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I have a backup process from my phone that seems to be working well, but I'm confused about why this is happening:

  1. I move files on my phone (android 7.0.1) to my external storage (micro sd card 64GB) [free space was 1.4GB]
  2. turn off phone, remove sd card, put into USB sd card reader, plug USB into computer
  3. Open explorer windows (2: one for the sd card, one for the destination dir)
  4. Move/Delete files
  5. Confirm in Windows Explorer that free space is created [~7GB used of 64GB], files are gone from SD and spot-check that they are readable in backup location
  6. eject drive safely, remove USB reader, remove card from reader, insert card into phone, turn phone on
  7. Check external sd card using Total Commander on my Android, see the "moved" files still there, readable, reporting at full size, while free space is also still there [Total Commander Android reporting ~7GB used].

I'm not doing any kind of secure delete, so I'm not overwriting the files with zeroes or anything like that...

I assume that Windows is deleting the headers and leaving the files intact, but Total Commander should not see these files, right?

What is happening here? Why can I still see the files on the SD Card using TotalCommander on Android, but not on Windows?

NOTE: the sd card is definitely NOT write protected.

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    Sounds like windows isn't working. Put the card back in windows and read it again, what's there this time? Might want to double-check the copying with a hash (md5/crc32 even) – Xen2050 Dec 21 '17 at 23:16
  • Try to use xcopy or move command to move files on your SD card. Then use DIR command to Displays the contents. Also disable the security software and Windows Defender in case security software can’t detect files and delete them. – Origami Dec 22 '17 at 7:44
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    Just to confirm: you are actually putting the files on the SD card, right? Android typically has partitions within the phone's internal storage, so the OS partition can be protected from where downloaded files, imagery from the camera etc are stored. This partition is commonly mounted as "external storage" i.e. not the system partition, and is easy to mistake for an installed SD card when transferring files around. It could be that you have copied the files, and you are seeing the originals on the phone still. – Baldrickk Dec 22 '17 at 12:14
  • Yes, I am definitely putting the files on the SD card. I am successfully getting them from my phone onto my computer. The issue is around the fact that when I use Total Commander on my Android, after the process is complete, the files are still on the SD card – Metagrapher Dec 23 '17 at 6:42
  • @Xen2050 Windows still doesn't see the files on the SD Card when I put the card back into the PC. Fortunately everything is backed up, there is no danger of losing files. The process was successful in accomplishing all goals: free space and securely store the files. It's just really weird that the files are still readable from the SD card even though they have been "deleted". – Metagrapher Dec 23 '17 at 7:03
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Maybe windows just moved the files to a "Recycle Bin" folder, and they're still on the card. Total Commander in Android is showing all the files on the card.

  • It's odd. It shouldn't have recycled them, as I held shift when I deleted them, getting the confirmation that I would be permanently deleting them. Something about the SD card maybe being corrupt... Windows can't delete the files from them, but thinks it is. I should probably replace it before I lose data. – Metagrapher Dec 26 '17 at 19:04
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Sounds to me like there is mold filesystem corruption and Windows is mounting the filesystem read only. Try doing a filesystem check (checkdusj) and see if it fixes any corruption.

  • chkdsk and fsck both report no errors. – Metagrapher Dec 23 '17 at 6:50
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    What’s, Mold filesystem? – Ramhound Dec 23 '17 at 23:15

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