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Make Smartphone Appear as USB Storage?


FantasyAcquiesce
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Hello,

I'm hoping to find a way to transfer storage from a modern smartphone directly. I haven't had much success with an adapter into my smartphone and want to see if I can find an alternative to indirect methods (FTP, cloud storage, Netoworking, etc.)

Is there a way to make a phone's internal or external storage appear as a flash drive on a pc? I don't want to have to try dual-booting with Linux. It would be nice if I could just transfer images and potential downloads onto the pc.

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It can't be done directly anymore. This was discussed in detail several years ago.

External storage is as easy as replugging the card into a compatible card reader.

Otherwise, if the phone appears as a sharable drive on a modern system, you might be able to access it remotely. Another option is to backup the phone to the cloud and access the files directly (or indirectly) from there. Your phone might also be able to email you individual files of interest.

Can Linux access modern smartphones? If so, there is a slim chance the source code could be adapted to Win9x.

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Off-topic for Windows 98, but I was a bit puzzled to read that first thread.
I have a Galaxy S7 Edge phone running Android 8.0 (Oreo) and it appears fine as a storage device on my machine, both on 10 and XP (not Windows 98 though!)
The thread says newer phones won't work like that as later versions of Android don't support it.
It doesn't get a drive letter, but it appears in Explorer and both the SD card and the internal memory can be accessed fine.
:dubbio:

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This particular subject is of interest to me as well... several times I've considered getting a smartphone and every time I always choose not to because of this or that reason. Apparently now I may be forced to because they claim my network is changing and my old flip phone will no longer work.

This particular issue is one of my major peeves. I believe it is still possible to achieve "USB Mass Storage Mode," but from what I understand it requires using a rootkit on the phone/taking root control of the Android OS. I've tried to read up on that process, but what small amount of info there is is not conducive to those who are new to the subject. It doesn't help that now it seems those who want to use this mode are beginning to be "looked down on"; i.e. more people are wasting their time asking "why do you want to do this" rather than actually providing any useful information or solutions. Also, it appears one just has to blindly "trust" whatever tools are available for the rootkit operation. :wacko:

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Although it's not my day-to-day mobile (which remains being a Nokia C2-01), I do have a basic smartphone for the few situation in which it's really needed (regretably). It's a 3 year-old SAMSUNG GALAXY J2 Prime SM-G532M (Global Single SIM). If I connect its micro-B connector to any of my XP machines, it's promptly recognized, and I can access both the micro-SDHC inside it and the phone memory using WIndows Explorer,without any special software being necessary. However, in fact, it does not get a drive letter, being accessed via Media Transfer Protocol, but I don't see that as a problem in any way. Moreover, it's powered by a Quad-core 1.4 GHz Cortex-A53 (an in-order CPU), so it's not vulnerable to Spectre/Meltdown. And last, but not least, it's relatively inexpensive, as opposed to many fridge/freezer combo priced smartphones that usually are the 1st they try to push on one. My 2¢, of course.

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I've had to use MTP a handful of times with a smartphone and XP and myself found it to be profoundly annoying.. so much simpler to have the media mounted as a drive rather than a device. Not to mention pure USB Mass Storage Mode allows for much greater backward compatibility with OS'es. Just my opinion though. :angel

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Hmmm...it looks like there is an app that can enable the usb ability back, but smartphone support is hit or miss...and root is required...my phone model (samsung galaxy s9) is definitely not listed on the support list either.

I honestly prefer just having USB Storage Mode back because the phone will work with old and new OSes without having to provide a driver. I'm sure a Windows 95 could view an artificially cramped 32gb smartphone just fine. This mode would also make direct access from Linux certain.

PTPdrive does seem fine in the case of an incompatible XP-machine.

Then again, I kinda have the question if viewing a storage size unsupported in an older OS could lead to corruption or not...

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I wonder if LineageOS has the option for good 'ol USB Mass Storage mode. For Sony Xperia E3 at least with stock OS based on Android 4.4.4, it's not an issue because it has the option in settings. It's still a fairly modern device, only 5 years old.

I never used unrooted phone for long though, just find it too restricting. Banking apps often refuse to work on rooted phones and even some stuff in entertainment category... Sure you can unroot and certain modifications for which you needed root permissions stay, obvious exception being the apps that need root access to operate normally, but it's just an extra stupid barrier for the people who know what they're doing.

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10 hours ago, Dave-H said:

Yes exactly, which is what the other thread said didn't exist any more in newer versions of Android.
:dubbio:

No, you misread it somehow (or I am misreading you now).

Once there was Mass Storage Device connection, then that was removed and PTP/MTP was used instead.

Whether an OS supports (or fails to support) PTP/MTP is another thing, but if the data is not "exposed" by the connection the other end cannot receive it properly or if the data accessible is only a subset of all the data, there is the issue.

@dencorso

It depends on the kind of access you need/want to the actual storage, the threads I linked to are mostly about what is "missing" when using MTP compared to Mass Storage Device, among others there are issues with timestamps of files, as an example.

JFYI,

https://www.forensicfocus.com/Forums/viewtopic/p=6563168/#6563168

Particularly:

https://blogs.technet.microsoft.com/juanand/2010/12/10/playing-with-windows-phone-7-as-usb-storage/

jaclaz 

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Apologies @jaclaz.
You said "Thank the good guys developing Android for removing this useful feature, the good guys developing Windows for NOT providing drive letter/file access via MTP and the sheep common people for not having made a big fuss about it."
I read it that MTP had been removed altogether, but I guess you just meant that access by drive letter had effectively been removed.
Cheers, Dave.
:)

Edited by Dave-H
Amendment
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1 hour ago, Dave-H said:

Apologies @jaclaz.
You said "Thank the good guys developing Android for removing this useful feature, the good guys developing Windows for NOT providing drive letter/file access via MTP and the sheep common people for not having made a big fuss about it."
I read it that MTP had been removed altogether, but I guess you just meant that access by drive letter had effectively been removed.
Cheers, Dave.
:)

No need to apologize :), though what I actually meant is still slightly different.

Mass Storage connection makes sense for a mass storage device and (by convention) this implies on Windows that a drive letter is assigned to volumes on it, but this drive letter assignment is the result of the way Windows works because it has access to the PhysicalDrive and - via mount manager - to logical volumes (what get a drive letter) and their filesystems.

The (stupid) PTP/MTP approach is at a higher level and never provided drive letters because it has no connection to the physical drive, and what I was lamenting about was not the lack of drive letter access but rather the lack of the more direct access that allows otherwise (besides other possibilities) "normal" drive letter access.

A good example of a similar approach is FTP, you have NO idea when you connect to a FTP site/directory what OS is running "there", nor which filesystem you are actually accessing.

Still you have exposed some file characteristics, like (usually) size and date. 

If you take (on a "recent") window a ftp site you can map it to a drive (drive letter) just fine, *like*:

https://www.thewindowsclub.com/map-an-ftp-drive-windows

or - via third party tool - *like*:

https://www.ferrobackup.com/map-ftp-as-disk.html

Still only a part of the data (those provided by the FTP) are available, so, even if you have *some* access via drive letter, you do not have the same amount of data/access as if it was a local disk drive.

In the case of a FTP (please read as "remote") device this is of course "normal", but in the case of PTP/MTP the mass storage device is "local" allright, connected by a (usually too short to be practical in most real world situations) USB cable, and there is no reason for arbitrarily removing (by using the stupid connection protocol) otherwise technically possible ways to access it, if not the utter stupidity and total lack of respect for the customers that are common between the good MS guys and the good Google guys (and all the sheep, which include the large majority of customers and the actual manufacturers of the phones).

What anyone[1] would actually want to be able to do would be:

1) periodically connect his/her device to a PC
and
2) run a full dd of the phone "as is" to an image or restore the phone to an exact previous state by dding an image to it

OR

3) use Robocopy or similar or backup/restore software

AND:

4) perform any "common" maintenance for mass storage devices, like copying files, defragmenting the filesystem, etc.

This would be easy, simple and effective, needing not an internet connection (think of the stupid "cloud" backups) nor any particular software from the manufacturer of the phone device (usually crappy, bloated and what not).

Probably too simple and easy  :(.
 

jaclaz

 

[1] anyone with some common sense, I mean, a very small minority of people in my eperience.

Edited by jaclaz
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Many Mediatek based devices even with Android 5+ supports mapping external SD card as usb storage, not mtp/ptp. U need manually select this option, when plug cable in computer. 

Other good option is install ftp server on phone, assign fixed ip for phone on ur router, and use any ftp client for pc.

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