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Need to verify that my SDCARD was formatted EXT/2/3/4

Discussion in 'Android Apps & Games' started by tgm1024, Feb 1, 2016.

  1. tgm1024

    tgm1024 Well-Known Member
    Thread Starter

    Samsung Galaxy Note II (Verizon non-rooted)
    KitKat 4.4.2
    16 GB internal
    64 GB external

    Given the entire 4.4 debacle with external card permissions, there's an issue even when you ask KitKat to format the external card. I've removed all apps that were using it, but as many have mentioned there was always something left behind.

    Does anyone know of an app that will tell me what the filesystem is on the sdcard?

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  2. Probably easiest to remove the card and use a PC card reader to see its properties.
  3. argedion

    argedion The TechnoFrog

    Chances are the format is fat32 I'm not sure they were using exfat at that time but it could be.
  4. tgm1024

    tgm1024 Well-Known Member
    Thread Starter

    No, not if the phone did the formatting. Those days are over for 4.4+. 4.4 requires a filesystem that has unix level ownership & RWXRWXRWX permission structure. FAT variants simply don't have this.

    This is where the flakiness came from with KitKat. But I'm actually ok with the reasons behind it. Android simply cannot be secure without it.

    The following link explains it. But does not tell me if Lollipop has a fix. Which I cannot use anyway because it's not available from Verizon for the Galaxy Note II....and I'm not the "rooting" type:

    KitKat SD cards --- What's Fixed, What's Broken, And What's Misunderstood

    HOWEVER, (this is where it gets unforgivably weird)----if you ask the phone itself to format the sdcard, it would normally use an EXT variant now. *UNLESS* it contains anything left behind from before. Right now, there are a number of people experiencing this "format doesn't format, it only deletes" problem, and this is the culprit. I may have to reset my phone *without* the card, format the card from a special utility on my PC (because windows does not support EXT variants), and then put it into my phone and ask the phone to *again* reformat the card.

    But it requires that I know which variant of EXT it is attempting in the first place. It might well remain as FAT, in which case, I'm going to have to "wing it" with a FAT format from the PC (followed by an EXT format from the phone).

    I think I'm going to use the linux on the phone to verify what's going on at the lower level. I'll use a shell/terminal emulator app.

    Pro Tip: Reclaim your SD card while using KitKat
    svim likes this.
  5. argedion

    argedion The TechnoFrog

    All I know is my Samsung S4 with kitkat formatted the drive extfat. I since have removed kit kat put on lollipop and formatted the sdcard fat32. I have had no issues. So if your device is using a different format I don't know. I would recommend putting the card straight into your windows machine then go to disk management this should tell you if its a fat or extfat if it by chance is a ext2,3 or 4 then you will need a third party partition app like Gparted. You will know of its one of the others as windows will probably not recognize the format
    tgm1024 likes this.
  6. tgm1024

    tgm1024 Well-Known Member
    Thread Starter

    You mean exFAT? That's really odd, because exFAT is a microsoft filesystem. This needs a lot more digging on my part. Thank you.

    I'm not at all sure where most of the bodies are buried in this thing. Apparently within 4.4, if an application established it's own "app specific directories" (using getExternalFilesDir()) then it doesn't need the permission otherwise now required if your app was using getExternalStoragePublicDirectory().

    So the information implying that EXT is a requirement seems false. I think.

    But it's still the case that we have a number of things going on, and I'm highly suspicous that it's all related to the above change with KitKat:

    1. Access to sdcard from within apps that were previously using the sdcard no longer work. Minecraft and several others fell right into this category. They were instantly crocked (for many of us). This was solved by uninstalling and reinstalling (I think).

    2. The sdcard for many folks suddenly goes into a very fast mount/unmount/mount/unmount repeating cycle.

    3. The sdcard often times becomes crocked completely at the hardware level. Having written unix device drivers in the distant past, I still can't figure out how this is possible, even from the driver level, unless the mount/unmount endless cycle killed it outright with a large number of writes.

    4. Formatting the card from the phone sometimes produced these results for folks: a) It didn't do anything, and all the previous files remained, or b) It seems to remove *some* files (presumably the ones that were put their prior to KitKat or from outside the phone), but most come back.

    5. Moving an app to SD card (using the phone's options) sometimes makes data used by that app vanish.
    #6 tgm1024, Feb 2, 2016
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2016
    argedion and svim like this.
  7. tgm1024

    tgm1024 Well-Known Member
    Thread Starter

    Ok, I'm slowly slowly catching up with the KitKat-verse of changes. This verifies (and explains better) much of what is going on, and particularly explains why Samsung just prior to KitKat decided to break the rules a little and allow a little more than normal, only to cave in when KitKat showed up and go full handcuffs and iron maiden.

    Good grief. Google (and by proxy, Samsung) should really have thought through all the ramifications and placed some kind of real-time-detection in place for things that might cause trouble to folks.

    External Blues: Google Has Brought Big Changes To SD Cards In KitKat, And Even Samsung Is Implementing Them

    That explains quite a bit for what happened with KitKat. So now moving onward from the above excellent link, we have the following link explaining how Lollipop was designed to fix all the ill-will and stomach wrenching going on as a result of KitKat. Pretty cool, except that as of right now, I can't get Lollipop on my Note II from Verizon (without root). Newer Samsungs have Lollipop, but since many of them don't allow external SD cards anymore (and now it's understandable to me why), it's kind of moot.

    Android 5.0 Makes SD Cards Great Again, Extends API To Allow Full Directory Access, Automatic MediaStore, And Improves Security

    Ugh. It must have been a rough couple years for Android developers.
    #7 tgm1024, Feb 2, 2016
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2016

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