Does Windows Show a Folder as Empty Despite Having Files in It? Here Are 7 Fixes | #microsoft | #hacking | #cybersecurity


It’s confusing to see an empty folder when its folder size says otherwise. The matter becomes more problematic if you need the files urgently. If you recall copying data that is reflected by the size of the folder, but the folder appears empty, then fret not.

Many times, the files simply go hidden, resulting in the folders appearing empty. However, sometimes, the issue comes to a more severe level. No matter what the problem is, we will cover fixes in this article to help you regain access to your files.

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1. Rule Out System-Specific Issues

Give your computer a fresh start before trying any fix to ensure that it’s not a temporary glitch. If the issue continues after you boot your system once, check to see if it’s folder-specific or persistent throughout the operating system.

If the issue appears everywhere, then your operating system is at fault. To resolve the issue, update your OS or reset it. Nonetheless, if the problem only persists in one folder, try the following fixes.

2. Ensure the Files Aren’t Hidden

Hidden files also contribute to the overall file size. Therefore, if you find that a folder with a considerable size appears empty, make sure that the files are not just hidden. To do so, follow these steps:

  1. Go to the folder that seems empty, but the size says otherwise.
  2. Navigate to the View tab in File Explorer.
  3. Check the box for Hidden items in the Show/Hide section.

If the files were previously hidden, you’d be able to see them now. A common difference that indicates whether the files are still hidden is their transparency. Consequently, you should either open them directly or unhide them before doing so.

3. Use the Help of Command Prompt

By running a set of commands in the Command Prompt, users can perform specific checks, run scans, and manage other processes. There is a command available that can be used to check for missing or hidden files and folders on the hard drive.

Running this command has a good chance of restoring the files in the folder that appeared empty. To run it, follow these directions:

  1. In the Windows search bar, type “cmd.”
  2. Right-click on the Command Prompt app and choose Run as administrator.
  3. Enter the following command in the Command Prompt app:
    attrib -h -r -s /s /d D:\*.*
  4. Press Enter.

The D: in the command syntax refers to the drive containing the missing files. If your partition containing the missing files is different from D: you should adjust the command accordingly.

Allow the process to complete and give your computer a fresh start. After that, recheck the folder to see if files appear this time. If not, continue implementing other fixes.

4. Give Windows Explorer a Fresh Start

Windows Explorer, also referred to as File Explorer, utility lets you browse through files and folders. That’s why it’s often called a Windows file management application. When you open a file, organize a folder, copy or move it, Windows Explorer makes these actions possible.


Hence, restarting it may help you recover files and folders that might have lost their preview due to a problem with File Explorer. To restart it, follow these steps:

  1. Right-click the Windows Start button and choose Task Manager.
  2. In the list of running programs, locate Windows Explorer.
  3. Right-click on it and select Restart.

Once restarted, go back to the folder not showing any files and folders and see if they show up this time. If this fix fails to resolve the issue, move on to the next fix.

5. Run a Disk Check

Hard drive problems can also present the issue under discussion. Therefore, before proceeding further, you must check your hard drive for errors. Although there is more than one way to run the Windows disk check, here’s the simplest:

  1. Right-click on the Windows Start button and choose File Explorer.
  2. On the left-hand side, click on This PC.
  3. Right-click on the partition containing the folder showing empty, and click Properties in the context menu.
  4. In the Properties window, navigate to the Tools tab.
  5. In the Error-checking section, click the Check button.
  6. Whether it shows any errors or not, click Scan Drive.


Upon completing the scanning process, check the empty folder to see if the files have been recovered. If not, continue implementing the fixes below.

6. Run a Malware Scan

The absence of files from a folder may also occur due to the presence of hidden malware. Thus, if the fixes didn’t help you recover your data, you have to rule out the possibility that malware is the culprit.

There are several ways to remove malware from your Windows PC; you can use a third-party malware removal tool to eradicate viruses, use Windows tools to clean your PC, or simply run Microsoft Defender Offline Scan to ensure your computer is malware-free.

Once the virus has been removed, go back to the same folder and check if the files you are eagerly awaiting access to have returned. If you find the files, you’ll need to take further steps to ensure that the other files and folders are safe due to a virus attack.

If a malware scan and removing the virus doesn’t help, you may need third-party software to recover your data.

If none of the fixes above help you regain access to your files, then a third-party data recovery tool should be your last resort. A data recovery software works by using different algorithms to find the traces of lost files on the hard drive and then gives users the option to recover those files that aren’t available on their computer anymore.

Therefore, run a data recovery tool to see if it can help you find the missing data. While many third-party tools can aid you in recovering your data, we recommend that you check out the best data recovery tools available; EaseUS data recovery wizard, Disk Drill data recovery software, and Recuva.

Access Your Missing Files With Ease

Hopefully, if you implement the fixes mentioned above, you should be able to retrieve the files that aren’t showing up in the folder. When everything goes wrong, third-party data recovery tools won’t let you down.

In addition, common issues with the preview pane can also cause this error. As a result, ensure that the problem is not coming from a malfunction in the preview pane.



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