Surface Pro, SD card and Windows 8 libraries

I’ll start by saying I’m doing this entire entry using the Surface Pro as a tablet.  No keyboard attached.  I just wanted to see the usability.  Thus far no issues.

By the way the first thing one must do to get the most of touch typing on any of the Surfaces is to change the touch keyboard to thumb view.  When the keyboard opens as you click on a field that wants input; near the bottom right of the keyboard is the keyboard icon…click on the icon and choose the icon with keys to either side.

Yesterday I showed how I mounted a micro SD card to make it truly usable by the system.  I briefly touched on some things that I am defaulting to my mounted SD card but really didn’t show how to do it.  Most are easy.  I will throw in some screen caps.

Another by the way.  Everyone knows how to do a screen cap on their Surface, right?

If not it is as simple as Holding down the Windows logo near the bottom center of the Surface and pressing Down on the volume rocker.

The screen will flash.  The screen cap will be put on the clipboard but will also be saved as a jpeg under your pictures folder for example c:\users\[your user name]\pictures\screen caps. I also pin snipping tool to my taskbar to capture and paste certain images into PSP X5.

We will change all of our settings using Desktop mode on the Surface.

For my examples I have mounted my micro SD card to C:\SDCard.  I have created a C:\SDCard\Andy\ folder and under that I have created Pictures, Music, Videos, Documents and Downloads folders.


Libraries are quite simple and once you set up one you will be able to do all of them.

  • Go to desktop mode and tap the folder icon (Windows Explorer) on the taskbar.


Windows Explorer opens

(again I am doing this all via touch)

  • Under Libraries; Press, Hold and Release (or right click) on Music…Choose Properties
  • Tap the Add… button to add the new location.
  • We browse to the location for the folder we want to add.  I browsed to c:\SDCard\Andy\Music
  • Once added to Library Locations; Tap on your folder to select it then tap on the Set save location button.


We could at this point remove the location (does not delete the folder) for our previous default location, but in the case of screen caps (as I found out) they are saved in the Windows default pictures folder…so I just leave them.

Repeat the above for each (media) folder that you created under your mounted SD card folder.


If we don’t keep an eye on this folder space can disappear quickly.  I set my Downloads to go to my mounted SD card.

  • Launch desktop mode Internet Explorer.
  • Tap the Gear icon (Tools) and choose View Downloads
  • Near the bottom of the view downloads dialog tap Options.
  • Change the save location for your downloads to the location you created on your mounted SD card.


Once you change where downloads are saved, you will want to change the  shortcut in explorer as well.

  • Press, hold and release Downloads in Windows Explorer; choose Properties.
  • Fix the Target to point to your Downloads folder you created on you mounted SD card.  This should match the folder you pointed to in the previous steps.



Applications are all different so we need to check their save locations separately.

For MS Office products we launch each program then from the File tab we choose Options in the left column.  On the Options dialog click Save.  We adjust our save locations on the dialog that opens.  We do this for Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access separately.

Some applications will use the Windows default save location (which is now our SD card), others will use the last place you saved a file.  You will just have to season to taste to make sure you are saving as much as you can on to the mounted SD card.


6 thoughts on “Surface Pro, SD card and Windows 8 libraries

  1. Jake

    Hi Andy,

    I’ve applied all of these fixes to my Surface Pro, and everything works great in Desktop mode. However, the Photos app fails to see any pictures in my library. The pictures are in the library in the file explorer, just not in the app. Any thoughts on why this is happening, or how to fix it?

    1. Hi Jake, if your folder has been added to the library successfully my first guess would be permissions. We format the card in NTFS so we can use file level permissions, xDFat allows sharing but not file level security.

      I am seeing there are many having this issue; one suggested fix is to add SYSTEM with full permissions to the SD Card folder. Looking at file security on mine I see only Everyone with Full permissions; mine seems to be working but I am going to add SYSTEM to be sure.

      Update: Very strange; it appears that file level permissions are not inherited from the root of the mounted sd card folder…nor can the SD card folder apply permissions to sub folders. I was able to set permissions on the folder that contains my pictures, music etc. and apply those to all the sub folders.

      1. Jake

        I was actually able to fix it by creating a virtual hard drive on the SD card (and adding all my files to it) and creating a script to mount the drive on boot… kinda roundabout but it works. I have the same problem with the Photos app not seeing my files on my desktop computer too, though, where my pictures are on an internal hard drive (not C:\). I went to add SYSTEM permissions like you suggested, but they already existed. Seems these libraries (and/or the app) are rather finicky.

  2. Matthew Yiu


    I was wondering if the SD card will be corrupted if i were to take it out and use it on my “new” surface. I have already applied the above “fix” to my current surface pro.

    Thanks in advance!

    1. I don’t think it would “corrupt” the card but I would definitely “Unmount” (Disk Manager > Change Drive Letters and Paths > Remove (the mounted SD Card)). Definitely will loose any ‘pointers’ you might have set up.

  3. Koowip

    I can’t get any of the apps to see my library contents either. It could be a permission setting, but I’m thinking a glitch of some kind. Same with Windows Media Player. Can’t see the files, no way to browse for the folder manually either.

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