The Missing Kies

More Non-Fun With Samsung. It is amazing that a company rumoured to be the world’s No.1 phone maker can provide their customers with synchronisation software as enjoyable to use as being punched repeatedly in the face. Samsung Kies is slow, unstable, and just ill-conceived.

I decided to give it a thorough troubleshooting today, by removing anything on the computer that might have even a remote chance of interfering with it. My old Nokia syncing software, the crap that Apple piles on when you install Safari or iTunes – anything that might use Media Transfer Protocol basically – before removing and reinstalling Kies. It was a long shot, but it seemed to do some good. At least it will show thumbnails of photos now. That’s… something.

But I must confess – I discovered eventually that Kies wasn’t really failing to accomplish a basic task as I’d thought. It simply doesn’t do that task. Foolish me. Why would I think that a function with a name like “Sync Photos” would sync photos? My naïveté just appals me sometimes.

You see I wanted it to copy the pictures I’d taken with the phone and save them to the computer. On most parts of planet Earth that would mean creating a folder on your computer that always contains the same photographs as the phone. In, as we call it, sync.

For Samsung’s Kies however, syncing photos means copying them from the computer, to the phone. Because that’s what you want to do, isn’t it? Un-backup your pictures. Samsung it seems are so pleased with their phones that they think we’ll want to put all our photos on them, to show them off to their best advantage.

More seriously, they’re envisaging the phone as your central device, your hub. Things move to the phone, not away. All nice in theory, but complete crap in practice. The reality is that both for the sake of convenience and of  backing-up, you want the same files on both your phone and your computer. Synchronisation, as the name suggests, should be a two-way street.

(The cloud? If you have an Android phone you may have found it automatically uploading your photos to your Google account. The way of the future, right. The problem with the cloud is it’s altogether too nebulous. I’m not at all happy entrusting every picture I take to someone who mysteriously doesn’t even want paying for the service.)

So Kies won’t copy my pictures to the computer as a part of an automated syncing process. I have to do it manually. Which means I have to remember to do it manually. This is not good enough. All I want, ideally, is software that will copy my photographs. As well as synchronise any new contact info and events with my computer’s address book and calendar. Maybe copy over other important data too, like sketches I make on it. In the other direction, possibly copy any newly-downloaded podcasts to the phone so that I can listen to them on the move. And it would be nice if it could do that all automatically when I plugged my phone into the computer to charge. That’s not too much to ask, is it?

Nope, not thanks to the Austrian guy who developed MyPhoneExplorer. This is everything that Kies should be but isn’t. On top of that it has some interesting features that Kies doesn’t think to include, like the facility to use your phone from your computer when it’s connected, making and taking calls and even typing texts on your keyboard. Plus it can archive your text messages, or indeed keep any data or application on the phone backed up.

It may take some time to set up – read the very useful help pages – but that’s because it can be made to do precisely what you want. And it’s free, though it does ask you to donate. You should. The amount of heartache it will save you is well worth a few euros. He has made life better.

Update: I should have mentioned that when installing it offers to give you a couple of other freeware programs. You can decline these though, and on principle I recommend that you do.

Works on most Android phones, not just Samsung’s, as well as Symbians from Sony Ericsson.

11 thoughts on “The Missing Kies

  1. Yeah, agreed… I rather liked this article (rare for me to do so on most blogs) as I’m going through the exact same pain myself right now. Silly me, also, to think that sync meant both ways. As a photographer, Lightroom is my thing — since having bought my S3 and being suitably impressed/happy, finally, with a phone camera of decent quality, I’ve started using it for candid snaps and was hoping that MTP wouldn’t be a shit, and “just work” on import… but noooo. Second hope was Kies doing a nice, two-way sync, and then importing to LR, but noooo.

    Will give MyPhoneExplorer a shot.


  2. What would be the best program to view multiple sms and delete most (not all) of the. Preferably one that can choose to view in normal sms list and in conversation (or list by sender name). I have 3 years of sms but i need to choose some to keep. Thanx in advance.


  3. Yes.. I landed here because my Kies doesn’t Sync my photos and Videos AUTOMATICALLY.. Like Nokia Suite does Automatically. If the PC is on and if your Bluetooth is On then it connects the PC and phone automatically and Sync everything you have marked. this is missing in Kies. Very Sad.


    1. I never thought the day would come when I’d look back fondly on Ovi Suite. Having said that, I’m still very happy with MyPhoneExplorer nearly a year later. The only problem I’ve ever had with it was perhaps not surprising – I use it to back up my phone’s entire memory every time I plug it in. It doesn’t actually take very long once the initial backup is made, and it’s a lot easier than changing settings each time you install an app that creates files you might want to save.

      This wasn’t something the program was ever intended for though and the backup does occasionally become corrupted, after which the process will fail. When this happens the best thing is to make a new backup and delete the old, after which it should run smoothly again for months. A little hassle but I think it’s worth it. Backing up automatically every time I charge the phone from my laptop’s USB sockets, I’ve never lost any data.


  4. Im writing this with shaking hands, at the verge of nervous breakdown. I just used my Samsung Galaxy Ace with the piece of donkey crap Kies software to “sync” my photos from the phone to my computer. I chose an empty folder and waited… After it was stuck at 20% doing nothing i decided to close the program and try again but the i realised THAT THE PHOTOS ARENT IN MY PHONE ANYMORE. Please someone tell me that selecting an empty folder to “sync” doesnt sync the emptyness and deletes the photos in the phone…..


  5. I wish I would have stumbled upon this prior to me “backing up” my phone using kies. I’m 39.99999 weeks pregnant with our first baby, and have lost an entire folder of my pregnant belly selfies in the “back up” and restore process. I will NEVER get these pictures back. I tried every possible recovery attempt. I’m sick over it. Totally disgusted with the phone and with kies.


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