Android and Windows 10 bug: files may disappear

When you connect an Android device to a Windows 10 machine using an USB connection, you may end up losing data on the Android device.

All Android devices can be connected to computer systems using USB. If you connect an Android device to Windows, the Media Transfer Protocl MTP is being used usually. Microsoft created the protocol as a standard for transferring media files such as photos or videos between Windows and Android devices.

The MTP connection between Windows 10 and Android has a bug that causes data loss under certain circumstances. Most users are probably not exposed to the bug, as it only occurs when moving files on the Android device while the MTP connection is active.

It is comfortable to use mouse and keyboard, or File Explorer on a larger screen, to move files on connected Android devices.

windows 10 android bug

The connection between Windows 10 and the Android device works fine; you can move or copy files to and from the Android device without any issues. You may also use apps on Android to move or copy files; this works as well without any issues even if the device is connected to the Windows 10 PC at the time.

If you happen to move files internally on the Android device however, the following happens:

  • If you move files, the files vanish. The type of storage does not matter; files disappear when you move from one internal storage location to another, or use SD cards.
  • If you copy files, the copying appears to work but the files never land in the destination folder.
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The bug affects most Android devices including Nexus 6P, HTC U11, Nokia 6, Moto G5, OnePlus 3 and 5, Xiaomi Mi 6, Sony Xperia Z3 Compact and more.

Some devices are not affected including many Samsung devices with Android 7, the Blackberry Priv, and Huawei Honor 8.

Windows 10 is affected by the issue while Windows 7 and Windows 8 PCs are not. Some users on Heise revealed however that they experienced the same issue on Linux devices when using MTP.

Workarounds for the bug

A fix is not available right now; this means that you may only work around the bug at this point in time. The following options are available:

  • Move or copy files directly on the Android device without using Windows.
  • Move or copy files to the Windows PC first, and then move or copy them back to the Android device.
  • Some Windows file managers use the Windows PC as temporary storage when copying or moving files. This is the case for Total Commander and Directory Opus.
  • FTP, Webdav and other methods work.
  • Files on SD cards can be read directly on the PC if that is supported.

Now You: How do you transfer files from and to your mobile devices? Is your device affected by the issue? (via Born / Woody)

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Android and Windows 10 bug: files may disappear
When you connect an Android device to a Windows 10 machine using an USB connection, you may end up losing data on the Android device.
Ghacks Technology News
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Responses to Android and Windows 10 bug: files may disappear

  1. User September 1, 2017 at 7:50 am #

    Thanks for this info! Pretty scary.

  2. Appster September 1, 2017 at 8:15 am #

    Honestly, bugs like this are the exact reason why I don't use Windows or Android. Or any system where the software developer is not identical with the hardware manufacturer. I've been into IT for a long time, and I tell you that those "One size fits all" systems usually end up being mediocre.

    I've had three Android smartphones up until now, each of them sporting a different major release of the software. The bugs and suboptimal performance Android offered didn't make the cut for me. And no, those three phones were not even in the middle class, but the upper class of devices. Now I've moved on to the iPhone and therefore iOS.

    Same with Windows. Windows has been slowing down over time since... forever. Windows 10 is a usability catastrophe and doesn't even allow to deny updates without much fiddling. Hence my move to a MacBook and therefore macOS.

    But this is not only true for Apple, but all other brands using dedicated software. Blackberry 10 was rock solid, for example.

    Same with TVs. I had to move away from Sony because of their Android TV shenanigans, going so far to make their own TVs freeze amidst a movie. Very annoying. I've changed to a Loewe TV in the same price range, and couldn't be happier. Guess what? They are still using their own (very responsive) system.

    I am fed up with Android's and Windows' approach, to be honest. The hardware manufacturer is often not able to solve software issues without Google's assistance. And of those issues there are many, because the manufacturer doesn't give a fuck and can always say that the blame rests with the software developer.

    Of course I know that it is not practicable for every manufacturer to maintain their own OS. The nightmare of every developer. I am just happy that there are still some manufacturers that do, putting emphasis on the overall experience of their products.

    One size fits all... Thanks, but no thanks. Everybody can use whatever he/she wants. Everybody can deal with severe bugs all they like. I don't need to advertise, yet this was indeed my experience with multiple devices. Just my 2 cents.

    • FuckLogic September 1, 2017 at 1:10 pm #

      >> "One size fits all" systems usually end up being mediocre.
      >> Now I've moved on to the iPhone and therefore iOS.

      I've red everything you typed after as "Fan boy talk". And guess what something similar to this has happen, the data loss you are afraid of, to "Apple" a couple of times in the past as well.

      >>One size fits all... Thanks, but no thanks. Everybody can use whatever he/she wants. Everybody can deal with severe bugs all they like. I don't need to advertise, yet this was indeed my experience with multiple devices. Just my 2 cents.


      • Appster September 1, 2017 at 1:25 pm #

        Yes, it is totally obvious that a system which is not thoroughly optimized has to run better than thoroughly optimized systems. By the way, I never said that e.g. Apple software doesn't have bugs, at all. I just said that there are far fewer bugs than in software which was neither developed with a specific device in mind nor was left untouched by the manufacturers. The clutter the manufacturers add alone makes for a horrible experience.

        > Faceplam

        Is this to say that you disagree with the fact that Android is pretty buggy? If so, prove it wrong. Prove that Android is more stable and less crash-prone than systems developed with a specific device in mind. Will be fun to see.

    • Timmy September 1, 2017 at 2:00 pm #

      Or, you know, just avoid Windows 10 (for now). It's an unfinished buggy mess. By the time 7 and 8 stop being supported it will probably be decent enough.

  3. Franck September 1, 2017 at 10:39 am #

    Thanks for bringing it up !
    It happened to me last week and I thought I was just losing my mind or that it was an obscure Android file system bug caused by kernel "laptop mode" (write deferral).

  4. Noob September 1, 2017 at 10:47 am #

    @Appster, it seems that your're doing customizations to your software and hardware and ending up with ruining your setup. Everything doesn't suck, you're just a noob with "long time into IT". Total fail lol

    • Appster September 1, 2017 at 12:41 pm #

      Yep, Windows and Android having bugs is totally my fault. That's why the support forums are full of complaints, that was also me. That's why manufacturers like Sony have already stated that the TV crashes were their fault, I made them do it. That's why Windows is looked down upon by users of other systems, I made them think that. It was all me. Believe it or not.

      Really: It is you who is a total fail. Android and/or Windows fanboy I suppose.

  5. Earl September 1, 2017 at 1:12 pm #

    Interesting, I suppose, but I'd call this a Windows 10 bug, not an "Android and Windows 10" bug. Just another reason to not use Windows 10 if at all possible. Frankly, though, I'd expect most people to use wi-fi to upload files to online accounts instead; that's what I do.

  6. hirobo2 September 1, 2017 at 3:10 pm #

    Android sucks. It's only good as a "chromebook" type OS. Don't expect to be using it for any kind of productivity work. And never mind this Windows-Android cross bug, I've had files disappear from the internal drive for no reason while in Android.

  7. Jeff September 1, 2017 at 8:03 pm #

    Windows 10. Hmm. Avoid this crap. Use 7 or 8.1 with Classic Shell.

  8. svim September 1, 2017 at 10:13 pm #

    I gave up on using USB connectivity with my Android phone to a computer years ago and now just rely on WiFi transfer apps like AirDroid. Recently been using KDE Connect and that's working out well also but as it's a Linux based solution I tend to use it only at home. But with AirDroid, I no longer have to worry about any MTP/PTP/mass storage settings, nor any driver issues depending on the OS or OS version. All that's necessary is the AirDroid app on my phone and a web browser on the target computer (Linux, Mac, or Windows, the OS is irrelevant, the same applies to the browser as Firefox, Chrome, Chromium, Konqueror, Safari, IE, Edge all work fine.) Oh, there does need to be a local network with WiFi of course, but with no direct connection I don't have to worry about transferable issues (like BadUSB) that spread over USB, and I don't have to always have an appropriate USB cable with me when I'm not home.

  9. Lindsay September 2, 2017 at 12:06 pm #

    Data security! We've heard of it...

    Haha Windows 10 really is amateur hour isn't it. What an absolute joke.

  10. beergas September 2, 2017 at 5:52 pm #

    Been using 2 regular digital cameras and transfers to Windows 10 x64 Pro via the mem cards/USB has been solid. This kind of bug spooks me just enough to avoid Android
    but not enough to go Apple route. Did avoid the MS cellphone attempts as it just seemed to decay though sort of had hopes for it. Doesn't leave any choice right now so sticking
    with plain vanilla flip phone & its tiny camera. Give it all another year to see how this shakes out with more Windows Updates then decide. Android might have improved then.

  11. Peyman September 4, 2017 at 1:12 am #

    Also affects Xperia L

  12. Jeff September 4, 2017 at 7:38 pm #

    Ohh btw I just discovered another issue with Windows 10 MTP. Some files on the Android device are just not shown at all in Explorer! But if I use another protocol like SMB to view them, they can be accessed just fine. So it looks like they broke MTP and made it buggy in Windows 10. I confirmed it several times by browsing the same path - once with MTP and again via SMB.

    • Lindsay September 6, 2017 at 2:18 pm #


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