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I own a Samsung Galaxy S5. I noticed that there is not much internal memory left (ES File Explorer reports 8.54 GB used out of 11.56 GB so about 3 GB left). Also, connecting my phone to my Windows 10 PC reports a consistent amount of free space.

3 GB Left according to ES File Explorer and Windows File Explorer 3 GB Left according to ES File Explorer and Windows File Explorer

The strange thing is this: I can't seem to find where those 8 GB of files are! If I drill down by double clicking on my internal memory and select all the files and folders in it, the number of used bytes is completely different! Only 556 MB!

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I have gone and make sure that my View Settings on Windows does not prevent me from seeing hidden and system files... so, where are the files that are taking all the space in the internal memory?

Anybody with any ideas willing to help would be appreciated!

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    Related, and useful to dig into your case: Android “Internal Storage” used but not reported (a bit old, but the hints are still true). Also helpful, hopefully: my list of apps for Storage Analysis. – Izzy Aug 22 '17 at 15:52
  • Android (MTP, I should say) ignores Windows' setting of showing system files. What the computer sees is merely the content of the internal storage accessible to a non-root user. What is killng your space are all the files under /data, which encompass info used by the system to list your apps, your apps themselves and their data. – Death Mask Salesman Aug 22 '17 at 17:20
  • Most of that space is used by apps (not visible on n windows, but visible on phone with root) and app's data, sometimes can be accessed if it's stored outside of /data partition. – Једноруки Крстивоје Aug 23 '17 at 21:10
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I decided to keep looking for places that did not go reported by Windows (those reported by ES File explorer as "Other") and stumble upon a good candidate. In my case it was Google Maps.

Turns out I had a few "offline areas" downloaded on my phone from a recent trip and that was eating a full GB of internal space.

Deleting those maps fixed my problem.

I guess what I learn from this exercise is to always open "Setting" --> "Internal Storage" --> "Used Space" --> "Apps" to get to a screen called "Storage Used by Apps" that list the full set of applications on my phone and the amount of memory being used (from high to low). That should help me get started in pinpointing good app-candidates for "cleaning".

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