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[HOWTO] Partition SD card

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By TheBlasphemer, Senior Member on 1st June 2006, 07:54 PM
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Transcend and several other manufacturers make 4GB SD cards these days. They're great if you use your HTC device as MP3 player or Camera, as they offer enough space for thousands of songs and pictures.
My device, the HTC Universal, handles them just fine. However some applications, most notably the Camera application, don't like it.

Why some apps don't like it
The main problem here is the way in which they calculate the free space.
the processor is 32-bit, which means it can handle numbers ranging from 0 to 2^32. 4GB is exactly 2^32 bytes, so that shouldn't be the problem.
The problem is that applications sometimes handle the number as signed, which means that it differentiates between negative and positive numbers.
With signed numbers, the last bit is actually used as the sign (positive or negative), and the new range stretches from -2^31 (-2GB) to 2^31 (2GB).
Up to 2^31, the unsigned numbers and signed numbers are the same, but after that the last bit is set in unsigned numbers, which means that if treated as signed it will be seen as a negative number.
So if you have more than 2GB free, and the application mistreats the number of bytes free as being signed, the application actually thinks you have less than 0 bytes free

How to fix this?
There are several ways to fix this. The most simple one would be to have a simple dummy file so you always have less than 2GB free. This works for the camera application, but any miscoded application taking a look at the actual size of the disk will still screw up
The other solution is partitioning your SD-card. This means that you actually split the SD-card up into several virtual SD-cards of smaller sizes. So one SD-card of 4GB could be seen as four of 1GB (my set up).
This way you still have 4GB of storage, but applications will not get confused as it's split up into several chunks.

Before you start remember to back up the current data on your SD-Card. the procedure will completely erase your SD-card. You might be able to retain the data by using partitionmagic's resize partition features, but you'd have to test yourself.
Also I'd like to mention that although I tested this procedure myself, I can't garantuee it will work for you. If it renders your SD-card useless, I can not be held responsible.

My set-up
This tutorial was written using:
- T-Mobile MDA Pro (HTC Universal)
- Windows XP SP2 MCE (equivilant to Pro)
- Transcend 150x 4GB SD-Card
It might work with a different set-up, but I can't garantuee anything

- Windows Mobile 5
- WM5Storage (do not use CardExport2, you need the ability to turn off "Removable Class"!)
- Big SD-Card

Let's get started
Just follow the following steps
  • First, make a backup of your SD-card! the following procedure will erase it!
  • Next, install WM5Storage. I will attach a copy of version 1.53 with this post, but you can get the latest version here.
    Just copy the .cab file to your device, and execute it from the file explorer. Just make sure you install on the main memory, as the SD-card becomes inaccessible during the procedure
  • Start WM5Storage. On my device, WM5Storage did not put anything in the start menu or the today screen, so I had to launch it through the file-explorer. You can find it at My Device\Program Files\WM5Storage\.
  • Be sure to untick both "Read-Only" and "Removable Class". Optionally you can set it to light a LED on read/write, but that's not neccesarry for this procedure.
  • Disconnect your device from your computer.
  • Insert the SD-Card if you haven't done so already
  • Hit "Activate" (bottom, right)
  • Re-connect your device to your computer.
  • From now on all steps are done from the PC
  • Wait until windows has recognized all "new hardware", and you have new a new hard-drive listed in "My Computer".
  • Open the control panel (Start -> Control Panel)
  • Go to either Performance and Maintenance -> Administrative Tools (category view) or directly to Administrative Tools (Classic View)
  • Double-Click Computer Management
  • Go to Computer Management (Local) -> Storage -> Disk Management (might take a little while to find all drives)
  • In the bottom view, find the disk that has your SD-card in it (You can find out by looking at the contents through "My Computer", or by seeing which disk is added once you plug in your WM device)
  • Right click the partition (white block ), and choose for Delete Partition
  • In the just created "Unallocated" space, right click, and choose for New Partition
  • In the wizard:
  • choose for a Primary Partition
  • For size, enter 1024MB (or if there is no more remaining, just the remainder). Ofcourse you can also choose your own size
  • Assign any drive-letter you want (or none if you only want it to be accessible on the WM Device).
  • Format the partition as Filesystem FAT32, Allocation unit size Default, and pick any volume label you want (You will only see the volume label on the PC, on the WM Device it will just be "Storage Card X". Also tick "Perform a quick format"
  • Wait until the bottom line in the new partition reads "Healthy" (wait for it to format basically )
  • Create as much partitions as you'd like (just resume from right-clicking and picking New partition)
  • You're done partitioning! If you want, you can fill the contents of the SD-Card now before you deactivate WM5Storage
  • Disconnect the device from the computer
  • Next few steps on the Device
  • Click "Deactivate" (same place as "Activate" was before )
  • Close WM5Storage
  • You're all done! have fun with the multiple storage cards you have now :P

I've put quite a bit of time in this tutorial, I'd appreciate if you at least told me if it worked
If you can spare a few coins, I'd also appreciate a donation. You can donate with PayPal to "".
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2nd June 2006, 11:49 AM |#2  
sheitan's Avatar
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nice post, i'm bloging it right away 8)
11th June 2006, 02:44 PM |#3  
Junior Member
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Re: [HOWTO] Partition SD card
I have a 2GB SD card. My o2 mini prompt me to format it when inserted. After formatted. o2 mini shows 0.01 MB only.
"My computer using card reader shows 14KB and from Disk Management, it shows 1.86 GB Free. I believe this "1.86GB Free" means unallocated space.
I right click on the unallocated space, but there is no option for me to choose a Primary Partition. It only has 3 options.
"New Logical Drive...",
"Delete Partition...", which is grayed out and

Help! How to allocate this 1.86GB and format it to fat32?
Any kind soul please help me get this 2GB SD card to work with my o2 mini. 1.86GB and not 0.01MB.

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14th September 2006, 06:17 AM |#4  
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is there anyway to rename the partition with a different name? i've tried a lot of ways but in vain... the 2nd partition always follow the name of the 1st partition... any help please?

thanks in advance...

1st October 2006, 10:26 AM |#5  
Junior Member
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After having lots of problems with my SD card, I already thought that partitioning possibly could solve the problem and, using your howto, I can use my 2 GB SD-card without any problems.

2nd October 2006, 03:24 AM |#6  
st3v3's Avatar
Senior Member
Flag Melbourne
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ive done this on a 512 sd and using wm03, used a card reader to do the partition.

actualy worked well for a while if you have alot of files to store in one of the partitions, but ended up being a real pain when you wanted to re-do it
2nd October 2006, 05:50 AM |#7  
Retired Forum Moderator
Flag Vancouver
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Really nice post and easy too.
13th October 2006, 03:58 AM |#8  
Junior Member
Thanks Meter: 0
hi i tried it.....realyy wonderful....thanks a lot for posting this one...keep posting things lik tis.....

1st February 2007, 11:31 AM |#9  
VOODOOS!L's Avatar
Senior Member
Thanks Meter: 11
thx for this tips!

I used it for my 2GB MiniSD card, but now I would like to keep my TomTom maps on the second partition, but TomTom can't recognize the map. (Storage Card2\)

I tried by editing the 'CurrentMap.dat' file and set the path to the Storage Card2 but still TomTom doesn't want to read this second partition. Anyone a solution for that?

2nd February 2007, 11:14 PM |#10  
jerrry's Avatar
Senior Member
Thanks Meter: 2
Nice tutorial. I have problem with reading of my 4GB SD card. Now I'm using two partitions (1GB for cameras and 3GB for my PocketPC). Thank you
4th February 2007, 02:14 AM |#11  
Junior Member
Thanks Meter: 0
I have been trying this but all I seem to be able to do is partition the card but only able to format the first partition s the rest of the card is rendered useless

Any help appreciated
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