The Gallery on my Android device seems to show all the photos and videos, whatever the method to get them could had been (camera, whatsapp, bluetooth, and so on).

I would like to backup them all, but all I have found on the net refers to one nagging method, consisting of syncing it to some cloud (DropBox, for example) storage. This is painfully slow, and I prefer to store my multimedia on my desktop computer, for example by pluging the USB cable or transferring it via USB storage device, SD card... etc.

But the only way to backup the entire gallery to my computer I have found is just the manual method of copying each involved directory that could contain those files. This is like some sort of nightmare, due to:

  • There are multiple possible directories that I must (nearly) guess, depending of the program that got the photos/videos: camera seems to be at DCIM, WhatsApp at whatsapp, another directory for bluetooth ... etc.
  • There are two storage drives: the phone itself and the SD card. So the job must be done twice.
  • Some Windows system (my Windows 8.1 at least does, I don't know why) don't allow concurrent file transfers via USB cable, so I must seek&start the first transfer of files (say DCIM), wait until it finishes, start the second (say bluetooth) and so on.
  • Restoring such backup requires rebuilding the exact directory structure on the phone, but I could prefer to store all the photos and videos on the same folder on my desktop.

Isn't there a more simple way?
Both solutions involving Android's native or additional software (freeware preferred) are accepted.
If not possible, I could accept a solution involving to send the entire gallery to any cloud/internet and recovering it on the desktop.

  • @LôrdRalfAdolf, any Windows version would enough. I did not think the operating system for the desktop computer would bother, because I was expecting some sort of Android's method/software that would extract/send/copy the gallery content to SD Card, USB storage... etc. Anyway, if needed I can use Linux. May 22, 2015 at 16:17
  • do you have a usb device (storage device ) that can be plugged to your phone ? I can put a methode to do it simply from android directly May 22, 2015 at 23:15
  • Indeed, @LôrdRalfAdolf . Sending the gallery to the desktop computer via USB storage or SD card is accepted. I have edited the original question to reflect it. It could even be a better method for many people that simply backup data to some external USB huge-sized disk. May 23, 2015 at 1:48

6 Answers 6


I don't prefer cloud backup because of high priced internet plans in my country, and the answer by Lord Ralf Adolf didn't work for my device somehow. Ultimately, I had to find a solution which is supposed to be no pain only gain. Here we go with one mentioned below.


  • The solution requires a USB cable, MTP enabled (available in Android 4.xx and 5.xx) in Android device, (devices with USB Storage Mode would work as well), and Windows 7/8 in PC.

  • If MTP somehow doesn't work in your PC, you've no access to USB cable, or your device doesn't have MTP feature, then you may very well host a server on your Android device, preferably a WebDAV server. See my answer here for know-how.

  • Tested the solution with Android 4.2.1 and Windows 7.

What this answer would achieve?

  • Works well with/without USB Storage and MTP support in Android device.

  • Backup multiple directories easily.

  • Can backup two or more storage drives by choosing the following solution only which would require repeating the instructions, or (following+linked) answer which would make it happen in one-go.

  • Fully automatic once final instruction is executed; no need to do manual copy for each file/directory.

  • Copies exact directory structure so that you don't have to worry during restoring the data.

  • Needs no Internet connection (other than to download some required software here).

A bit of explanation before going to the kernel

The problem with most of the media backup apps (I noticed) for Android is that they don't really preserve or care for the exact directory structure, which means you can mine images from anywhere in the Android but you can't really mirror the directory tree for saving the file in your destination storage, i.e. (analogy)

copy F:/DCIM/Camera/DSC11*.JPG C:\Users\Firelord\Desktop\Test\ 

is easily possible and available by many Android apps and Windows softwares, but not

copy F:\DCIM\Camera\DSC11*.JPG C:\Users\Firelord\Desktop\Test\DCIM\Camera\DSC11*.JPG

The same holds true for many Windows Explorer alternatives for Windows 7/8 including FreeCommander, Multi Commander, Explorer++, XYplorer and other tools like SmartCopy.

(Note that I tried the listed ones but could not find the desired functionality with ease (auto copy with tree). Let me know (to edit) if your experience differs.)

Anyhow, the trick was to find a software for Windows which allows to take media backup(not disk/media imaging) with synchronization feature. Three such candidates that I tested and found easy(GUI) are SyncToy, FreeFileSync and PureSync. (All are free for personal use.)

I recommend FreeFileSync and the instructions for its usage are mentioned below.


  1. Download FreeFileSync(free).

  2. This program might not create Start Menu entry. For a 64-bit Windows 7, the program's directory location is C:\Program Files\FreeFileSync and a relative one would be for 32-bit Windows 7. Execute the FreeFileSync.exe (right-click → Run as Administrator).

  3. (On my machine this program freeze out for few seconds during its startup but eventually stabilizes and doesn't behaves alike.) The default screen for v7.0 would look like:

    Default screen

  4. Connect your Android device into PC using USB cable, and choose MTP for data transfer.

  5. In FreeFileSync, you would see two fields with name Drag & Drop at the top of left and right pane. They hold the location for the source and destination storage. Edit them:

    • For left pane click BrowseMy Computer(left side) in the opened window → select your device (say HTC One; under Portable Devices) → choose either Internal or External SD card of Android device → Select Folder(at the bottom).

    • For right pane click BrowseMy Computer(left side) in the opened window → select the backup location (say D:\Backup) → Select Folder(at the bottom).

    Edited panes

  6. In FreeFileSync under the Menu bar, go to Actions → Filter settings. Here you can include the filetypes and exclude the folders from mining or backup. E.g. If I want to backup only .jpg and .png image files from my Android but I want to avoid those in the Android, Data, any .folder or folders that were created by some apps and includes irrelevant files with such extensions, then my filer would be:

    Do not imitate but understand the logic Note that the filter is not complete in the picture as opposed to text in the answer

    Tweak as much as you want since it's easy. I seriously advise excluding Android folder. Click OK when done with custom filters. (Note that I've not added but you may add video extensions too like .mp4, .mkv, etc.)

  7. In the Menu bar, go to Actions → Synchronization settings and choose any of the variant available. For the first backup I prefer Mirror to backup all the filtered files. Click OK at last.

    Synchronization settings

  8. In the Menu bar, go to Actions → Start comparison -- this will show the filtered files in left pane (source) and files available in right pane (destination; would be empty for a new backup folder). (You can always switch the panes by clicking the blue <> icon available between the two panes.) An e.g. would look like:


  9. In the Menu bar, go to Actions → Start synchronization -- this will (as obvious) synchronize the two folders based on the setting you chose in Step 7. An e.g. of process, and completion would look like:



We're good to backup anything here. Note that for restore the steps (as obvious) would be same but the locations at left and right pane would differ. Also, during restore, my phone freeze out a lot (the reason could be a low class SD card in device or altogether a program issue itself, IDK!)

Issue with, and solution for, multi-storage Android devices

One issue that a multi-storage Android device user would've noticed is that you'll have to repeat the instructions to backup both External and Internal SD card.

This can be avoided by using a file server in Android. See Method#1 or Method#3 in my answer here. Just make sure that the file server should have its root directory at /storage so that in the FreeFileSync all storages (would be listed as folders now) can be mapped for backup.

I tried and it worked well!

Status: Objective Completed

I could cover SyncToy and PureSync here, but the latter freeze out the whole time whenever I click any option and about the former: it's intuitive and very easy in "exclude filters" but doesn't give much flexibility in synchronization variant (I would've ended up deleting images in device due to lack of such, but was stopped somehow. :) )

I think the objective can be achieved by using find and rsync tools in combination on GNU/Linux.

Let me know other options if you come to know any, or technical mistakes in my answer.

  • 1
    This method has a great advantage: the exclude directories list. If this list is fine-tuned, it is a lot easier to tell what not to copy, than telling (as long as it involves a great research effort) what to copy. It is not a one-click method, but the not so clean Android design for this matter does not allow much simplicity. May 23, 2015 at 13:18
  • @SopalajodeArrierez There is a windows software and Android app named Syncdroid which IMO could achieve the objective. I didn't try this because its app has negative reviews on Play Store (some folks said the backup corrupted images). // On the other hand, we have Windows 7/8 "Pictures and Videos Import" feature but it doesn't allow any exclusion which is painful. // There are apps like foldersync, filesync that can sync Android with PC, but they are limited in feature since you'll have to manually choose every folder to sync.
    – Firelord
    May 23, 2015 at 14:13

Depending on your operating system, you can use picture manager programs. I will list two free software, one for Windows, and one for Linux (I am a Linux user, so maybe the Linux method is better).

  1. Under Windows (any version in the screenshots, it will be XP, which was the easiest to get on a virtual machine)

    • Picassa: a powerful image manager and editor with a lot of features. I will be showing the only feature we need (importing photos from Android phone).

    • make sure you install your phone's drivers (see your manufacturer's website to grab the latest version).

    • download and install Picassa.

    • connect your phone to your PC and open Picassa.

    • click on File >> import from ... (it's in French in the screenshots)

enter image description here

  • this window will show up. Click on the spinner and choose your phone. In my case here, it's an HTC one (Android).

enter image description here

  • wait for a few seconds until the photos show up like this.

enter image description here

  • you will see every single image file on your phone, sorted by the date of creation. You can select a full day by clicking on the little clock, or select a single picture by clicking on it. The same goes for unselecting.

  • once you have picked the needed pictures, look at the bottom of the Picassa window. It looks something like this.

enter image description here

  • choose the right options for you: where you would like to save the pictures, how do you want the pictures to be organized in sub-folders, and if you wanna delete the original pictures from the device (the phone) or not, then click on import.
  • how is your device mounted to the PC ? (as usb mass storage or as MTP ) you can change that in the settings of your phone and try again with picassa May 22, 2015 at 23:13
  • Android 4.4.x and above doesn't have USB Storage feature (please ignore if you know this) and I was using MTP with Picasa. Tried restarting at both ends with no good results sadly.
    – Firelord
    May 22, 2015 at 23:26
  • 1
    Picassa works quite well for me but only for photos. Videos need to be imported manually (e.g., via Windows cut & paste) and I need to delete the photos manually after importing.
    – Itamar
    May 27, 2015 at 19:23

Seeing this is an old question, wanted to update it with the solution I found in 2019. I was looking for an answer to this same question.

My method was the similar to @firelords answer, connect via FTP to phone via SHAREME program, and use freefilesync to synchronize the DCIM folder to the PC.

But some quick research later, I found that the following works better!

The best solution I found was to use Resilio Sync (formerly known as BTSync or Bittorrent Sync). enter image description here

The key advantages I have found are

  • It's free (allows upgrades but free version is good enough)
  • Can use only WIFI (faster sync when on the same network)
  • Stores to any other device where you have installed resilio sync
  • NO MANUAL effort, automatic just like google photos but with full resolution! and bi-directional syncing! (main advantage over the previous method)

In my case I Set it up in less than 2 minutes on my phone! I was already using sync on my pc and just needed to add the link to the folder and it was ready to go! I just had to enable camera backup and share the link to my pc.

  • found another app mylio (not tested) but apparently similar to resilio sync
    – Vijay
    Sep 24, 2019 at 18:57
  • Only valid for DCIM backup? Remember that the original question asks about "multiple possible directories". Sep 25, 2019 at 11:35
  • No all the folders you want!! It works great. Start the app when it's charging at night :)
    – Vijay
    Sep 26, 2019 at 3:50

QuickPic has a Cloud Backup function that supports many services, such as Google Drive, Dropbox, Owncloud, etc. Just run the app, make sure all your images or videos are showing up, then access the cloud backup from the app settings.


Install Picasa on the computer (Google has discontinued this software, but you can get it from here). After you plug in the Android device, it'll ask for import into the library.

In Settings of Picasa, there's an option to physically move photos/videos to desired folder. Check it and you are done.

Next time you plug in your Android device, it'll physically import everything for you. And, only copies new photos/videos. So, you are good to go.


When you plugin your device and have something like Picasa or Lightroom installed, it should show an option to import pictures from the device. If it doesn't show up, try connecting the device in PTP (Photo Transfer Protocol) mode (Choose the PTP option from the USB Connected (or similar) notification by tapping on it).

Restoring this backup, is, however, manual - as each file (or set of files) has to be later copied to an appropriate location on the Android device later during restore.

It is also possible to write a script to check all image files on the device by file extension and cutoff size (so that you don't end up copying thumbnails, say 1KB+) and puts these files, preserving the directory structure and dropping them into some backup folder. I don't have much experience in this matter, so I am not covering this aspect here.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .