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HTC Desire internal storage halved after factory reset

Discussion in 'Android Devices' started by thisisasecret, Jan 3, 2014.

  1. thisisasecret

    thisisasecret Lurker
    Thread Starter


    so im a completely new android user, i got my desire about a month ago (a used one, so i have no idea about what had been done to it earlier) - i was able to install a bunch of nice apps, and a couple of days ago it crashed, and the only way to resolve it was to do a factory reset. Afterwards i was about to reinstall a few of them - except the one that made it crash, of course-, and after one app it said that there is not enough memory to install anything; my sd card is almost completely empty, though.
    Then I checked the storage settings, and it says 151 MB full internal storage, 102 is taken up by apps ( even though i removed a few built-in apps), and then it hit me: I swear i had something close to 250MB before the factory reset, and now I'm sure, as I could install many things, and now i cannot.

    What could've been done to the phone to get that much space that i overwrote with the reset..? Any ideas? I would be really grateful, because it's rather annoying that the only app I can have is either acrobat reader or whatsapp, the two just don't fit in together.

    Thank you for any possible ideas!:)


    oh, anyway, i dont know if thats anything useful, but cyanogenmod is installed.

  2. Hadron

    Hadron Smoke me a kipper...
    VIP Member

    Hi thisisasecret, and welcome to AF :)

    This is an interesting one. The phone is clearly rooted - the fact that it's running CyanogenMod tells us that. But the rest is odd.

    A stock HTC Desire has 147 MB internal storage before you start installing anything. Given that app data live in the internal storage, and also a part of all apps called the "dalvik cache", you'll find you have less than that after a reset. So 151 MB is an odd number to start with, but that's a minor puzzle.

    Storage changing after a reset is stranger. There are tricks which can be used to increase available storage, but most are unaffected by a reset. The two basic approaches are to repartition the internal storage (if using a ROM that's smaller than the HTC one), or to use a partition on the card to "extend" the app storage. The first is not affected by a reset (or not if you use a custom hboot - I'll have to remind myself how the old custom mtd behaved). The second also is not provided the changes were made to the system rather than using an app, but might be if an app were used. However, in that second case you don't normally see that you have more storage - the phone still reports the real internal storage size (147 MB) but doesn't realise that some of the stuff is actually on the card.

    Bottom line: this is unusual. There are ways of getting more space, but the first thing would be to work out what the setup of your phone is already. So can you do a couple of things?

    1) what size SD card do you have (i.e. what it says on the card), and how big does the phone think it is (i.e. if you use the phone's Storage menu to see how big the card is)?

    The phone doesn't see the size of the card, but the size of its first partition. Normally there's only one partition, so these are the same, but if the card has been partitioned (to extend app storage) then the main partition will be smaller. For example, an 8GB card will have about 7.4-7.5 GB space (I'll explain at the end), but if there's a 1 GB second partition on it you'll see it as a 6.4-6.5 GB card instead. So this is a simple way to see whether there is a second partition on the card. A root-capable file browser, like Root Explorer or ES File Explorer, should also be able to see a second partition if it exists (it will have a name like /sd-ext or /sdext).

    2) Boot into the bootloader and tell us what it says on that screen.

    You get into the bootloader by booting the phone up while pressing the "volume down" key. It takes you to a white screen with little skateboarding androids at the bottom. At the top of the screen there is some information about the phone, with a small menu below. If you could tell us what the information is, especially the top couple of lines, and especially especially if there is any pink writing at the top, whether it says S-On or S-Off, Bravo or BravoC.

    The information from the hboot screen will tell us what model of Desire you have, but also whether it's possible that your internal memory might have been repartitioned.

    As for why an 8 GB card would have 7.45 GB, it's a common cheat by device makers. Computers use binary, so for a computing device 1 GB = 1024*1024*1024 bytes. But the device makers quote capacity in decimal units, i.e. 1 GB = 1000*1000*1000 bytes. The difference is that a decimal Gig is 7% smaller than a binary Gig, so an "8 GB" device has a binary capacity of about 7.45 GB.
  3. thisisasecret

    thisisasecret Lurker
    Thread Starter

    Thank you sooo much for dealing with my problem!

    I'm "glad" to hear the issue seems like a challenge.

    So I checked what you asked.

    The SD card is an SD card 4, supposed to be 8GBytes. Storage menu says 3.74 Gb total space, 3.06 free??!! Downloads are supposed to take up more than 300 mbytes; i guess those remained in there despite the factory reset?
    I don't get it, 4Gbytes are gone somewhere unnoticed? It's not like they had "pretended" to be all internal storage before, because it had been only about 250 mbytes before the reset. Why that number then?

    2) Bootloader says above the menu:
    Bravo PVT4 SHIP S-OFF

    I guess you don't need the last few lines, but i wrote it down, just in case.

    And thank you for the thorough education as well, it's interesting :) I'm really grateful you took the time to think about this - let's hope there's a simple solution!

    ps - i just connected my phone to the pc, being curious - it also detects the sd card as if it had 3,73 GB capacity.
  4. Hadron

    Hadron Smoke me a kipper...
    VIP Member

    And it's supposed to be an 8GB card? If so, there's likely to be a second partition (a much bigger one than is needed by the sound of it - 1GB is enough for increasing app storage, so 4GB is just wasting space on the card). If the partition is formatted as ext (ext2, ext3 or ext4 - linux filesystem formats) a Windows PC won't recognise it or be able to mount it, so you'll just see the single partition when you mount the card on the PC.

    Normally the tricks for extending storage using a partitioned card don't show any extra space. How they work is that the move some directories from the internal storage to the card, and leave links in the internal storage. So the phone thinks it's writing apps to /data/app, but actually it's writing to the card. Then if you ask the phone how much internal storage it has it replies "147 MB", as the actual size of the internal store (/data), not realising that the space has been extended. So seeing any increase is unusual.

    Anyway, the good news is that you have several options available to you to extend the space.

    If you do have a second partition, the simplest way is to use that. Many custom ROMs for the Desire come with the scripts needed to do this already included, but CM7 does not. If you are new to this the easiest way is probably to use an app rather than flash a modification to the ROM itself. There's an app in the Play Store called S2E (Simple2Ext) which is written specifically to do this for CyanogenMod. I've never used it myself, but it's intended to be straightforward. The other is called Link2SD, which works with many ROMs. This one allows you to choose what you move to the partition - individual apps, or the entire dalvik cache, or all apps.

    My suspicion is that it was using something like this already, because that's the simplest explanation for why it might be different after a reset (because this would remove the app).

    So, to do this what I'd suggest is:

    * go into recovery (from the bootloader menu). Hopefully this will give you a menu straight away (custom recovery). If you get a black screen with a red triangle then you don't have a custom recovery - in that case just reboot the phone and let us know, because you will want a custom recovery on a rooted phone.

    Assuming you have a custom recovery (if you can tell which - there's probably a name at the top of the screen) there should be an option in there to wipe or format sd-ext (the partition). I don't know what recovery you have, so can't say where in the recovery menu it will be, but any custom recovery should have this somewhere. This will tell you whether you have an extra partition (it should complain if you haven't), and also clean up anything that's been left there (because a reset performed via the phone menu won't have cleaned this).

    * While in recovery, select "backup". That way if anything goes wrong with the next bit, you can just roll back by restoring this recovery backup.

    * Reboot normally, and install one of those apps I mentioned from the Play Store. Run it and see how much space you gain. Look at the amount of free space rather than the total (the total will also be interesting, but may not change - free space should though).

    If that works, you now have more space for installing apps.

    There's also a more advanced way of doing this. You can install a different hboot, which will re-partition your internal storage. Currently you have 250 MB allocated to the ROM, but CM7 only needs about 135 MB. So the remaining space is unused. Since you are S-Off you can change this, using a different hboot which will allocate 145 MB for the ROM, and reallocate the freed space for user apps. I'm not suggesting this right now, as you are new to it and while it's not hard it is a more serious change because if you mess up the hboot the phone is dead. Hence it's more important to do the background reading and make sure you know what you are doing first (however, I did this dozens of times with my Desire, so I can assure you that it's perfectly safe if you follow procedures carefully).

    You can, incidentally, use both of these methods together, which between them give you enough space for anything you might be able to install on the Desire.

    We do have a bit more information on these things here: http://androidforums.com/desire-all...sd-partitions-updated-10th-august-2011-a.html. And the Desire All Things Root Guide sticky post in the Desire All Things Root forum here has pointers to other useful threads.

    Finally, as this is already rather long, I've mentioned the "dalvik cache" a couple of times. This is part of how android works: apps are actually executed by a java-based virtual machine called "dalvik". The dalvik cache contains pre-compiled versions of the apps used by the dalvik machine - the dalvik element is part of the installed app, created when you install it.
  5. thisisasecret

    thisisasecret Lurker
    Thread Starter

    So I did as you said - and you assumed well, I would like to stick to the safer methods :))

    I went into recovery, which is 4EXT Recovery Touch, and formatted sdext (got no error messages), then did a backup; that one also said i had 3.4 gb free space anyway.

    rebooted, no changes in the memory number. Now I'm trying to install one of those apps, but for some reason it doesn't even start downloading, it's been just loading for like 20 minutes.

    What i don't understand is: If there had been an app like this installed already, then how come i didn't see it in the apps menu when i got the phone?

    Again, thank you very much for your time and efforts. If we manage to solve this, I swear I'll DPD you a nice batch of cookies :))

    news: uninstalled the only app i had on my phone and deleted the play store update, managed to install link2sd - could not find the other one, when i searched for it, it gave link2sd as a result only. I have it installed, but there are no changes regarding the numbers; total space 151 MB, available 33.51 Mb (but these are due to uninstalling the play store update and the other app, I guess)

    I also checked the storage info within the app:
    internal: 33,24/151mb free
    sd card: 2,96/3,74gb free
    sd card 2nd part (ha!): 3,81/3,94gb free
    system: 12,24/250mb free
    +cache is almost empty

    Rebooted the phone, gave the superuser access to the app, now the phone storage info says 33,02 mb/151 free...?
  6. Hadron

    Hadron Smoke me a kipper...
    VIP Member

    With Link2SD you need to run the app youself and tell it to move stuff. It won't do anything until then.
  7. thisisasecret

    thisisasecret Lurker
    Thread Starter

    I had thought so, and tried to relink all application files - but it says no files to link, so i thought i needed to reset something first

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