With the widespread of malware and other viruses, we often end up in a situation where the files on our flash drives are missing. This happens to people who use flash drives as their storage device be it a pen drive or external HDD. Even the files on your local hard drive can be hidden by these viruses.
It’s actually frustrating when you’re in a hurry to print a document only to find out that your file is missing. I’m pretty sure some of you have experienced this. In this tutorial, I’ll show you the different workarounds on how to show hidden files on flash drive using command prompt or other third party software.
NOTE 1: We were used in referring to it a USB but the more appropriate term would be flash drive. Don’t be confused with these two terms. USB stands for Universal Serial Bus. It is the most popular and the most common connection used to connect devices to a computer such as digital cameras, printers, scanners, and external hard drives. Whereas your flash drive is the actual storage device you plug into the USB port. Hope it makes sense.
NOTE 2: These methods can also be applied on external hard drives and local hard drives.
So how do you show files on flash drives infected by a virus? Here’s how.
Method 1: Show Hidden Files on Flash Drive Using Folder Options
For Windows 7
1. Open “My Computer”. At the upper left corner of the screen, click on “Organize” then select “Folder and search options.”
2. A window will appear. Click on “View” tab and click the radio button where it says, “Show hidden files, folders, and drives”. Also, make sure to uncheck/untick the box that says “Hide protected operating system files”. This is just temporary and we will revert the settings later on.
3. Click “Apply” and “OK”. Now see if your hidden files and folders are now visible on your flash drive.
NOTE 3: This method will be useless if your computer is already infected by the virus that won’t allow you to make changes on your files and folder attributes. If you followed this method but the files are still missing or are still hidden, follow the next two methods.
Method 1: Show Hidden Files on Flash Drive Using Command Prompt
1. Insert your flash drive
2. Open Command Prompt by simultaneously pressing the “Windows Key” on your keyboard and the letter “R”.
3. A small window will open normally at the lower left corner of your screen. In the window, type “CMD or cmd” and press “Enter”.
4. A black window will appear (Please see image above). In there, type the following:
attrib -s -r -h /s /d W:\*.*
Where “W” is your drive letter. Make sure to change the drive letter before proceeding. In the above code, the drive letter is “W“. To check the drive letter of your flash drive, simply open “My Computer”. Commonly, your drive letter will start from letter “E, F, G, H” and so on.
Example: If your drive letter is letter E, the final code will look like this:
from this: attrib -s -r -h /s /d W:\*.*
into this: attrib -s -r -h /s /d E:\*.*
5. Hit/Press “Enter” and you’re done. Now check your flash drive and see if the hidden files and folders are now visible.
What is an attrib: attrib is a DOS command to change the attribute of files and folders using command prompt. The symbols + and – are used to set and clear the attrib respectively.
- R – Set the file Read-Only
- A – Set Archive attribute to files.
- S – System file attributes
- H – Hidden file attributes.
Method 2: Show Hidden Files on Flash Drive Using USB Show
USB Show is a small utility software which does the same function as our Method 1. The only difference is that it has a User Interface (UI) making it easier for us to recover our files from being hidden.
1. Insert your flash drive.
2. Download USB Show.
3. Extract USB Show using WinRAR or WinZip.
4. Run/Open USB Show. You’ll see a small green window with words in Spanish language. Just click on “English” at the lower part of the software UI.
5. Click on “Recover the hidden files” button and select your flash drive from the list that will pop up. Wait for the USB Show to finish the process. And that’s it. Again, check your flash drive and see if the hidden files/folders are now there.
OTHER METHODS YOU CAN USE TO SHOW HIDDEN FILES ON FLASH DRIVE:
1. Use SMADAV Antivirus
2. Use other utilities such as USB Unhide, or USB Unhider
There are other ways to do this tutorial but what I gave you are the most common solutions. After following these methods, I’m sure you’ll be ready the next time you encounter the same problem.
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