[Q] insufficient space on the device [solved]

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makinapufterpup

Senior Member
Nov 16, 2014
53
8
0
New England
I tried to install an app and got the error message "There is insufficient space on the device". I looked at the device memory and it shows that I have used 5.02gb out of 5.51gb, but when I select all files (including hidden files) and display properties, it shows I've only used 772.67 mb of space. I don't have that many apps installed and I totaled the amount of space that the apps use and it is also under 800 mb of space. I can't find where the discrepancy is in the space available. Any ideas on where the missing 4gb of files are?

Moto G 2014, rooted, stock

I looked in this thread: http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=2443267 but it's not just a particular app that is giving me problems, the device itself thinks it's full.

SOLVED! Thanks to @tmittelstaedt

Have you done a lot of installing-deinstalling of apps?

The ram in the phone is flash. In order to prolong flash life there's a memory manager that does what it can to prevent the same areas of flash from being repeatedly written and deleted. So flash does not work like a hard disk where when a file is deleted then the space is immediately rewritten. Instead, the flash manager tries to spread new writes across the flash. On occasion a bit will go bad in the flash. The flash manager will also lock that bit out. All of this is done at a hardware level that is below the filesystem's visibility, it's done in the hardware of the flash controller.

It sounds to me like something has gotten messed up in that system. The flash controller is reporting lots of free space then when the OS is trying to use it the controller is reporting space in use. If it was my phone I might try running an app like SD Maid and see if that worked. But if it didn't I'd back it up then factory reset then reload the apps.
 

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Last edited:

tmittelstaedt

Member
Aug 26, 2012
42
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I tried to install an app and got the error message "There is insufficient space on the device". I looked at the device memory and it shows that I have used 5.02gb out of 5.51gb, but when I select all files (including hidden files) and display properties, it shows I've only used 772.67 mb of space. I don't have that many apps installed and I totaled the amount of space that the apps use and it is also under 800 mb of space. I can't find where the discrepancy is in the space available. Any ideas on where the missing 4gb of files are?

Moto G 2014, rooted, stock

I looked in this thread: http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=2443267 but it's not just a particular app that is giving me problems, the device itself thinks it's full.

attachment.php

attachment.php


Thanks for any help anyone can provide.

Have you done a lot of installing-deinstalling of apps?

The ram in the phone is flash. In order to prolong flash life there's a memory manager that does what it can to prevent the same areas of flash from being repeatedly written and deleted. So flash does not work like a hard disk where when a file is deleted then the space is immediately rewritten. Instead, the flash manager tries to spread new writes across the flash. On occasion a bit will go bad in the flash. The flash manager will also lock that bit out. All of this is done at a hardware level that is below the filesystem's visibility, it's done in the hardware of the flash controller.

It sounds to me like something has gotten messed up in that system. The flash controller is reporting lots of free space then when the OS is trying to use it the controller is reporting space in use. If it was my phone I might try running an app like SD Maid and see if that worked. But if it didn't I'd back it up then factory reset then reload the apps.
 
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makinapufterpup

Senior Member
Nov 16, 2014
53
8
0
New England
Have you done a lot of installing-deinstalling of apps?

The ram in the phone is flash. In order to prolong flash life there's a memory manager that does what it can to prevent the same areas of flash from being repeatedly written and deleted. So flash does not work like a hard disk where when a file is deleted then the space is immediately rewritten. Instead, the flash manager tries to spread new writes across the flash. On occasion a bit will go bad in the flash. The flash manager will also lock that bit out. All of this is done at a hardware level that is below the filesystem's visibility, it's done in the hardware of the flash controller.

It sounds to me like something has gotten messed up in that system. The flash controller is reporting lots of free space then when the OS is trying to use it the controller is reporting space in use. If it was my phone I might try running an app like SD Maid and see if that worked. But if it didn't I'd back it up then factory reset then reload the apps.

That is probably what is was, I did install and uninstall apps. I ended up doing a factory reset, reinstalled all the apps, and now have 2.7gb free. I'll keep SD Maid in mind if it happens again!
 
Last edited:

tmittelstaedt

Member
Aug 26, 2012
42
26
0
That is probably what is was, I did install and uninstall apps. I ended up doing a factory reset, reinstalled all the apps, and now have 2.7gb free. I'll keep SD Maid in mind if it happens again!

Thanks very much for the follow-up I'm glad it worked. Unfortunately this nonsense about "phone flash defragmenters don't work" has been repeated so often that a lot of sorcerers apprentices that don't understand hardware have misled a lot of people. Phone flash defragmenters don't work because the file system used on flash has no direct mapping to physical areas in the flash, because the flash's on chip hardware manager does that. But just because they don't work does not mean that flash cannot get fragmented and it is good to know that a factory reset that wipes all data does defragment the flash.
 

makinapufterpup

Senior Member
Nov 16, 2014
53
8
0
New England
This has happened again! I uninstalled an app about 2 weeks ago and noticed that I had 2.01 gb free. I went to do play store updates today and all the free space is gone! I haven't installed or uninstalled anything since about two weeks ago. Frustrating. I'm going to try the SD Maid that someone suggested earlier. I really don't want to have to do a factory reset just to get my free space back. That seems like such a world war III fix...
 

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    I tried to install an app and got the error message "There is insufficient space on the device". I looked at the device memory and it shows that I have used 5.02gb out of 5.51gb, but when I select all files (including hidden files) and display properties, it shows I've only used 772.67 mb of space. I don't have that many apps installed and I totaled the amount of space that the apps use and it is also under 800 mb of space. I can't find where the discrepancy is in the space available. Any ideas on where the missing 4gb of files are?

    Moto G 2014, rooted, stock

    I looked in this thread: http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=2443267 but it's not just a particular app that is giving me problems, the device itself thinks it's full.

    attachment.php

    attachment.php


    Thanks for any help anyone can provide.

    Have you done a lot of installing-deinstalling of apps?

    The ram in the phone is flash. In order to prolong flash life there's a memory manager that does what it can to prevent the same areas of flash from being repeatedly written and deleted. So flash does not work like a hard disk where when a file is deleted then the space is immediately rewritten. Instead, the flash manager tries to spread new writes across the flash. On occasion a bit will go bad in the flash. The flash manager will also lock that bit out. All of this is done at a hardware level that is below the filesystem's visibility, it's done in the hardware of the flash controller.

    It sounds to me like something has gotten messed up in that system. The flash controller is reporting lots of free space then when the OS is trying to use it the controller is reporting space in use. If it was my phone I might try running an app like SD Maid and see if that worked. But if it didn't I'd back it up then factory reset then reload the apps.
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