Trying to move a downloaded Google Drive file to the SD storage on my tablet.

  1. Select the file in Drive
  2. Choose "Send File" from the ... menu
  3. Choose "Share with ES Save To.."
  4. Choose path and Select
    • Result: "This operation is not supported".

What does that mean? Is it a bug in Google Drive or a bug in ES File Explorer or a bug somewhere else?

P.S. Android 5.1.1 on Nexus 7 tablet (the original version) and yes, all of the above software has been kept up-to-date.

  • Which Android version? As of KitKat, apps cannot write to arbitrary locations on external storage, only to directories they own. Jul 16, 2015 at 16:11
  • @eldararthis 5.1.1 I appreciate the link you added, but it does not appear to be relevant. I'm not trying to write to an app's private folder, and writing to a public folder should not be blocked. Certainly ES has write access to the target folder; it can add files folders, etc. Jul 16, 2015 at 16:37
  • May I know if your Drive and ES File Explorer is updated, and which Android version and device are you using? I just tested (twice) the Drive in my Kitkat and it can save the file in my external SD card using that "Share with ES Save To.." option.
    – Firelord
    Jul 16, 2015 at 16:55
  • Unrelated to the issue, but is there a reason to not download the file from Drive and move it manually from ES File Explorer? (I could reproduce the issue though)
    – Andrew T.
    Nov 16, 2015 at 1:09

4 Answers 4


Expanding user136964's answer, when you try to send a file from Drive, the URI (i.e path) of the file is passed to the app in this format:


Take note that it's not a direct path to the file (not file://root/folder/file.ext), but a path to content provider. A resource inside content provider cannot be accessed directly, and any apps have to manually handle the given path according to its structure to get the resource (or in this case, the file).

ES File Explorer doesn't handle content:// URI, and thus fails to get the real file.

WhatsApp and Terminal Emulator also fail to handle it. On the other hand, Yahoo Mail and Google Inbox handle it properly and attach the real file without any problem

  • 1
    Thanks - very informative. But can you suggest a workaround? Some simple way to save such a file (e.g. an attachment to an email in gmail, or a drive file) to a local folder on the phone? Is there another app, or the like?
    – nealmcb
    May 2, 2016 at 16:10

ES Explorer cannot handle content:// URIs.

  • 1
    Seems you're correct. I just check the logcat and Drive tried to send content://com.google.android.apps.docs.storage.legacy/hashed_name. Can you expand this answer to make it clear?
    – Andrew T.
    Nov 16, 2015 at 1:15

This is a bug in es file explorer and android one work around is to print as a pdf file (if you dont need to edit) pref use adobe pdf and then it will give you options where to save, default is download, avoid this as it may not be moveable , just click on top left menu and you will have options to save to sd card or internal storage locations.

If you want other file formats not a pdf print then you will have to send to a pc via share by email, blootooth, LAN or via a cloud server like drive. Once on a pc you can the release it from Android and then move it direct to your android desired folder of choice either by ideally usb or back through a cloud server under a different file code like mx doc or the original.

ES file xplorer used to allow it but they've fallen under Google control who want you to use their cloud drive, they detest people using sd storage and want control over all your data

1 for spying and information gathering 2 ultimately when enough critical mass of info is stored on drive, they can start charging you for it


guys, guys... When you use ES File Explorer to copy data to a location, a pop-up is displayed on screen to show details of the transfer progress. IF in your phone, the app permission 'enable / show popups' is not granted, ES File Explorer will not even begin a transfer operation. Simple. So go to "Other permissions" settings for the app and enable / grant "Display pop-up window" for ES to permit the copy of files.

  • But OP is not using ES to copy data but is using Drive to copy data to ES.
    – Firelord
    Jan 18, 2019 at 9:20

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