Windows Phone microSD Memory Cards Unusuable Elsewhere [update]

So you know how you can only put appropriately formatted microSD memory cards into Windows Phones? As it turns out, you can’t even remove those cards for use in some other phone. Straight from the Samsung Focus FAQ:

Once inserted and properly formatted, the memory card becomes an inseparable part of the phone.

A microSD card inserted into a Windows Phone 7 device and integrated into the device’s file system is intended to be a permanent modification to the device. Once a microSD card has been integrated into a Windows Phone 7 device’s file system, it will no longer be readable or writable on any other devices such as computers, cameras, printers, and so on. This includes an inability to format the microSD card for use in these devices.”

Apparently Windows phone-compatible microSD memory cards are certified based on random access speed, not it’s class (2, 4, 6, etc.). That being said, the cards aren’t available to the masses just yet, and folks who pick up Windows phones are stuck with the one their handset comes with.

I can’t speak much to the technical justifications for this move, but I have a feeling that this problem will only affect the tech-savvy minority who are prone to swap out their memory cards regularly. Upgrading to a higher denomination might leave folks with a useless card, but that’s a rare occurrence. The idea that you don’t even have a say in the matter when at one point you did is a little bothersome; as a result of this microSD mess, I imagine those who hinge their phone purchases on freedom and flexibility will probably opt for Android over Windows phone.

Turns out, the Nokia N8 is capable of restoring any microSD cards that have been rendered otherwise useless by a Windows Phone 7 device. This might mean that other microSD/SD card readers are capable of reformatting your WP7 microSD card, which would be a nice little surprise for anyone using Windows Phone right now.

Unfortunately, we’re not sure how many of you out there actually have a Nokia N8, let alone how many of you with Windows Phone 7 devices also have an N8.

For the time being, if you have not an N8, you’ll just have to wait for someone to offer a WP7 app to reformat the microSD card, or something along those lines.

[via Engadget]

  • Anonymous

    I have a strong feeling that an app is going to show up on the Marketplace by Microsoft, to restore your SD card back to regular FAT32 formatting. It will be interesting to see how it works, since formatting the card also means your own device gets completely reset as well. They are in a tough predicament.

  • Anonymous
  • Yes, this is known. The WP7 hardware spec doesn’t call for removable storage. Because microSD memory is cheaper than NAND memory, a lot of manufacturers are going with microSD cards. It’s more like the iPhone, than the Android/BlackBerry/webOS with regards to storage. But it sounds like Microsoft might cave and some workaround might show up.

  • What an absolute failure in engineering. Good riddance to a lousy platform. Never giving WP7 a glance.

  • Anonymous

    I believe that the company’s Windows and Samsung
    should stop acting like we are letting the gadget loans and understand
    that we had to pay good money for those things and that is not there
    place to say how much space should be and how lets use that space for
    the user.

  • I love my phone. WHEN IT WORKS. This memory error is a nightmare, even worse is they brick the memory card on you so if the phone doesn’t recognize it an gets stuck in an infinite loop of “your memory card is broken or changed” you can’t even use the card in another device.

  • dE_logics

    MS wants to force you to use Windows; to use a Windows phone you have to –

    1) Use Bill Gate’s products everywhere (stick to MS only — hay!… it’s a monopoly).
    2) Donate a lot of money to um.
    3) Do whatever he likes (though Windows, indirectly)
    4) Accept whatever decision he makes.
    5) Hate software for non-profit and try to kill these ORGs to make Mr. Gates a richer man by forcing everyone to pay more.

    Hay… where’s the government; I guess it’s too late for them too.


    I also have Samsung focus i917.
    Now I move to Lumia 720. I faced same problem, I can’t find Nokia N8,
    but tried to manage Nokia 5233. It also made memory card revive again.
    Just format it. I think, this problem can be solved by Nokia any
    Symbian’s Version phones.

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