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.
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.
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.