The Great Windows Phone 7 microSD Kerfuffle Part Deux

Earlier this week we touched on the problems and lack of information plaguing new Windows Phone 7 owners when it comes to compatible microSD expansion memory cards. To this day, there have been conflicting reports on what works and what doesn’t work. Class ratings do not seem to be a guarantee that a card will work in your Windows Phone 7 device. Right now, it’s all over the map. Some work, some don’t work. In our experience with a 32GB SanDisk class 2 microSD card, the phone would completely lose data. Some times it would reset with all of my media in tact. Other times it would reset with missing tiles where an email tile had been previously set up. In a word, the phone was unreliable. We had heard, although it’s not mentioned in the Samsung Focus Quickstart Guide, that a class 4 card is required. That doesn’t explain all of the folks having trouble with Class 6 cards.

At the end of the day, the Samsung Focus is a consumer phone, one that offers microSD expansion as one it’s main features. Page one of the manual offers directions on how to insert a memory card. Most consumers will find themselves picking up a SanDisk card and not think twice about find a class/brand that’s compatible. On Android, there is no need to find a compatible card. Sure, better cards will result in better performance.

Now to part deux. It’s not clear if there is a way to reformat these cards that don’t work in your Windows Phone 7 device. I’ve seen one mention of reformatting working in Windows Phone 6.5, but that’s unconfirmed. Right now, if you attempt to use a microSD card in your Windows Phone 7 device and it doesn’t work, you’re out of luck. You can return it with data of some sort, but it’s not as if you can easily use it in one of your other devices, as mentioned by Joshua Topolosky from Engadget.

Joshua Topolsky

If the editor of the leading technology blog cannot figure out a solution, how is Joe Consumer. A solution from Samsung or Microsoft is needed and fast.


  1. Thomas says

    Let’s hope this is as simple at “Less than two weeks after the release of WP7, update 7.1 is released. Your MicroSD cards now actually function as intended!”

    I would be more than happy to mount it as a storage only device. 8Gigs are plenty big enough for OS and apps…let me use the MicroSD for Music and videos. I’m so befuddled as to why these weren’t functional from day one. So inconsiderate.

    • gail says

      bought samsung phone day one. knew nothing about memory card issues, followed samsung directions …. tried sandisk 16mg card fried phone and card. right now having returned phone unsure where to go from here. liked alot of features of new win phone, but the lack of cut and paste, html, video voice mail and now the card issues makes me think to wait and see what microsoft does and what other issues arrise. any thoughts out there.
      ps my blackberry on its last legs…

  2. Bob says

    I think Engadget is exaggerating the problem. WP7 stripes the data on sd card like a RAID to increase speed. So it won’t be readable on other devices. I doubt card is destroyed. I recommend buying a good Class 4 card and then test it on a PC first.
    Microsoft should have built a diagnostic test into WP7 like Windows 7 does for “ReadyBoost” flash devices.

    • JW says

      of course they do, they want wp7 to fail because engaget is a bunch of apple fanbois.

      The kingston SDC4/32 is working great here!

      • says

        JW – did you try syncing with Zune yet? The phone itself functioned just fine with that card in it…until I went to sync, at which point it took over an hour for < 1GB of songs. I went through numerous cards and the only one I found that would sync properly was a Wintec C10…several days after that, my DVP flat out died. I'm a MS fanboy – this @#)( sucks…big time.

  3. Frank says

    The right answer is to wait for “Windows Phone 7 Compatible” microsd if you are going to buy a new card. If your gonna use an existing card, it may or may not work and you may or may not lose data. You’ve been warned.

  4. Bob says

    Waiting for compatible cards is the safe thing to do. BUT if you have some computer knowledge and don’t want to wait, you can test a sd card yourself.
    1) Buy name brand Class 4 or higher card. No generic junk.
    2) Put sdhc in card reader on your PC. Run a couple programs to test for speed and errors:
    -Crystal Disk Mark program tests for speed (read/write access, throughput)
    -h2testw_1.4 program tests for errors (you can run this test multiple times)
    3) Once tests pass, put card in phone and format card using instructions in Quickstart guide.
    4) Once format and setup is done. Connect phone to PC using Zune software & USB cable.
    5) Don’t put any important info on phone yet, just sync/transfer gigs of music/video/photos until sd card is at least half full. Then download some free phone apps/games to test phone. Shoot some HD video, etc. etc until you’re satisfied phone is working ok.

    • says

      It’s actually not safe…unless you’re using the Focus anyway. Per one of the associates in the Scottsdale MS store, they claim it violates the warranty on the phones (Dell Venue Pro in this case) if ANY card is swapped…even certified ones.

      • Bob says

        Dell Venue Pro card slot is covered by a sticker with a warranty warning. Dell obviously didn’t want to deal with any customer headaches from weak sd cards.
        The bottom line is Windows Phone 7 uses sd cards as part of system memory not just dumb external storage. So high performance microsdhc cards are required. The problem is there are not a lot of quality microsdhc cards available, and it’s hard to determine which card has good speed and random read/write performance without actually testing it. Microsoft didn’t want USER accessable sd card slots, but Samsung wanted it.

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