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I have an 8GB Nextbook7 running Android 4.0.4. Recently, I discovered that I have 2 files named .thumbdata3... eating up all my internal space of 5+GB. These files are found in the .thumbnail folder under the DCIM folder. I have read on the internet that these files are produced by Android Gallery, but there is a bug in the OS that causes these files to grow so large and max out all the available internal storage space.

I have tried deleting the files, but they come back. I have tried writing small text files and saving them with the name .thumbdata3... as in the problem files, but that does not work either. I have downloaded an app called Thumbnail file deleter, which deletes the problem files, but the files will rebuild themselves again until the space is maxed out.

Does anyone have a permanent cure to this .thumdata3... problem? Any suggestions appreciated. Thanks.

  • 1
    A shot into the blue: Delete that file, then make a directory called .thumbdata3 (i.e. with the same name), and make it read-only. Gallery should be unable to replace that then. Drawback might be the gallery acts a bit slower when browsing your media – but that would also be the case would you just permanently auto.delete that file. Let me know if that did the trick, so I make it an answer then. – Izzy Feb 21 '14 at 7:16
  • Try using a replacement gallery such as QuickPic instead. It is 100% free and it works much better than the standard Android Gallery. If the .thumbdata3 files keep coming back, you can disable the default gallery. – free3dom Feb 27 '14 at 20:44
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If your SD card is using ext4 filesystem

There is no need to do anything here, since these files, despite reporting massive sizes, actually use very little space, as they are so called "Sparse Files". I left more details on the android ticket about this issue:

http://code.google.com/p/android/issues/detail?id=39546#c79

If your SD card is using FAT/exFAT

Then the problem is real, since FAT has no support for sparse files and their apparent and real sizes would always match. In that case you should resort to trickery described in the other reply - create the folder with the same name as an offending file after removing the file.

This Cyanogen fix sheds some light onto the problem: http://review.cyanogenmod.org/#/c/36850

It looks like .thumbdata3 consists of sequence of records indexed by integer ID associated with a picture (not sure which app is in charge of assigning them). If file is deleted and is being recreated, and the minimum ID is, say, 10000 then 10000 empty records would be skipped over in .thumbdata3 on the assumption that sparse file handling would do its job and these 10000 records would consume no actual space. Except that on FAT there are no sparse file support and you end up with 10000 records worth of zeroes in you file which suddenly becomes couple of Gb big.

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Delete the .thumbnail folder (this has all the camera caches, and is useless for us), then create a new file called .thumbnail.

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