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I have an LG Nexus 5 running Android 6.0.1 which I am using as an MP3 player and for casual browsing as it has been replaced by a more modern phone. The phone is rooted and adb debugging is enabled.

For the last few months I have some weird behaviour. When I connect the phone to a computer and enable File Transfers, the phone is automatically mounted as an external drive by the OS as it has always done. When I expand "Internal Storage" I can see all the directories and files stored at the root level. When I open any of the folders they show as being empty. In order to copy files to or from the device, I have to copy them to the root directory and then move them manually using a file manager from the phone itself.

I get this behaviour from Linux and Windows machines including if adb debugging is disabled. On Linux (Ubuntu Mate 20.04.03) I also get the message No such interface org.gtk.vfs.Mount on object at path /org/gtk/vfs/mount/1 Please select another viewer and try again when I plug the phone in. Googling this only yielded forum threads that are over 5 years old (although the phone is that sort of age)

In the terminal, the device is visible when adb is queried from the terminal. If I cd to the media folder, the device isn't visible, even though I believe it is mounted already. It doesn't show up if I run sudo fdisk -l. In fact I get a strange output from that:

Device     Boot   Start        End    Sectors   Size Id Type
/dev/sda1  *       2048    1050623    1048576   512M  b W95 FAT32
/dev/sda2       1052670 1250263039 1249210370 595.7G  5 Extended
/dev/sda5       1052672 1250263039 1249210368 595.7G 83 Linux

Partition 2 does not start on physical sector boundary.

Any clues as to how to fix this would be appreciated

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    What you see via File Transfer mode (MT) is not the file-system but the media database (see android.stackexchange.com/a/202739/2241 for details). May be your media database is out of sync and needs to be rebuild.
    – Robert
    Oct 13, 2021 at 7:16
  • Thanks for the tip, I'll check it out. Any idea why this would have suddenly started a couple of months ago? Oct 13, 2021 at 7:59
  • Typically there is at least one file that might be not 100% compliant to it's file format that "confuses" the service that populates/updates the mediastore database. As you use the device as MP3 player I would recommend to execute a program/app that validates every MP3 file to find defect and invalid files.
    – Robert
    Oct 13, 2021 at 8:27
  • For Linux, may I recommend you adbfs-rootless? I'm using that for years and am very happy with it. Much more reliable than MTP, better transfer speeds, etc. Works as FUSE mount, so your Android device will be made available like any local (or network mounted) directory. // Btw: more ADB tips here in my list ;)
    – Izzy
    Oct 13, 2021 at 18:41
  • Izzy thanks for your comment. I had a quick look at the repo. I root my phones so that I can install a call recording app that accesses the hardware directly. I can see the benefit of adbfs rootless, I'll recommend it to my wife if I ever convince her to stop using a Mac ;) Dec 2, 2021 at 14:13

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Robert's comment was spot on.

I installed SD Scanner, rebooted my phone and triggered a scan of the whole SD card. Plugging the phone into a computer and all was well.

Credit where it's due: more info can be found on Robert's answer

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