Disclaimer: All this stuff is second nature to me and I sometimes forget that some are not as familiar moving around in the system. This one gets pretty close to the heart of windows so I have to say if you attempt this, you do so at your own risk. It is simple enough but if you unmount or format the wrong thing it will not be good.
As I mentioned, I have a Surface Pro 64Gb model. I am not a neat freak but I am concerned about how fast I can chew up space on that 64Gb “System” drive. I picked up a 64Gb micro SD card and plugged it in to the unit. Well, I thought it was going to be that easy…guess again.
My plan is to make the micro SD card a permanent fixture in the Surface pro. To manage my space all I wanted to do is set up libraries for Documents, Pictures, Music and Videos on the micro SD card. Oh, and have my downloads default to the card as well.
I have been enlightened.
Know this about Windows 8 on the Surface devices. By default Windows will let you install Apps and Programs to the internal SSD only. If you put in a micro SD card and try to install to it, well you will never find the SD card.
Windows 8 and removable (micro SD) media do not play well by default. Sure they work fine for just popping in and out for “Storing” media, but if you want to utilize Windows 8 libraries and Metro apps that use Windows Libraries; that is another story.
When we put an external micro SD into the windows 8 device it is automatically given a drive letter and is formatted with xDFat. Windows recognizes this and disables several functions like “Add to library…”
Day 1 with your new micro SD card decide whether you want to use it like a thumb drive or to make it a permanent part of the system.
As a thumb drive, do nothing. Pop it in and you are good to go.
If you want to integrate it into the system so you can use Libraries and install to the device you will want to “mount” the card as usable space. Mounting the external makes it appear as a folder on the C: drive…the OS is none the wiser.
It is simple yet scary to those that have not messed with disk manager.
- Open Disk Management
- From the charms menu choose Search…
- Enter Disk Management in the search field and click on Settings (below the search field).
- In the results pane click on “Create and format hard disk partitions”.
- Your micro SD card should be visible and most likely be assigned to D: drive. It will appear as Removable.
- Right-click on the “Removable” drive and select Change Drive Letter and Paths…
Make absolutely certain that you are on the Removable disk for these steps, Wouldn’t want to harm the C: drive.
- Click on the “Remove” button.
- Right-click on the “Removable” drive again and select Format, choose NTFS
- Right-click on the “Removable” drive yet again and select Change Drive Letter and Paths…
- Click on the Add… button.
- Choose Mount in the following empty NTFS folder from the available choices.
- Click the New folder button.
- Suggestion: Create a folder you can recognize as the SD card under your user folder C:\Users\”your user name”\SDCard or off the root as I did with C:\SDCard
Now you will want to create some folders under the Folder that you mounted the drive to. under my C:\SDCard folder I created:
I added the Documents, Music, Pictures and Videos folder to the corresponding Windows Library. Now Metro apps that use Libraries will display the media it is supposed to.
I went to desktop mode IE and changed my default download directory to point to my new folder. In IE (desktop mode) it is under Tools (gear) > View Downloads > Options…Note that you can only change your download directory from Desktop Mode IE. Metro IE uses the desktop setting. Also note that if you receive a cannot download (file has moved…) from Metro IE, you may have missed the step to format the micro SD with NTFS; I know this because I missed it the first time through.
Next I went into my MS Office products and change their default Save locations
So now all my non-program/apps media goes to my micro SD card.
The micro SD card is part of the system, so don’t go removing it or anything. Use the USB slot to hook up a thumb drive or external disk to move files back and forth.