1. j382's Avatar
    I'm posting this as a warning and to find out if anyone else has had this happen to them, and whether they managed to get any data back.

    My phone (Sony Xperia Z1 Compact) has been behaving strangely. Randomly turning itself off, being unable to charge or power on, boot loops. After eventually getting it powered again I managed, yesterday, to copy most of the data I didn't want to lose from my phones local storage to my PC. I thought that at worst I would eventually be unable to power the phone on and anything on the local storage would be inaccessible. I also had a micro SD card in my phone which I wasn't worried about because I could remove it at any time. Thinking that the phone just had some kind of hardware or battery problem it never occurred to me that software errors or data corruption could occur. I had been using this card on several devices and it had a lot stored on it, including several Gb of pics and videos from recent vacations. Rather foolishly, a lot of this wasn't backed up yet.

    Earlier today I opened the photo album app and was surprised to find it completely empty. After checking with a file manager app (ghost commander) I was shocked to discover that the local storage folder contained only about a dozen directories (before it probably had around 50) and no DCIM folder. I later realised that the folders I did see, had all been created today. Of course, having backed up all these locally stored photos just the night before, I was pretty relieved, but then I remembered the (not backed up) SD card. It was exactly the same situation. The 16 Gb card, as viewed in in the file manager, was completely empty except for a few directories created within the last 24 hours.

    I hadn't completely lost hope at this point, remembering instances when directories on my phone disappeared when viewed from a PC but later re-appeared. My hopes were crushed later when I removed the card and viewed it from my PC. It was as if it had been reformatted at some point in the last 24 hours. The earliest dated files in either the phone's local storage or the SD card, apart from an ".android_secure" folder which I presume was protected in some way, had been created in the morning after I initially backed up my phone's data, around the time I would have been travelling. I don't remember using my phone for anything in particular at this time, and I have no idea what could have triggered the data loss.

    I have attempted to use Recuva to restore lost data from the SD card. So far it seems I might have not lost as much as I feared, 90% of the recovered photos are unaffected (most of the videos won't open, but I'm hopeful there is a way to repair them if most of the underlying data is intact).

    Here is the weird part: after doing a 'deep scan' on the card with Recuva, it displays info about what has overwritten each recovered file. Some of the recovered files are overwritten with other file names as you normally expect (e.g. "F:\Photo1839283.jpg" is overwritten with "F:\Photo38577278.jpg"). Most of the recovered files, however, are listed as having being overwritten by bizarre pseudo-file paths consisting of text strings, e.g. "F:\?\a! (need. %i" or "F:\?\ize must. be" (those 2 examples are probably about 95% of them, but there are other examples that are just random strings of characters).

    I don't currently have root on my phone, and at a glance it appears everything outside of "storage/emulated" (which you would need root to modify) is unaffected. Doesn't this imply some kind of high level software glitch with the OS or an app (low level bugs could corrupt any part of the file system, and the phone would probably crash).

    I don't know if all of this was cause by my phone being glitchy, or if there is some kind of serious bug in Android, or something else. I have no idea if this is a Sony-specific problem. All I can say is that my trust in Android OS has been shaken pretty badly. Other than badly written software/malware, isn't this kind of thing pretty much unheard of on PCs? (failing hard disks don't quietly reformat or delete your files in the background)
    07-04-2015 05:15 AM
  2. B. Diddy's Avatar
    Welcome to Android Central! I'm glad you were at least able to recover some of the data, but that's still frustrating. It's difficult to say if the problem stems from a glitchy phone (that caused the card to lose data or reformat), or if the card failed on its own. MicroSD cards are not foolproof--I recently spoke with a friend in the memory business (for enterprise) who told me that consumer flash memory is often very low quality when compared to components for businesses. As a rule of thumb, one should never assume their data is safe and secure on an SD card--if there's important stuff on there, always back it up.
    07-04-2015 07:06 PM
  3. JHNote2S's Avatar
    This happened to me 7/15/15. Good news I had transferred all data from Internal storage and 32mb full external storage to my laptop with wd external 1tb storage. Under My Files/storage/extSdCard at bottom or end is,".android_secure" dated 12/31/1969 6:00pm. Under it is one more named with what looks like a backwards u, "uIDEO" which list 0 items dated 12/31/1969 6:00pm. I cant get these deleted, highlight other actions to do something with them. They took everything pics, music, videos and documents. What is interesting, they returned my personal pics and vids within 24 hours. The rest of week they are returning pictures and some music. No videos. I'm not going to hook back onto my laptop since I am thinking they may move this whatever into my healthy laptop. I am looking for answers too. I'm using a Verizon Galaxy Note II. Since so older, I'm thinking of buying new Galaxy Note 4 or 5 with new ext. SD card and start over. I think I could transfer stored data from laptop onto new device.
    07-25-2015 04:25 PM
  4. j382's Avatar
    MicroSD cards are not foolproof--I recently spoke with a friend in the memory business (for enterprise) who told me that consumer flash memory is often very low quality when compared to components for businesses. As a rule of thumb, one should never assume their data is safe and secure on an SD card--if there's important stuff on there, always back it up.
    The phone's internal memory (the non-root part anyway) got wiped at the same time as the SD card, so this wasn't caused by a faulty SD card.
    07-28-2015 02:56 AM
  5. j382's Avatar
    This happened to me 7/15/15. Good news I had transferred all data from Internal storage and 32mb full external storage to my laptop with wd external 1tb storage. Under My Files/storage/extSdCard at bottom or end is,".android_secure" dated 12/31/1969 6:00pm. Under it is one more named with what looks like a backwards u, "uIDEO" which list 0 items dated 12/31/1969 6:00pm. I cant get these deleted, highlight other actions to do something with them. They took everything pics, music, videos and documents. What is interesting, they returned my personal pics and vids within 24 hours. The rest of week they are returning pictures and some music. No videos. I'm not going to hook back onto my laptop since I am thinking they may move this whatever into my healthy laptop. I am looking for answers too. I'm using a Verizon Galaxy Note II. Since so older, I'm thinking of buying new Galaxy Note 4 or 5 with new ext. SD card and start over. I think I could transfer stored data from laptop onto new device.
    What do you mean you had your files 'returned'? Did you have some type of ransomeware and paid money to recover your files?
    07-28-2015 03:00 AM
  6. Quoc Dung's Avatar
    You are not the only one. My tablet TAD-10063 wiped the internal storage for no reason after thr battery was dead and i have to reinstall all apps again.
    07-05-2016 02:45 AM
  7. stang.girl's Avatar
    Having the same issue. I am missing over 300 pictures now, and Recuva could not find them even when I ran a deep scan of the SD card. I am finding this really upsetting, because a lot of the pictures were very important to me. It looks like the whole album disappeared before my auto-backup via Verizon Cloud even had a chance to find the pics and back them up.

    Any suggestions on other ways to find my missing folder of pics?
    10-18-2016 08:32 AM

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