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How to transfer files on Android with ADB

For my current Windows installation, I chose an “N LTSB” version. N means without Media Feature Pack (no Windows Media Player, meaning it also lacks a bunch of codecs and some more surprising stuff), LTSB (for “Long-term servicing branch”) means that it’s free of shit like the Windows Store, Cortana, and most bundled apps (including Microsoft Edge). Also worth noting that unlike the default start menu of Windows 10, the start menu of 10 N LTSB is free of shitty tiles: there is only one, the “Contact Support” tile, which I consider an okay one, for once.

Among the surprising missing stuff in the “N” edition is, as I eventually was able to find out, the ability to browse a plugged smartphone using Windows Explorer. At first I thought this was a problem with the phone/Android drivers / ADB setup. But no, file transfers from an Android phone use the Media Transfer Protocol (MTP), which as its name suggests was included in the “Windows Media” framework. So on Windows N, no way to enjoy transferring your files the easy way.

The easy solution, of course, is to install the Media Feature Pack. But then there’s no point in getting an N version is it? (actually, I discussed with a Windows N user who told me they bought N because it was cheaper than the normal version in the store they bought it, in which case it does make sense to buy N and then download the Media Feature Pack)

The not as easy solution, which works nicely but might be not very convenient for a regular use, is to use ADB in the console. It’s actually fairly easy:
To get a shell on the phone (useful to browse and find the path to the files you want):
adb shell

Then you can browser like a normal Linux shell (cd path/to/folder, ls, etc)
To transfer a file from your phone to your computer:
adb pull /path/on/the.phone c:/path/on/the.computer

And to transfer a file from your computer to your phone:
adb push c:/path/on/the.computer /path/on/the.phone

For my path examples, I used Windows-style paths, but the commands are exactly the same on Linux or Mac OS.

On a side note, a notable path: although it probably depends on smartphones, photos and screenshots should be around /mnt/sdcard/DCIM and /mnt/sdcard/Pictures

Sources:

How to Push and Pull Files on Android using the ADB commands

Using adb To Copy Files To / From Your Android Device

Posted in multimedia, Windows 10.

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