Android.process.media force close / crash

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After buying an Android phone, I started getting the error “The process android.process.media has stopped unexpectedly. Please try again” every few seconds. This seemed to happen when moving between different custom ROMs like Cyanogenmod and MIUI, perhaps because I restored the wrong Titanium backup files mistakenly, included system settings in the batch restore or something similar.

Getting a force close message like this can be irritating, especially when it comes up repeatedly, every few seconds. I tried the usual route of formatting the phone and reinstalling the ROM, then restoring all my apps with Titanium Backup. With the new ROM in place, there was no error flashing, but when I restored apps, the error started appearing again, that was how I came to the assumption that something I do after reinstalling the ROM is causing the error message.

Below are some possible fixes (first one worked for me), but different fixes may work for different cases. Doing factory reset is the absolute last resort, as you will lose your apps, data and settings, but you can try these other solutions. One of them worked for me, but this issue seems to not be fixed by any one fix for all people.

Note that many of these involve clearing data, which resets the app or Android components that handles specific tasks. You might have to sign in to some services (like Play Store), or might lose the cached data for that app. This is unavoidable, as the errors seem to have stopped after doing so, from experience. If I find ways to fix the error and force closing without clearing data, I will update this page.

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Fixes for FC and crash

Go to your app settings page (Settings > Applications > Manage Applications) and open Media Storage. Hit clear data.

If you have a custom recovery installed (most custom ROMs and kernels do have it), boot into it and fix permissions. In Clockworkmod Recovery, you can find it under “Advanced”. TWRP recover also has a similar option. Being a Linux-based OS, permissions are of paramount importance to smooth functioning of Android components.

In Manage Applications, open Google Services Framework. Clear data.

Open Google Play Store. Hit clear data. Note that this will clear all play store data, including your Google sign in. You will have to login with your Google / GMail account again the next time you open Play Store.

Open Download Manager, and clear its data too.

Backup your data and format SD card. Make sure to backup all data on your SD card, including media, apps and other files, before formatting it. Use FAT32 formatting, which is preferred for Android. This is because android.process.media is related to camera, gallery and other multimedia components, and SD card errors may cause this force close error.

Try a different SD card. Many SD cards, particularly those of class 6, 8 and 10, have been reported to not work reliably with Android devices. Class 4 seems to be the safest option (I use a San Disk Class 4, and it has been flawless).

Hopefully, these should fix the error. Let me know in comments if it does not, or you have a different solution to the force close error.