Problems with copying/transferring photos (files containing only zeros)

Can anyone explain why ‘A Photo Viewer’ is able to display some photos without any problems, but If I try to copy those photos I get corrupted files containing only zeros (i.e. no data is copied).

How can ‘A Photo Viewer’ access those photos while anyting else can’t?

Those photos should be saved to a SD card, but when I read that SD card with my laptop I cannot transfer any of those photos (any photos I transfer only contain zeros). Is ‘A Photo Viewer’ using some secret (temporary) storage?

It’s a mess. Navigating the file system should be easy but it isn’t.

“Is ‘A Photo Viewer’ using some secret (temporary) storage?”

…storage → rather temporary file or image file cache (small image of the original file → thumbnail).
Speaking of using your mobile for photo viewing.
Imagine you would swipe through your picture archive keeping 12MP or larger images. It wouldn’t work smooth as loading each image would take a few more seconds.
Therefore it’s common practice to keep thumbnails of each original in a cache to assure a smooth swipe/view experience while only loading these smaller images.
Now what if the original file goes corrupt due to filesystem errors (file size 0 bytes), there is still the thumbnail remaining in the cache (a different place on your [internal] storage).
This is still readable by the image viewer. Probably after updating the image cache you loose them when synchronizing is done.
You should backup as much data as possible from your SD card as it may need re-formating or replacing.
Where this cache folder is located is a bit individual and sometimes depending on the viewer in use.
A standard folder in Android within the internal storage is DCIM/.thumbnails [files starting with a period are hidden files] or DCIM/camera/thumbnails. But depending on the viewer app somewhere else is possible too.

Thanks for your suggestions but I cannot find the thumbnails. They should be somewhere in the internal storage of my 'smart’phone but not in DCIM/.thumbnails. BTW: I’m using an app ‘DIR’ to navigate the file system (or at least trying to).
It is certainly a case of WYSINWYG. The photos are displayed but when I copy them I get only corrupted files (containing only zeros)

BTW: the file sizes of the copied files are OK but the files contain no real data, only zeros

Not sure if you have your SD card formatted as internal or portable storage. The latter way is to prefer as formatting as internal storage extension tends to cause trouble after some time.

If it’s already formatted as portable storage, you may take out the card and boot the phone without it.
Does the photo viewer still display the pictures? If so, they must be stored somewhere on the internal storage. But most probably as small thumbnails.
Also check the settings of your photo viewer if there is a specific picture folder defined.
Sometimes app folders can be found and accessed in the path /Android/data/[your picture viewer]
When using DIR to navigate the filesystem it may have a setting to “show hidden files” relating to those folders/files with a leading . [dot] in their names.

Which pretty much sounds like corrupted data.

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