I'm in a real pinch. The folder contains all my files from a job I just left. I was just about to create a backup when the problem occurred. I have no intention of using these files other than for personal viewing, but I doubt I can just walk back in the office and ask for them.


• It's a WD Elements 1TB 2.5 External Hard Drive

• I use it to transfer files between my PC desktop running Windows 10 and my 2017 Macbook Air running Mojave. The folder reads empty on both devices.

• I formatted it to exFAT about a month ago. I've been using it exclusively on PCs for about 3 years beforehand. I don't remember what format it was, but I didn't modify it then.

• I first encountered the problem on my Mac.

Here's a screenshot of the problem.

As you can see, it says "Zero kb, no items." This is the only folder that's empty. Everything else is intact. I also noticed that the errant folder's "Date Modified" record is about a month off.

I'm not sure if this is relevant but if you look at the drive's info, you will see that it was supposedly created in January 1, 1970 at 8:00AM and modified on January 1, 1980 at 12:00AM. Neither of which is true.

THINGS I'VE TRIED (more or less in order)


• Plugging the drive into my PC, the folder still showed up empty.

• Fiddling with the view settings to show hidden files.

• cmd: attrib -h -r -s /s /d g:*.*

Scan and repair through Properties > Tools > Error checking (There didn't seem to be problems)

• EaseUS trial barely found files, and not from the folder I want.

No luck.


• I put the drive back into my Mac. Waited a few minutes.

• Terminal: sudo fsck_exfat -d

[cmd] [shift] [.]

First Aid (There didn't seem to be problems)

• manually searching for my files in .Trashes and Recycle Bin. The errant folder wasn't there but I found files I deleted about a week ago, and files from a different folder deleted just yesterday before I discovered the problem.

[cmd] [shift] [g] to a specific subfolder in the empty errant folder. No search result.

• Spotlight searching subfolders. No results.

• Adding then removing the folder from Spotlight's Privacy settings

Let the drive sit in my Mac for a few hours, hoping the files would magically appear, like it has several times before in my experience of using external HDDs on Macs. Not this time.

• iBoySoft Data Recovery was taking forever to even get past 0% so I stopped it.

Still no luck.

I suspect that recovery software won't find it because it was never really deleted?

It's probably obvious but I just want to add that I'm not a power user in any way. I'm just a noob who needs her files back. :(

Is there anything else I can try? Thank you very much!

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  • 1
    after what you have tried, may be this is just a silly idea..but open the folder in windows and then type * in the search box and see if anything happens, it works for me if ever my flash drive wont display the files. – Elmo Oct 10 at 4:45
  • and actually the recovery software should still be able to find it even if the files were not deleted( but for that I think you have to choose full drive recovery - hope you had made partitions on that 1TB drive !! or its going to be a pretty long scan ) – Elmo Oct 10 at 4:49
  • After a bit of scrolling, I found the folder but sadly, it's still empty. :( Thanks for the tip, though. It was worth trying! And no, I didn't partition the drive. Yikes. :D Thanks, I'll try recovering. – Morsica Oct 10 at 4:53

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