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Problem with file explorers

Discussion in 'Android Lounge' started by treddie, Feb 11, 2019.

  1. treddie

    treddie Newbie
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    Hi.
    I have a Galaxy S5 with current G900V system updated. I have run into a frustrating problem and no file explorers I have tested fix the problem, and I have tested at least 10. The problem is this:

    I have a file called "w-9 v2.jpg". I put one copy in internal storage, and wrote an identical copy to the SDcard.

    Now, I have two file explorers on my system, ASTRO, and Total Commander. Here is what each sees:
    ________________
    ASTRO:
    /internal storage/Pictures/.../w-9 v2.jpg.

    But when I look at the SDcard, the
    file simply doesn't exist, nor most
    of the file path.
    ____________________
    Total Commander:
    The file does not show up in
    internal storage.

    But does show up on the SDcard:
    /sdcard/Pictures/.../w-9 v2.jpg

    What is going on here?!
     

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  2. Hadron

    Hadron  
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    /sdcard is not the microSD card. It's your internal storage.

    This is confusing, and frankly Google should have done away with it years ago. But it's a historical thing: the first android phones had very little internal storage, which was used for apps and their data, and used an actual SD card for media and large files.Then when they started adding more storage many manufacturers partitioned that into a space for apps (typically 2GB) and a space for media, which was referred to as an "internal SD card" (though it was really just a partition in the storage) and labelled /sdcard, with the rest SD card (if one was used) being given a name like "extSD". And of course some app developers hard-coded this name. So when Android introduced a "unified" partition scheme around Android 4, where apps, data and media all shared the same space, to avoid breaking existing apps Google kept the name /sdcard as one of the ways you can address the internal storage.

    I don't know what your actual SD card is called - maybe look at /storage/emulated/1 (since /storage/emulated/0 is /sdcard). But if you have put one copy on /sdcard I'm afraid it isn't where you think it is.
     
    MoodyBlues likes this.
  3. treddie

    treddie Newbie
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    Thanks for your reply, hadron.

    On my phone, things seem to be different. If I physically remove my SDcard, all file explorers no longer see it. If I put it back in, the explorers see it again. So on my phone, "SDcard" is definitely external storage.

    What makes this more confusing is that "internal storage" is often called "/storage/emulated/0", and "SDcard" is often called, "/storage/3133-3938". Sometimes it appears that "storage/emulated/0" is simply referred to as, "0", and "/storage/3133-3938" is shortened to just "3133-3938". So if I save a file to "3133-3938" I SHOULD be saving to the SDcard's root directory. But all the file explorers say the file does not exist. I can do a system wide search and the file system can't even find the file THAT way! Yet the app I built the file in can find the file just fine and re-open it. Imagine if Windows did that. This is utterly ridiculous. A file exists or it doesn't. And if it DOES exist, any file exlorer should see it juuuusst fine and should be searchable.
     
  4. Hadron

    Hadron  
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    Ok, that is very weird. In fact I'd say that the only thing worse than the way android uses multiple paths to the same space is if manufacturers do their own thing!

    What android version are you using? There was some serious stupidity with SD cards in 4.4 (Google implemented a security model that made the cards of limited use), but that concerned writing rather than reading and shouldn't affect the built-in file explorer (My Files), though might affect others. But I'm wondering whether this strange numerical device name is relevant:

    The 4.4 security problem basically made 3rd party apps unable to write to SD. In 5 they introduced a method by which apps could request write access to the whole card (as long as the app developer added this - some took years). But the default if you didn't add this hook was that android 5 would create a private area on the card for that specific app. I never really used this, but I'm wondering whether that is what's happening here, and whether that explains both the obscure name and the other apps not seeing anything?
     

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