Cannot see hidden sub-folders and alphabetic files on external usb drive

OK, This should be a simple one for you guys.

I have a Maxtor One Touch 4 External USB back up drive connected to my Vista 64 bit system. On the external drive I have a folder I use for manual back-ups separate to the automated back up program.

The folder is about 5gb and has about 10 sub folders which all contain photos & videos, there are also a few thousand photos contained in the main folder itself.

I have just noticed that certain files and all sub-folders are now invisible and I cannot access them through windows explorer. If I try to copy an alphabetical named file from my main harddrive to the external drive (which i know i exists in the location on the external drive), I get the normal windows overwrite warning even though the file is not visible.

The strange thing is, only files which have a numerical file name (i.e 34556.jpg) are visible in the main folder; only the Alphabetical files (i.e. photo.jpg) appear to be invisible. All sub folders are invisible also.

The error seems to only apply to this folder only, I can see alphabetical files and sub folders in the back-up locations user by maxtor program.

I have also unplugged the drive and tried on a XP Pro machine, and there is no change.

I am currently running a data recovery program to see if it can retrieve the invisible files etc.
http://www.z-a-recovery.com/download.htm

Any help would be appreciated.

DJSoulAsked:
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dbruntonCommented:
>> "The file or folder K:\$Mft is unreadable or corrupt - Please run the chkdsk utility"

Don't even run the attrib or chkdsk command if you have this error.

Use the data recovery program.

For more information see http://www.articledashboard.com/Article/Windows-File-Recovery-After--Unreadable-MFT--Error/853315

Get all of your data off the drive as soon as possible.
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akrdmCommented:
When you access the drive via windows explorer, on the main drive do you see a file called thumbs.db?  If you do you can try deleting this file and then closing the folder or re-opening it.  It will be re-created as soon as the folder is reopened.  Note: The thumbs.db file is a windows file so it will be hidden you will need to enable show hidden files and folders to be able to see the file.  If this file has become corrupt it can make it so that pictures and folders with pictures in them don't display correctly.

Also it's possible that the files have been marked as hidden and if you enable the show hidden files and folders they should show up if that's the case.

Hope this helps.
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dbruntonCommented:
Hmm.

I'll carry on with akrdm's comment on hidden files and folders.

Assume your Maxtor One Touch shows up as H: in Windows Explorer.

Try this at the command line.

attrib      -H        H:\*.*   /s       /d

If your Maxtor is not H: then change the above line to what it is.
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DJSoulAuthor Commented:
Thanks for your responses

akdrm - I enabled the viewing of hidden files and folders and found a file on the root of the external drive called "ehthumbs_vista". I deleted this file, rebooted and the problem remains.

dbrunton - Please can you give step by step instructions as I am not familiar with command line actions.

From the K:\Pictures folder I tried the "attrib" and i now get a warning "The file or folder K:\$Mft is unreadable or currupt - Please run the chkdsk utility"

The data recovery program shows the files as restorable.


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DJSoulAuthor Commented:
Thanks for your help.
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