Windows 10 bug causes data loss when moving files on Android phones

By: Ivan Jenic
3 minute read

Windows 10 and Android simply don’t get along! And not just because the two operating systems are enemies in an unfair war for the mobile market share. As it appears, Windows 10 PC and Android also don’t function in harmony.

Users have been reporting for months now that you may lose your files if try to move them between folders on the phone using Windows 10’s File Explorer. Wider audiences acknowledged the problem when one user posted it on Reddit. Although that’s not a single report about this problem.

Here’s what Reddit user zeddyzed said about the problem:

“Hi, I’m feeling awful right now as I might have lost a whole bunch of important videos and photos 🙁 Hopefully there’s an answer out there.

I connected my Sony Xperia Z3 Compact to my Windows 10 PC via USB (MTP).

I browsed to the external SDCard on the phone, and did a Cut and Paste from one folder to another.

After the operation completed, I couldn’t find the files anywhere, in either the source or destination folders! At first I thought it might have been a caching thing – sometimes MTP needs a rescan to recognise files. But using a file manager on the phone itself didn’t find it either.”

To clear things up, this issue only occurs when you’re trying to move a file between folders inside the device. So, if you’re copying files from your computer to your phone, you have nothing to worry about, as the problem won’t occur.

Reportedly, this happens because of an error in the USB MTP connection of Android and Windows 10 that causes data loss if you move files on an Android device. Your files will simply be lost forever, as any recovery actions will hardly be of any help. 

Computerworld’s Woody Leonhard also managed to find a list of all affected Android devices:

  • “Android 8: Nexus 6P, 5X

  • Android 7: HTC U11, Nokia 6, OnePlus 3,5, Xiaomi Mi 6, Mi Mix, LG K8, G5, Motorola Moto G3, G5

  • Android 6: Sony Xperia Z3 Compact, Huawei Honor 7

  • Lineage OS 7.1.1: Samsung Galaxy S5″

  • No specified Android version: Galaxy S2, S4 mini HTC 10, 8s Sony Xperia Z, Xperia Z5 Huawei Mate 9, P8 Lite”

How to avoid data loss on your Android phone in File Explorer

As far as we know, Microsoft hasn’t acknowledged the issue yet. Therefore, there’s still no official fix for this issue. However, with some caution, you can avoid getting your data deleted.

Your safest bet is to simply use a file manager on your phone and move your files internally, without connecting your device to Windows 10. It’s more time consuming, but at least you’ll completely eliminate any risk.

As soon as Microsoft tells us something more about the problem, or even release a fix, we’ll make sure to let you know.

Have you ever experienced this issue? Let us know in the comments. 

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