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File Browser and Long File names

Discussion in 'Android Devices' started by JB_User, Sep 27, 2021.

  1. JB_User

    JB_User Newbie
    Thread Starter

    Hi. I have only bare minimal experience with Android. I just copied lots of video files to my MicroSD card and I want to play those files with my Android Tablet. I can do that by clicking Settings->Storage and then selecting the SD card. However, most of my file names are well over 10 characters. The Android GUI displays a plain square icon for each file, and only displays about 10 characters of the filename.

    Can I change an Android setting so that the full file name is displayed? I don't need to display the plain square icon for each file. How about a 'long' listing where the full filenames are listed?

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  2. Hadron

    Hadron Smoke me a kipper...
    VIP Member

    I don't know what app you are using, because you didn't say, but this isn't an android limitation: every app I've ever used to browse my filesystem shows much longer filenames than that with no problem (admittedly it's been a while since I browsed a microSD card, but I don't recall ever seeing such a problem). So what is the answer?

    There are 2 possibilities occur to me:

    1) The optimistic one: the problem is the app that you are using to browse the videos (you didn't say what app that was). If so you could look in the app's settings to see if there is an option to make it display longer names, or turn off useless icons, but since truncating names like that is a stupid thing to do I doubt that they made it an option (because who would choose it and why?). The alternative would be to try a different app (there is nothing special about the app that comes with a device, i.e. whatever the manufacturer chose to put there, and hence no reason not to find and use a better one). Actually that would be worth a try regardless: find an alternative app and see whether it has the same problem. Or even use a file explorer to browse the card and look at the filenames. If one app can show the full filenames that will confirm that the problem is the app, and the solution is just to use a better app.

    2) The nastier one: whatever you used to copy the videos truncated their filenames. I've not heard of such a thing happening, but it's theoretically possible (the microSD card is almost certainly fat32 formatted, and while fat32 does support long filenames, with some restrictions, I believe that each file within a directory also has a short (32 byte) filename, and if some daft app were to only assign the short filename that's all you'd see...

    Hopefully that last is just my being paranoid, because it would be a right pain to fix: you'd have to figure out what each video was and rename it manually. And it's hard to imagine such a thing happening these days, unless you were copying them from a Windows 98 machine (I'll believe almost anything of old versions of Windows...).
    puppykickr, mikedt and ocnbrze like this.
  3. JB_User

    JB_User Newbie
    Thread Starter

    Thank you for your thoughtful reply. Regarding the 2nd possibility, I know that is not the case. I can mount the MicroSD card on my Linux box and view the filesystem from a console window and the full filenames are still there.

    Regarding the first possibility, you asked me what app I'm using? Hmmm. I'm so dumb I don't even know. Maybe this will help. I purchased the tablet on Amazon and I never installed a single app. I only want to use this tablet to play video files from the MicroSD card. I don't plan to connect it to WiFi. So I don't think I'm even using an app. Here's what I'm doing exactly:
    • Start at the home screen.
    • Click the "Settings" icon
    • Click the Storage line (icon?)
    • Click the entry for "Portable Storage". It says "Samsung HD card".
    That's it. I can then navigate through SD card's file system by clicking on folders or files. Except the files (and folders) have shortened names.

    If there's a better way to do this, please let me know.
  4. svim

    svim Extreme Android User

    If you go into your Settings >> Display menu there should be an option under Font size. You can set the size down to allow more text to be displayed in a file name but keep in mind there's a compromise involved -- make the size too small and then it becomes less convenient to just read file/folder names

    Since you're apparently using the Settings >> Storage menu as your file manager, you might want to think about using the My Files app instead. The My Files app is Samsung's default file manager app so you already have it, just look for it in your apps menu. And be sure to go into the app's Settings menu to set it up to suit your needs better. Just note that while the My Files app is more capable than just the Settings >> Storage menu file manager, it's still pretty basic too.

    You might want to give some thought into installing a third-party file manager app instead. Most third-party file managers have a lot more versatility as far as customizing the user interface along with including much more extensive feature sets. There are plenty of choices available in the Play Store. MiXplorer Silver is a file manager with a pretty lot list of features (a lot of them are network-centric so that might be overfill for your needs) but there are also a lot of interface options (that's what your query is about)
    Simple Mobile Tools is a developer that has a lot of good apps, their file manager app is has a lot of customizing and optimizing options:
    Look though the screen captures in each app's Play Store page to get a better feeling for what app appeals to you visually. Features and capability are important but if you don't like an app's appearance each time you use it that matters too,
    Dannydet, puppykickr and mikedt like this.
  5. puppykickr

    puppykickr Android Expert

    You are using an app, but most likely a stock one.

    A favorite saying of mine is that stock apps are only there to get you by until you find something better.

    That being said, you will eventually desire a Wi-Fi connection, if for nothing else than quick file transfers.

    So here are a few apps to start you on this journey, that should make things a bit easier and interesting as well.

    (safe source of amazing apps, download the app itself from this link)

    (excellent document viewer)

    (the best browser)

    (excellent firewall)

    (ad-free Youtube with downloading)

    (Wi-Fi file transfer)

    (excellent file manager)

    (excellent gallery)

    (great keyboard)

    (video/music player)

    (100 GB of free online storage)

    Yeah, that is a lot of apps right off the bat, right?

    They are all what I have on every device, and are on the devices that I set up for people.

    There is even more.

    They are small, and efficient, and will fit easily onto even the most memory strapped modern devices with no trouble.
    Dannydet and mikedt like this.
  6. JB_User

    JB_User Newbie
    Thread Starter

    I can change the font size, but that does not change the number of characters that get displayed from the file name.

    There does not appear to be a "My Files" app in the app menu. Although I somewhat remember see a "My Files" choice previously. Maybe it's no longer the default? How can I get it back?

    I don't want to download any apps or join the app store. I just want to view video files that I manually copied to the MicroSD card. Is ther ea way to simply list the full file name without the meaningless icon?
  7. puppykickr

    puppykickr Android Expert

    Download VLC, as I know that the option to increase the size of the file name is/used to be there.

    If you choose to be stuck with stock apps, you will be forced to make compromises.

    You do not need to 'join' anything.

    F-Droid is the absolute safest place to get apps from, and they have an extensive set of apps of all sorts- not the least of which can replace crappy stock apps.

    My Files is a practically useless wart of a file manager.
    Actually one of the first apps to be replaced on any device that I set up for myself or others.

    In order for you to see it in your app menu, you must open the app menu and select 'show system', because My Files is a system app.

    Also, probably the most simple solution for you at this point would be to use Simple Gallery Pro, as it will play videos and show pictures as well.
    Dannydet likes this.
  8. JB_User

    JB_User Newbie
    Thread Starter

    Okay, I guess I have to download some apps. I've been trying to avoid that because I don't have a router, and I really don't want to do anything other than watch videos from an SD card. I guess I have to get an WiFi router. Thanks all for the advice.
  9. kate

    kate Dreaming of Bugdroid.

    I'm guessing your Linux computer has internet through a modem only, so no router? You can download apps (APK files) to your computer then transfer them to the phone over USB. Sideload or using ADB.

    Or go to a store with free WiFi and download a few apps.
    puppykickr likes this.
  10. JB_User

    JB_User Newbie
    Thread Starter

    Yes, my Linux desktop has a wired internet connection, but no wireless connection. Also, my android device is a tablet: it has no cellular connectivity. It has WiFI, but I don't use it.

    Anyhow, I'll weigh my options. I was not planning on downloading apps and entering the modern world, but I might. Or, it might be easiest to simply rename the files. Thanks again for providing options.
  11. puppykickr

    puppykickr Android Expert

    Renaming the files is an option.

    However, the apps suggested are sure to enhance your Android experience.

    Everything on that device is run from an app.
    All you are doing is increasing its capabilities and therefore your enjoyment of it.

    That is the beauty of Android.

    Another option is to go to your local library- free Wi-Fi.

    Also, most fast food places, Wal-Mart, laundry mats, etc.
    I even set up my latest device in Wal-Mart's parking lot, using their Wi-Fi for a connection.
    Dannydet likes this.
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