Tuesday, 3 April 2012

WiFi File Explorer & the Toshiba Thrive

Some WiFi File Explorer users are finding that they experience some unexpected errors when using the app on the Toshiba Thrive Android tablet, particularly when uploading a file to the external SD card they receive a “Server I/O error” and the upload fails.  This also applies to some other devices as well, such as the WiFi US Motorola Xoom and hopefully I can use this post to explain why...

Update: I have been informed this post also applies to the Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7.

Many Android devices today have both internal flash memory for data storage and also an external SD card to extend that amount of storage.  Most of the time, both these areas of storage have full read and write access and so using WiFi File Explorer to upload and manage your files is no problem at all.  However, in the case of the Toshiba Thrive and WiFi US Motorola Xoom, the SD card is actually read-only when it is mounted in the device.  This means that apps can read from the SD card quite happily, but whenever an app tries to write to the SD card it will cause an error.  Fear not though, as the internal flash memory is still writeable, so you can fully utilise WiFi File Explorer with this area of storage.

So because of this, it means features in WiFi File Explorer like uploading, copying and moving files (basically anything that requires that the SD card be written to) will not work when attempting to do so on the external SD card.  In the case of the Toshiba Thrive there is one exception to this in that only the file manager app that comes pre-installed on the device will actually grant write access to the external SD card.  So there is a workaround in that you can upload a file to the internal flash memory using WiFi File Explorer and then use the pre-installed file manager app to move the file to the external SD card – a bit or a pain, but it works!

At the time of writing, I don’t know any other devices that suffer from this problem, but please leave a comment below if you discover any to inform other users.  I believe that by default in Android this is how Google have engineered it (hence why the WiFi US Motorola Xoom suffers from the problem as it is a Google Experience Device) because they have always envisaged Android devices only needing one area of main storage that needs to be written to by apps, but obviously other device manufacturers have had different ideas.  It may change in the future via an OS update (surely Toshiba will address this with the Thrive as I have seen lots of complaints about this in various forums), but for now this is how it is.


  1. Sony Tablet S has the same problem once updated to ICS. Could your program use the same API these file transfer programs use?

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  2. My Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus Android 3.2 have the same problem, I can not write on the external SD card using WiFi, only works with the USB cable Mass Storage.

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