Use your SD Card as My Music or My Pictures

On Windows 8 and with the rise of SSD devices, the storage space on the computer may prove scarce. One solution is to put your documents on a fast-enough SD Card. However, there’s a caveat: even if your format your SD card as NTFS drive, Windows will refuse to index the SD card (because it’s a removable device).

As a result, you’ll be unable to search files on your SD card efficiently and some applications like XBox Music or Photos will not work properly. I found a solution on the web: map your SD card to a folder, create subfolder in it and use that as your root for My Documents, My Music, My Pictures and My Videos folders.

However, this didn’t work quite as I expected. The indexation process wasn’t smooth. Usually, it worked, but not all the times, particularly when files were added from outside the Windows computer. This is because the index is on your C: drive and not on the card.

I decided to go with a similar but different solution: create a fixed-size virtual hard drive on my SD card and mount it automatically on startup.

Why a  virtual hard drive

When you use a virtual hard drive, Windows looses completely any sense about the real hardware component it’s working on. So, you can work on your drive like any other drive and Windows will completely ignore this is a removable device.

Also, because it’s a real drive and not mounted folders, if I had a new drive to add to my PC I’ll be able to copy my files from my VHD and put them on my hard drive easily. If you make mounted folders, you’ll be able to perform the same but it’ll take more operations (you’ll have to undo the mounting point, and recreate it to your new drive).

A last reason is that a VHD comes with a write-buffer that will make write operation appear faster than they actually are, at least if your SD card is configured for better performances and *not* quick removal (doing that for a device you’ll never remove may not be very smart).

Published on 2013-01-29 under ALL, WINDOWS


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