for data getting hidden on a USB drive or memory card are as follows:

  • Virus: When you connect your USB drive or memory card to any system for data transfer that doesn’t have up-to-date antivirus software, the storage device may get infected with computer virus. The virus can change the attribute of specific files as hidden, read-only. It can even delete files or corrupt the storage medium, thereby making the data inaccessible. Read more on removing virus from SD card without formatting
  • Human Error: It is possible the media files are hidden by you sometime before, and you forgot that you did so.

Methods to show hidden media files on a USB drive and Memory card

Show Hidden Media Files By using Google Chrome

To find all the files (including hidden ones) present on an external storage device by using Google Chrome, do the following:

  1. Connect the affected external USB drive or memory card to your computer.
  2. Note the drive letter of the storage device.
  3. Open Google Chrome and on the address bar, type file:///x: then press Enter. (Here replace x with the drive letter of the external storage device.) The Chrome browser will index all the items present on the external drive, including the hidden files.

Show Hidden Media Files in Chrome

Show Hidden Media Files By using Control Panel

To unhide data from an external storage device by using the Control Panel, do the following:

  1. Press Windows key and type “control panel” then press Enter.
  2. On the “Control Panel” window, click on “Appearance and Personalization.”Show Hidden Media Files in Control Panel
  3. Under the “File Explorer Options” section, click the “Show hidden files and folders” link.Control Panel Show Hidden Media Files
  4. On the “File Explorer Options” dialog box, select the “Show hidden files, folders and drives” radio button. Then, scroll down and uncheck the “Hide protected operating system files (Recommended)” checkbox.Show hidden files, folders and drives - File Explorer
  5. On the Warning message box, click Yes. Then, click OK.

All the hidden files will be visible—including $RECYCLE.BIN and System Volume Information.

Show Hidden Media Files By using File Explorer

To unhide data from an external storage device by using File Explorer, do the following:

  1. On File Explorer, go to View from the menu bar.
  2. Check the “Hidden items” checkbox. Then, click on the Options.For External File Storage
  3. Select “Change folder and search options.”
  4. On the “Folder Options” dialog box, click the View
  5. Under “Advanced settings” section, scroll down and uncheck “Hide protected operating system files (Recommended).”
  6. On the Warning message box, click Yes. Then, click OK.

All the hidden files will appear in the external storage drive.

Show Hidden Media Files By using PowerShell

To unhide data from an external storage device by using PowerShell, do the following:

  1. Press Windows + X keys or right-click Windows logo to open the Quick Access
  2. Select Windows PowerShell (Admin) to open PowerShell with Administrator rights.
  3. On the prompt, type attrib -h -r -s /s /d x:\*.* and press Enter. Note: Here replace x with the drive letter of the external storage drive.Show Hidden Media Files By PowerShell
  4. Open the external storage drive to see the hidden files.

You can unhide all but “System Volume Information” from the external storage drive.

Show Hidden Media Files By using Command Prompt

To unhide data from an external storage device by using Command Prompt, do the following:

  1. Press Windows + R keys to open Run.
  2. Type cmd and click OK or press Enter.
  3. On the prompt, type x: and press Enter. (Here replace x with the external storage drive letter.) The directory will change to the external storage drive.
  4. On the prompt, type attrib -h -s /s /d then press Enter. Show Hidden Media Files By Control Panel
  5. Open the external storage drive to see the hidden files.

Bonus Tips

  • Always scan your storage drive before transferring data to or from a computer.
  • Always keep your antivirus software up-to-date to save latest virus signature.
  • Always back up critical files to avoid data loss.

Conclusion

This post shared a variety of methods on how to show hidden media files in a USB drive and memory card on Windows 10 (as well as Windows 7). Once you unhide media files that are hidden by virus, copy all the essential data from the drive and format it to remove any malware. Finally, copy the files back from the PC to the external storage medium. Alternatively, you can use an antivirus software to scan the USB drive or memory card to delete virus or other malicious software.

In case the above troubleshooting methods can’t unhide the hidden media data, then it might’ve been deleted. You can try out a photo recovery software to recover deleted files from USB drive or memory card on Windows 10. The software can even help you recover your lost data from a corrupt storage medium.

Photo Recovery photo recovery mac

Comments(8)
  1. Tunc Brekman January 22, 2020
    • Sumona Chatterjee January 23, 2020
  2. Katie Mitchell December 20, 2019
    • Sumona Chatterjee December 23, 2019
  3. Robert Schanze November 18, 2019
    • Sumona Chatterjee November 19, 2019
  4. Jose Ramos October 31, 2019
    • Sumona Chatterjee October 31, 2019

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