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SD Card Confusion


  1. JamesJoey

    JamesJoey Well-Known Member

    When I plug my T-Mobile G2x into my USB port on my computer I'm resented with 2 new items in Windows Explorer. I assume the top one is the phone's memory and the bottom is the External SD???
    Some apps refer to something simply as an SD card. I never see an app refer to an internal and external SD card.
    Can someone..... PLEASE explain, when I'm looking at my phone in Windows Explorer, what the heck I'm seeing?????

    I don't get it,
    James

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  2. Crashdamage

    Crashdamage Well-Known Member

    You already get the idea. You're correct that when you plug in the phone Windows Explorer shows 2 new drive letters - one for the phone (internal) storage, one for the removable SD card (external) storage.

    The phone manual will explain in more detail.

    Because there's so many different phones and configurations, there's no 'standard' terms for storage - apps will use various designations.
    JamesJoey likes this.
  3. JamesJoey

    JamesJoey Well-Known Member

    Ok.
    Thanks,
    James
  4. RyanB

    RyanB Distributor of Awesome VIP Member

    OP, setting aside your general confusion about what you see in Windows Explorer, do you have a question that's a bit more specific?
  5. JamesJoey

    JamesJoey Well-Known Member

    Yes.
    When I looking at this in Explorer, is there a way to know what is on my SIM and what is n my Internal SD?
  6. RyanB

    RyanB Distributor of Awesome VIP Member

    Unless you have root access, I believe that you're only seeing your SD card. And just to clarify, your simcard is what connects your phone to the cell towers.
  7. Crashdamage

    Crashdamage Well-Known Member

    No...the G2x, like other phones with both internal and external (removable) storage, will display both.
  8. RyanB

    RyanB Distributor of Awesome VIP Member

    ??? That may be the case, but what then prevents a user from deleting system files? Is it only the /data folder that's visible?
  9. JamesJoey

    JamesJoey Well-Known Member

    My phone is rooted. So all these folders and files I see are on my internal SD?
  10. RyanB

    RyanB Distributor of Awesome VIP Member

    not necessarily, since rooting is about giving apps a higher level of access to things on your device.
  11. lunatic59

    lunatic59 Moderati ergo sum Moderator

    From a file storage/app point of view, the internal storage will only be visible in windows explorer. The user doesn't have access to system files. You will be able to see the entire contends of an external SD card (as long as you have "show hidden files" enabled).

    A little history ... when Android first hit the mobile market, most phones had 512 MB of internal storage and expansion was handled only through an external Micro SD card. Then the card would mount at /sdcard and app developers would use that for storage of large data files so not to exhaust the limited internal memory. As phone memory began to expand beyond the 2 GB mark, manufacturers would create an internal partition called /sdcard to take advantage of faster, more stable internal ram. If the phone also had an external SD card slot, then the manufacturer would mount it at an arbitrary point like /sdcard/external_sd or /sdcard_external. Even with more ram internally it was still partitioned between the system and storage and too many apps could cause problems with space in the system partition. Because apps were looking for the /sdcard mount point the external sd card became pretty much file and media storage only.

    With Jelly Bean, /sdcard is virtualized which means that the entire internal memory can be used for both apps and file storage, relieving a lot of the limitations of fixed partitions. The downside is that a factory reset now deletes stored files as well as apps and user settings. Nandroid backups are a little funky, too, but that's a bit more complicated.
    JamesJoey and Mr. Lucky like this.
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