For years, I have been using an app named ‘Fastnote’ on my Android phone to take notes. The app automatically saves notes with a filename corresponding to the first line of the note.
This automatic saving feature is quite useful, but it leads to filenames containing special characters such as ” or , which are valid in Android but not in Windows.
Consequently, whenever I attempt to back up my notes consisting of 1,800 files in 70 folders on my Windows 10 PC, those files fail to copy. Although I can create a zip file and copy it to my PC, it does not help much since unzipping the file on the PC excludes any file with invalid characters in its name.
Is there a way to remove all invalid characters from filenames automatically? This could be done either on the phone before copying, during the copy operation using a USB connection, or during unzipping in Windows.
Note that having a backup is insufficient since I need to access the files on my PC completely. Therefore, I need to convert the filenames to a format that Windows can handle to have a fully accessible backup on my PC.
Transferring files from Android to Windows is a common task that many people perform regularly. However, it can be frustrating when files fail to copy due to prohibited characters in filenames. This is a common issue that arises when using certain apps on Android that automatically save files with special characters in their filenames. In this blog post, we will discuss how to remove prohibited characters from filenames when transferring files from Android to Windows.
The Problem with Prohibited Characters in Filenames
Prohibited characters in filenames are characters that are not allowed in Windows filenames. These characters include / : * ? ” < > | and any character that is not a letter, number, or underscore. When files with prohibited characters in their filenames are transferred from Android to Windows, they fail to copy, and an error message is displayed.
This is because Windows does not allow these characters in filenames, and they can cause issues with the file system. Therefore, it is essential to remove these characters from filenames before transferring files from Android to Windows.
Removing Prohibited Characters from Filenames
There are several ways to remove prohibited characters from filenames when transferring files from Android to Windows. One way is to manually rename each file, but this can be time-consuming and tedious, especially if you have many files.
Another way is to use a file manager app on your Android phone to rename files automatically. Many file manager apps have a feature that allows you to replace prohibited characters with valid ones. For example, you can replace all occurrences of ” with ‘ or remove them altogether.
You can also use a third-party app to rename files automatically. There are many apps available on the Google Play Store that can help you rename files with prohibited characters. These apps use algorithms to scan your files and rename them automatically, removing any prohibited characters.
Transferring Files from Android to Windows
When transferring files from Android to Windows, it is essential to use a USB cable to establish a connection between the two devices. Once the connection is established, you can use the Windows File Explorer to browse the files on your Android device and copy them to your PC.
However, before copying the files, it is essential to ensure that all prohibited characters have been removed from filenames. This will prevent any errors from occurring and ensure that all files are copied successfully.
Unzipping Files with Prohibited Characters in Filenames
If you have already created a zip file containing files with prohibited characters in their filenames, you may encounter issues when unzipping the file on your Windows PC. This is because Windows does not allow these characters in filenames, and they can cause issues with the file system.
To resolve this issue, you can use a third-party file archiving tool that supports filenames with prohibited characters. For example, you can use 7-Zip, which is a free and open-source file archiving tool that supports filenames with prohibited characters.
Alternatively, you can use a script or batch file to rename the files automatically during the unzipping process. This will ensure that all files are unzipped successfully, and any prohibited characters are removed from filenames.
In conclusion, removing prohibited characters from filenames is essential when transferring files from Android to Windows. This ensures that all files are copied successfully and can be accessed on your Windows PC. There are several ways to remove prohibited characters from filenames, including using a file manager app on your Android phone, a third-party app, or renaming files manually. Additionally, it is important to ensure that all files have valid filenames before transferring them to your PC to avoid any errors during the transfer process.
There are a few different ways you could approach this problem:
- On the Android phone: One option would be to use a file manager app on your Android phone to rename the files and remove any invalid characters before transferring them to your PC. You could use a tool like the “ES File Explorer” app to do this. Simply select all the files you want to transfer, tap on the “Rename” option, and then use the “Find and Replace” feature to remove any invalid characters from the filenames.
- During the transfer: Another option would be to use a tool that can automatically replace invalid characters in filenames as the files are being transferred from your Android phone to your PC. One such tool is “Teracopy,” which is a free file transfer utility that can automatically replace invalid characters in filenames as it copies the files.
- When unzipping in Windows: If you prefer to keep the original filenames on your Android phone, but still need to remove invalid characters when unzipping the files on your PC, you could use a tool like “7-Zip” to unzip the files. 7-Zip has an option to automatically rename files and remove invalid characters as it unzips them, so you can extract the files with modified filenames that are compatible with Windows.
I hope this helps! Let me know if you have any other questions.
To create a useful backup, it is advisable to avoid using the Android MTP interface for accessing files. Instead, you can generate a backup on the device using adb, which requires activating Development mode and Android Debug Bridge in the device settings. Additionally, you need to install a minimal version of the Android SDK with ADB on the PC side.
There are two primary benefits of using this method:
- Firstly, all file names are preserved, and Windows doesn’t need to handle them, avoiding any errors.
- Secondly, creating a backup on the device and then downloading the combined archive is much faster compared to using the MTP protocol utilized by Windows Explorer. For a large number of files, I would anticipate that creating a backup on the device would be 10-20 times quicker.
The two-step method involves generating a TAR archive on the device and then transferring it to another device or computer
Create a backup archive on-device:
adb shell tar /sdcard/fastnode_backup.tar /sdcard/<path to fastnote files>
Afterwards you can download the created backup file from your device via
adb pull /sdcard/fastnode_backup.tar
The one-step method involves generating a TAR archive and streaming it directly to a PC or another device
You can create a backup on the device, and then transfer the resulting tar archive to a PC. This approach does not require any flash memory on the device:
adb exec-out 'cd /sdcard; tar -cf - <path to fastnote files in sdcard section>/' > fastnode_backup.tar
Alternatively, for devices running Android 8 or later versions, the fastnode_backup.tar file may appear in the Windows-Explorer view of your device. You can download this backup file, which contains all file names preserved.
If you need to access any files within the archive, use 7-Zip to extract them, either on your PC or another device. 7-Zip has a built-in feature that detects and replaces invalid file name characters.