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Before Jelly Bean forced us to use MTP mode (mass transfer protocol) instead of Mass Storage Device, It was dead simple to backup my phone to my pc, because I only needed to plug it in, and sync the contents of the SD card to my PC.

I used an app called "Free File Sync", which basically just syncs any two folders in windows.

The problem now is, that MTP mode doesn't assign drive letters to the phone's memory (internal and SD), which causes that my syncing program simply doesn't recognize the device.

I have the same problem with other programs that I use to manage my phones SD card, namely "TreeSize free", which analyses any folder or drive and gives you an oversight of the space consumed by folders, etc. Again, since the phone is not assigned a drive letter, the program simply ignores it, as if it wasn't there.

So what are my options? Is there a default way of syncing MTP drives with Windows?

I also have tried to enable Mass Storage in my phone, but it doesn't work (the option is simply no longer there in Jellybean 4.1.2, or at least in my model)

Note, I don't want apps to make backups of my stuff (apps, pictures, etc), I already have them (Titanium Backup, etc), what I want is to be able to SYNC everything in my phone (backups included) to my pc automatically.

I could simply copy ALL files from Windows Explorer every single time, and then manually syncing it to the destination backup folder, but obviously is not convenient and loses the point of SYNCING.

So what can I do? I just want to once in a while sync everything in my phone to my pc as a backup.


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2 Answers 2

The easiest way probably is to turn the mechanism around: instead of letting Windows do the sync, let the Android device take care. From there, you should have full access at least to your SDCard (internal as well as external). So all that's needed is a possibility for the Android device to access your Windows PC.

  1. On your Windows PC, create a "share" (i.e. share a directory to the network)
  2. On your Android device, install an app like e.g. FolderSync
  3. In FolderSync, configure your "folder pairs": which directory on your Android device should get synchronized with which directory on the Windows share.

You can sync manually, or in time intervals. You even can restrict it to WiFi, so it wouldn't eat your data plan (I'm not sure wether you can restrict it to a specific WiFi network, so it would e.g. only sync at home -- but that's possible to do as well at least with some similar sync app).

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The bad news is there's no obvious/direct way to get a drive letter assigned to an MTP device. The MTP protocol operates at the file level rather than the filesystem/FAT cluster level, which is supposed to protect in some ways users from accidentally doing things that could be really destructive to their phone's filesystem (eg: reformat in a different format, corrupt the filesystem, making your phone appear to not work right when the sd card unmounts to remount on the pc, etc)...so you're not going to have the level of detailed info about the filesystem necessary for a program like treesize to accurately display the usage of the drive.

There are a number of different threads I found online about ways to make windows trick a MTP device into being treated as a mass storage device, but most of them appear to be false leads, or something that might (or might not) work on XP but is unlikely to work on a newer os like windows 7. Nothing I could replicate on my own machine. Most of those hack solutions seem to rely on such things as tricking windows into using the mass storage device driver instead of the MTP driver.

There do appear to be programs that attempt to sync over MTP mode as best they can (ie: the apps can compare the files by size, but it can compare by date/location/filename. Here's one for mac: http://www.sync-mac.com/mtp-sync.html and one for PC: http://mobiletechpundit.blogspot.com/2012/02/syncing-mtp-devices-like-android-based.html (PureSync).

Another option is to look into apps that run on your phone that manages the syncing as Izzy suggested.

Additionally, if your phone is an HTC phone, it may come pre-installed with an application called HTC sync which can sync files between the phone and PC.

Another less automated way to get copies of "everything on your phone" onto your PC would be to just use ADB to backup your entire device filesystem regularly. Not quite as nice as a direct sync app since restore using ADB is all or nothing, however, if you have the right apps installed on your PC you can manually extract a specific file of interest from a specific backup archive (presuming you remember your backup password).

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