The Great Windows Phone 7 microSD Kerfuffle

There’s been plenty said about the expandable storage on some of the new Windows Phone 7 devices. For those of you that picked up a Samsung Focus yesterday, there is no secret location to expand your memory from the paltry 8GB that comes standard. In fact, page 1 of the Quickstart guide shows you how to insert more memory. There was more confusion yesterday when apparently AT&T began telling CSR’s and customers not to install a microSD, at least until Microsoft could deliver a fix for reliability. A rather lengthy new support article today from Microsoft just confuses things a bit more. It leaves us wondering how there is so much confusion about something so basic on day 1 of a launch this important.

Keystone cops

Here are some key bits from the article:

  • The SD card slot in your phone is intended to be used only by the Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) that built your phone and your Mobile Operator (MO). These partners can add an SD card to this slot to expand the amount of storage on your phone.
  • To help ensure a great user experience, Microsoft has performed exhaustive testing to determine which SD cards perform well with Windows Phone 7 devices. Microsoft has worked closely with OEMs and MOs to ensure that they only add these cards to Windows Phone 7 devices.
  • If the SD card does not meet these performance requirements, the phone will have portions of memory that meet the performance needs of the operating system (the internal storage) and portions of memory that do not meet the needs of the operating system (the SD card). This can lead to poor and unpredictable performance when using the phone.
  • Integrating a Phone with a non–Windows Phone 7 Compliant SD Card: If a non–Windows Phone 7 compliant card is integrated with the phone, you might notice the following performance issues when you use your phone: Applications might start more slowly or not at all. Transitions between some application screens might stutter. Some applications might not respond at times.

If anyone can provide us to a list of Windows Phone 7 compliant cards, that would likely help ease the confusion. Simply put, they need to fix this and fast. Consumers who purchase a phone with expandable memory are going to want to add a card on their own. It’s beyond ridiculous that I should have to visit my local AT&T store to not only purchase, but have them install a card.


  1. says

    yes to this. i love my phone, no, i really really love this phone and os. but thank god i am a tech. yesterday i purchased memory from microcenter and asked an at&t employee if i could use it before he setup my phone. he said yes and he setup my phone. my phone recognized the 16gb class 6 sd memory i had purchased that morning. it worked fine until i restarted the phone. after restart it failed to recognize the memory (under settings and about it showed phone as having only 15mb total lol ). the phone name i assigned to the samsung through zune was also lost. i had to pull the sd card out and reset the phone to factory (pain because i had already loaded settings, software bits, and all my music). after phone factory reset i reinserted sd card, reformatted it, it recognized the memory again. i restarted the phone, and guess what, the same problem. ahhhh!!!!! i went to at&t and they didnt know anything about the sd situation and needing specific brands. why does the customer know more than the sales people?????? i had to explain to them what was happening. they sold me the sandisk memory they had in stock and it fortunately solved the issue (probably a lesser class card at a higher price, it doesn’t have any specs wtf!). i lost an entire day of my life dealing with the run around and reloading of my music because my phone lost its zune naming. when i bought the first memory card i knew it might not work with the phone since i had no official vendor list. but hell, this would drive the average customer to return the phone and buy a droid or iphone.
    the phone and the os are flawless, but it is the little things, and really this is a big thing, that matter. this memory purchase issue should have been made clear a long time ago, and EVERY AT&T EMPLOYEE SHOULD KNOW ABOUT THE PHONE / ACCESSORIES THEY ARE
    btw, thanks to microcenter for letting me return the original sd card without the packaging because at&t tossed it!

    having said all this, i am madly loving this phone. far superior experience that my droid x or iphone 3gs. just suck up the cost and buy the sd at at&t. that way if anything is not right they are responsible for selling you the wrong stuff.

  2. Al says

    I’m using Kingston 16 GB class 4 micro sdhc from Newegg with no problems so far in my Focus. After inserting card, make sure to format card by pressing “Volume down + camera key + power key” until format option appears on screen. *Obviously format will erase data from phone*

  3. william says

    almost a week with the at&t sandisk 16gb, no issues at all. i still might backup the phone to skydrive and try a faster sandisk or kingston from microcenter. i also need to choose between 16 or 32.

Leave a Reply