Using an external hard drive or a flash drive is a cheap and easy way to increase the utility of your desktop or laptop computer. It’s easy to create files on one machine then use the portable drive to move them to another without having to use a cloud-based intermediary. External storage is also a cheap way to vastly expand the storage available to your main PC. Media files are bigger than ever, and throwing a 1 or 2 TB external drive onto your PC is an easy way to store your media archive without having to burn disks.
It would be really nice if you could take advantage of these storage solutions on your Android device, wouldn’t it? However, most of these devices (particularly hard drives) use the NTFS file system, a Windows-based standard. So you’re out of luck…or are you? As it turns out, getting your Android device to support NTFS is not particularly difficult. In this short tutorial I will teach you the basics of using an NTFS device on your Android phone or tablet.
How To Enable NTFS Support On Your Android Device
This method doesn’t require root access to your device, but you will need a piece of hardware called a USB OTG (On The Go), as pictured below. A USB OTG cable has a micro USB-B male end and a USB Standard-A end, allowing you to connect standard USB devices to an Android device. In this article we will be focusing on connecting storage devices but input devices such as keyboards and mice can be connected. I even connected a USB LED to my phone once.
In order to enable NTFS access on your Android device without root access, you will first need to download Total Commander as well as USB plugin for Total Commander(Paragon UMS). Total Commander is free, but the USB plugin does cost $10. You should then connect your USB OTG cable to your phone. Now connect your USB storage device to the USB OTG cable.
After plugging in your storage device, the USB plugin will display a pop-up asking if you wish to open Paragon_UMS when this USB device is connected. You also have the option of using this option by default when the particular USB device is connected.
It’s up to you if you open Paragon_UMS by default but after this message pops up select OK. You should then select Open Total Commander in order to start browsing your files.
You will now be able to browse the files on your storage device.
When you are finished, re-open Paragon_UMS and select unmount in order to safely remove your storage device.
This combination of tools is very handy. Increasingly, we are all working more and more from our mobile devices, and having access to external storage (and other devices) from our phones is very convenient. Instead of having to rely on your computer to access a USB drive, you can do this from your Android device with the Paragon_UMS, Total Commander combination.