(No screenshots at the moment, but they just look like regular folders with names that are same as the filenames of images on your phone. Right clicking on these folders and clicking properties shows that they are empty, 0 bytes.)
If you are using backup and sync to google photos on your device, and you delete the empty folders with names that are same as image names, google photos might also delete the photos in your cloud storage. Which means all photos gone.
The empty folders might be corrupted files that got corrupted in a previous file transfer on your computer. The following steps can be followed if you find these empty folders:
- Dont delete them
- Go to google photos and download the photos that have the same filename or date as the empty folders, to your computer/ hard drive. You can also try google takeout.
- Delete the empty folders or you can just leave them there.
- You can check if deleting the empty folders deletes some of your photos in google photos
Alternately, after making sure you have backed up all data on your smartphone, including photos and contacts, you can just do a phone reset. This might be overkill. But if your phone has been malfunctioning or slowing down and you were considering a device reset, this might be the right time to do just that.