Seriously managing files in Android is always a bit of a problem. Especially if you also want to access shared files and folders elsewhere on the network. Fortunately, there is the X-plore File Manager app, which makes everything and more in the field of file management possible.
After installing X-plore File Manager you can get started. In essence, the app is free, but you can – if you like it all – make a donation to motivate the maker to continue improving the software. The main X-plore File Manager window is divided into two panels. In the middle, the case is separated by a column of functions. Note the direction of the arrow at the top of this column: it indicates the 'working direction'. In other words: if that arrow points from right to left, it means that when you perform a copy action later, files or folders from the right will be transferred to an open folder on the left. So the arrow always points to the destination folder.
We'll start with the most obvious application of the app: access to shared network folders, for example on your NAS. In this example we choose the left panel as the destination folder and the right panel as the source. If necessary, tap the arrow at the top of the center column to make it point from right to left. To add a network share, first tap a few times Upwards (column in the middle) until you cannot go further back in the folder structure.
Then tap in the panel on the right Show and switch LAN in. Then tap LAN and then on Add server, and then press again add server up. Fill in the requested information, including the name you want to give the share, the IP address of the share, possibly the path, plus the username and password associated with the share. Also make sure to switch SMB2 in, which is faster and above all more secure than the ancient SMB1.
The even faster SMB3 is unfortunately not supported. No idea if that's a limitation of Android or the app. If it's the latter, we may see it appear again in a future version. Tap SAVE to save the data. As soon as you are asked to save the password in Google, tap NO THANKS. Google doesn't need to know everything about you! Your share(s) is (are) now accessible.
Scanning also an option
With the above method, we naturally assume that you know your own NAS or shared server folders in terms of rights management and path. If that's not really the case, you should be one step earlier instead of ahead Add server also on scan can tap. After a while, you will see a list appear with all available servers on your network. Tap on a found copy and then enter the username and password of the relevant server (which will often be a NAS). And again don't pass those login details to Google.
Create a folder
Whatever path you have taken, you can now use shared folders on your NAS or server as if they were local folders. In the left panel, just browse to a local folder, for example Download (found under /storage/emulated/0, something we didn't come up with either, but that's the structure of Android). Create a test folder in Download. For that, you must first target the left panel; tap the arrow at the top of the column in the middle. With the Download folder open, tap New map in the middle column (Note: the arrow direction above the middle column changes automatically!). Tap the folder name and tap OK. Then tap the check mark next to the newly created folder to select it.
We are now going to copy a file from one of our NAS shares. To do this, tap a previously added server in the panel on the right (the target arrow changes direction again automatically) and browse to a folder containing a test file you want to transfer. For example, consider a few photos. To select multiple files at once, click the check marks next to the file names. In fact, you are now ready to copy. Then tap copy in the middle column. In the dialog box that opens, tap OK. If you want to move a selected file (or files and folders), enable the option move in. But it should be clear that the source files will then be removed from your network share.
Use storage space
Mission accomplished: all selected photos have been copied to the local folder in our tablet. If you want to know how much storage space is still available, first tap test in the column on the left (or another folder if you previously gave your test folder a different name. If you don't do this, a calculation will be performed on the last used folder and that is the NAS folder from which the files have been transferred (so again pay attention to the arrow direction). . Click on Disc Report. You can see what files are taking up after waiting a while in the left column, neatly displayed graphically. You can pull the chart to the right and down to see the parent folders and content as well. Or tap the back button (the left-facing arrow <- top left column) to 'zoom out'. To close the graph, tap the cross at the bottom left.
To zip files, select them first. In addition, you must first browse to the files to be zipped in the source folder and select a destination folder in the other panel. In the source folder, select the files or folder to zip, then tap Create ZIP. Again you can indicate whether you want to delete the original files and (or) folders by move (actually it is a kind of 'copy to ZIP' option). If you want to protect your ZIP with a password, tap the lock after the file name in the dialog box in front of you. Tap on OK to start zipping. Depending on the size of the source selection (and the speed of your Android device), zipping will take more or less time. Also keep in mind that these kinds of jobs cost a lot of energy if they run for a longer period of time; so keep the charger handy. Incidentally, files are first copied and then compressed!
Unzip and share folders
Unzipping is a matter of tapping on a zip. You will now see a subfolder containing all the zipped files. To actually unzip the case 'finally', copy that folder (actually the contents of the zip that is shown integrated in the folder structure) to another folder. For the rest, X-plore has all kinds of useful features. Such as, for example, a built-in file viewer and also a Wifi server. For this it is important to first set a password for the WiFi connection that is being set up.
To do this, tap the button with the three vertically placed dots at the top right of the screen. Tap on Institutions, scroll down and then tap Share options via WiFi. Enter a password below password. To play it completely safe, you can also use the Read only access to turn on. Then return to the main window using the Android back button and tap WiFi server in the middle column. For example, connect your computer to the WiFi network set up by your Android device.
For this it is important to first find out the IP address of your Android device, which you can find in the (Android) Institutions below System and About tablet. Launch a browser on the PC (make sure both PC and Android device are connected over the same network) and navigate to your Android device's IP address followed by :1111 (the default port X-plore uses for this service), or for example: 192.168.1.170:1111. You will now see a nice web interface where you can do your thing. Oh yes: this option does require a small donation of €3, but you will get something in return!