This folder is empty: How to fix this Windows 10 error

By: Matthew Adams
3 minute read
This folder is empty windows 10 error fix

The “This folder is empty” error is one that occasionally occurs for some users when they plug-in USB flash drives. File Explorer displays “This folder is empty” for a USB drive even though the flash drive’s storage bar highlights that there are certainly files and folders in it. As such, users can’t open the folders and files in their USB drives. These are a few Windows 10 resolutions that might fix the “This folder is empty” issue  for USB devices.

FIX: This folder is empty

  1. Insert the Flash Drive in an Alternative USB Slot
  2. Open the Hardware and Devices Troubleshooter
  3. Select the Show Hidden Files, Folders and Drives Option
  4. Show Invisible Files With the Attrib Command
  5. Scan the USB Drive With File Recovery Software

1. Insert the Flash Drive in an Alternative USB Slot

Firstly, insert the flash drive in another USB slot. Then File Explorer might show the USB drive’s content. If that is the case, there’s probably something up with one of the USB ports. You can check out this article for USB port fixes.

2. Open the Hardware and Devices Troubleshooter

  • Hardware and Devices is a Windows 10 troubleshooter you can utilize to fix USB devices that aren’t working. To utilize that troubleshooter in Windows 10, plug the USB flash storage into your desktop or laptop.
  • Next, press the Type here to search Cortana button on the taskbar.
  • Enter the keyword ‘troubleshoot’ in the search box.
  • Select Troubleshoot to open the window shown below.

  • Select Hardware and Devices and press the Run the troubleshooter button to open the window in the snapshot below. Then the troubleshooter might provide some resolutions for fixing your USB stick.

— RELATED: How to remove empty folders in Windows 10

3. Select the Show Hidden Files, Folders and Drives Option

The flash drive’s content might not be visible if the Show hidden files, folders and drives option is not selected. Selecting that option will ensure that there are no invisible folders and files. This is how you can select that option in Windows 10.

  • Open the Cortana app’s search box.
  • Enter ‘folder’ in the search box, and select to open Show hidden files and folders.
  • Select the Show hidden, files, folders and drives option on the window shown directly below.

  • Then deselect the Hide protected operating system files option
  • Click the Apply and OK buttons.

4. Show Invisible Files With the Attrib Command

Some users have confirmed that they’ve fixed the “This folder is empty” issue with the attrib command. You can enter attrib in the Command Prompt by pressing the Win key + X hotkey and select Command Prompt (Admin). Then enter ‘attrib -h -r -s /s /d g:*.*’ in the Command Prompt, and press the Enter key. Make sure you replace the g in the attrib command with your actual USB drive letter.

5. Scan the USB Drive With File Recovery Software

File recovery software might also show you the contents of a USB drive so that you can then save its folders to HDD. You can scan the USB drive with the freeware EaseUS Data Recovery. Select the USB drive in EaseUS, press the Scan button and then select the flash drive’s folders and files to save on HDD.

Those are a few resolutions that might restore missing USB drive folders so you can open them from File Explorer once more. In addition to those fixes, scanning a flash drive with chkdsk, as covered in this post, might also resolve the “This folder is empty” error.

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