Windows Phone Locks-in MicroSD Cards
There has been discussion for a few weeks now about how Microsoft's new smartphone OS handles expendable storage, with many people reporting that inserting the wrong card can reduce the OS to a crawl.
NowÂ Engadget have discovered that the Windows Phone OS makes permanent changes to a card that can prevent it from being read, written to or formatted on any other device.
Samsung have documented the feature for the Focus, saying that inserting a MicroSD card into a Windows Phone can be considered a "pernament modification" adding ''it will no longer be readable or writable on any other devices such as computers, cameras, printers, and so on''.
Microsoft too has warned of the permenant change, though it's not entirely clear exactly what the OS is doing to the card.Â Engadget say...
''The Windows Phone 7 operating system treats the SD card as an integrated part of the phone. This is in contrast to other devices, where you can use an SD card to increase the memory available to the device at any time or to transfer files to other devices,'' the page reads.
Meantime, AT&T has warned customers via Engadget that only ''Certified for Windows Phone 7'' microSD cards should be used in Microsoft's mobile devices. The reason, according to the mobile carrier, is that the Windows Phone platform ''requires a certified high-speed microSD card for optimal performance.''
At present, no such ''certified'' cards exist and no indication has been given as to when they will hit store shelves. According to Microsoft support documents, certification comes down to more than just ''a simple matter of judging its speed class.''
''Several other factors, such as the number of random read/write operations per second, play a role in determining how well an SD card performs with Windows Phone 7 devices,'' the page reads.
Â The lack of clarity over the expandability of Windows Phone handsets could damage sales of handsets from people looking to harness the on-board Zune software to use their phone as an MP3 music and video player.Advertisement
Ha! And want to bet that MS has some sort of fairly expensive certification process that micro-card vendors will have to go through to get their cards certified as MS phone compatible?
Microsoft keeps shooting themselves in the foot.
I just bought whatever 32GB micro SD card they had at the ATT store and put it in my Focus. Now I have 40GB of storage space and the phone is working perfectly. I love it!
I put a 4g in my wife’s Focus and a 16g in mine. Both are working great.
The problems will come when you want to move the SD card to your computer to add music or pictures. — or use it to capture (more) pictures on your camera. According to the article, your ‘new’ chip might be bricked for such purposes.
It seems like a rather ‘shoot your foot’ move on the part of Microsoft.
The memory is merged (essentially a raid) with your internal memory. This means the card has to be specially formatted to accomplish this. You can’t pull read the memory in a card reader once this formatting has occured. If you insert a card the phone must be hard reset for the merging to happen. If you remove the card part of your RAID is missing so you must hard reset the phone so the memory can be repaired. The card is part of your storage and if remove the storage must be reset.
i hate microsoft social damage control monkeys, even when i worked for you i found your attempt at damage control retarded. just stop posting and people will stop bashing you
that is why I am waiting so that they figure all this out. then my family is in.
I’ve got two Samsung Focus devices. One with 4g card and one with 16g card. The 4g in my wife’s phone came from my previous Windows Mobile phone. I’m not sure what manufacture it is. I bought a 16g card from Radio Shack.
They both have been working perfectly and we have had no problems.
â€it will no longer be readable or writable on any other devices such as computers, cameras, printers, and so onâ€
This is classic Microsoft means of keeping things propreitary. Standards can a hoot!
Actually it’s not about standards. It’s about implementation. Obviously you are not an embedded device engineer. It’s about speed, reliability and merging with the internal memory.
To accomplish what Microsoft has with making the memory all one chuck they needed to change to a specific implementation.
And in my opinion they nailed it. Perfect implementation because it just works.
First Microsoft didn’t want to support MicroSD cards at all (followed few links form Engadget story linked in post). Some time later manufacturers probably burst their bubble and said that card support is happening.
Then Microsoft failed at implementation so that it just works with any card (something every other phone manufacturer somehow accomplished).
Oh AND it locks card in which is just nuts and defeats the definition of external storage.
Summary – trying to dictate others how it should work, failing, failing at implementation. Ending up with obscure useless “feature” justified by mythical performance gain, that will probably get fixed and forgotten later (ReadyBoost, ahem).
> Actually itâ€™s not about standards. Itâ€™s
> about implementation.
That’s exactly the problem. Around here we call that vendor lockin. Standards exist for a reason.
Uh, no, it doesn’t “just work”.
“Just working”, by any reasonable standard (like, say, the standards applied for expected functionality of REMOVABLE and REUSABLE flash cards, since they were invented), necessarily includes the ability to take the card out, use it to transfer data to other devices, or from other devices, and to stop using the card in one device entirely and use it in another.
Microsoft apparently can’t handle this standard functionality. So they created their own.
Well, I do embedded systems, and I think this is -totally bogus-. Microsoft could most certainly build what they wanted -on top of- a (Microsoft technology) FAT-32 file system on the card. I could see (although it would be a piss-poor design choice) why MS might want to have a proprietary “virtual memory” image, but there’s absolutely no reason to hose the underlying file system on the card. How many microseconds would they save by going through FAT-32?
wipe your chin.
@David Emery – If you are an embedded developer then you also understand that just because you have a standard doesn’t mean it fits the implementation. If you are an embedded developer or a developer at all then you would know making blanket statements like “ut thereâ€™s absolutely no reason to hose the underlying file system on the card” is absolutely ridiculous.
I didn’t know you had access to the Windows Phone 7 design requirements. You much be extra special.
Basically for anyone who’s not an engineer you can’t know what is required unless you see the manufacturing design requirements. My bet is that David in a Linux Emebedded developer if one at all.
@ Everyone that’s replying to this comment – I own two of the Samsung Focus devices with memory cards and I use it everyday. How many Windows Phone 7 devices do you own?
BTW, it works perfectly and I have had no problems. My advice is to shut up unless you own a device and are using it. That way you don’t sound like an idiot. :)
I think you miss the big picture. Microsoft’s implementation may be flawless, but the entire concept they use is bogus: it solves a problem other manufacturers have solved much more efficiently in the past without lowering the usability of both the phone and the microSD card, as Microsoft’s “solution” does here.
I don’t care how well Microsoft is doing it; they’re doing something I as a consumer don’t like, so I shall take my business elsewhere.
You guys must be nuts to trust Microsoft!
So you are saying it’s OK to trust Apple, Google, Rim, [fill in the blank], but just not Microsoft?
It’s a matter of degree. Trust is not an all-or-nothing state – why else would the phrase “Sure, I trust him to do thus-and-so” make sense?
I trust Google to a fair degree, with the reservation that – like any for-profit company – their main job is to make money. I don’t trust Apple any more than I trust Microsoft; they’ve been guilty of quite similar actions over the years. I’ve never had any reason to pay attention to RIM (see also “vendor lock-in” above).
I trust OSI projects to write software that’s free of spyware and other hidden “phone-home” sorts of functionality, and I trust most of them to write pretty secure code – and for most of them, the “for-profit company” caveat above is unnecessary!
I trust Microsoft. Why would I not? What have they done to make me not believe them? I use Microsoft products everyday that don’t ever let me down. I make a very nice living being a C# developer using the best development tools in the world. So again, why should I not trust them?
You look more as a (MS) butt licker than a developer …
@anonymous – Is that the best you’ve got?
How about their convicted monopolist status?
Best dev tools in the world? I am a multi-language developer (Eclipse/VS/Qt) and Qt takes dumps on VS from a great height, plus it’s multiplatform so I can take my code wherever and put it wherever I want. You can try C# with Mono but then you’re playing catchup on other systems.
> So you are saying itâ€™s OK to trust Apple, Google, Rim, [fill in the
> blank], but just not Microsoft?
Just like people, companies start with neutral trust and from there either earn more (Google) or loose it (Microsoft). Only the gullible continue to trust after they’ve been burned.
Could it be that Microsoft is ditching the FAT32 format for SD cards? I don’t understand how a “permanent modification” can be made to a card, so it seems likely to me that this is simply a filesystem format issue. Almost every other device expects SD cards to have a FAT32 partition on them.
For those who think this is “just a filesystem issue”, and that it can be reformatted:
This is what “secure” in “secure digital” is all about. Essentially DRM protection in hardware. Or maybe you thought “secure” was about data safety or reliable storage?
Although the security mechanisms are rarely used in digital cameras etc, they are almost always active in GPS maps delivered on SD to prevent copying.
As for why Microsoft would enable this: Well, if the SD is used for memory expansion, it would be easy to circumvent whatever DRM they use for the media, if one could pop out the micro-sd card, put it in a computer, modify the swap space/hibernated image/system files/whatever, and then put the card back in to the phone…
I’m not switching to Windows Phone unless it comes in pink, diamond studded! Until then, I’m a die hard Apple iPhone users!
Not really a suprise here, I didnt think they would just be using FAT32 file system to support large SD cards, and NTFS would be overkill.
Also they never called the memory removeable, only expandable. Still one better than Apple, but performance on SD cards does vary between manufacturer and model, so actual performance may vary.
I’m sure I’m going to fill my 32GB iPhone soon, but Apps and data are only 2-3 GB. The rest is music managed by synching playlists, and just having some good playlists to keep the content fresh. Movies I just stream over AirVideo or use VLC if I want to take something with me on the phone.
people still using ms-windows, be careful – if they are doing this on sd cards and windows phone, surelly they will do on windows7/vista/xp updates on pendrives and hard-disks – everyone is still in time to migrate out of ms-windows – be hurry!
Typical Microsoft ,
microSD cards are removable media you expect that you can remove them & use them in another device.
What actually happens is that the card is now useless on any other device & if its a slow card useless on the windows phone as well.
SO WHERE is THE WARNING in large prominent letters about this
On the box where it says “Windows Phone 7”
This cannot be legal, I’m suing for damages to my important data. This phone has caused me to lose access to files that are needed for my buisness, this has already cost me millions. Microsoft will only be a piece of history by the time I’m done with these crooks.
you’re right – suing these bastards from Microsoft is the best thing to do, and everyone should do the same
@King Reggin – Just go switch all you equipment over to Apple and see how great you business performs. Or even better use Linux and see how much time you save.
The company I work for is small, but switching to Macs and dumping all MS products let us get rid of one of our two IT guys, and the one left has a LOT of time on his hands. Oh, and my computer doesn’t crash every twenty minutes, in fact it hasn’t yet. Not to say it won’t, but it hasn’t since we switched last year.
@Anonymous – If your computer was crashing every 20 minutes then what was the problem? Either you had incompetent IT and / or you are installing very crappy 3rd party software / hardware. If you run Windows with good 3rd party drivers and software your computer will never crash. You can run Windows out of the box with no extra software and it will run flawless forever. Did you know that just about all “blue screens” are cause by crappy 3rd party drivers that had nothing to do with Microsoft but Microsoft still takes the blame. I’m not being a fanboy (even though I admit I am) but this is fact.
@BobbyCannon the problem is ms-windows (all versions) comes with no decent software – you must install everything else as third party for a productive usage of it (when we rarelly can, since how bloaty and fragile thing all versions of ms-windows are)
ms-windows cames with IE, but we need to install Chrome and Firefox for a decent web browsing – for playing videos, ms-windows comes with a video-player-something, but we need to, at least, install a program like VLC for a decent visualization of videos – there are no serious and robust operating system needing anti-virus and these stuff, and ms-windows needs, and the performance were affected significantly when running them – the ms-windows terminal (ms-dos prompt) is a huge crap when compaired with Linux and OSX terminal, we can’t do simple things like ‘locate Bobby | grep Cannon > result.txt && gedit.txt’ – ms-office is so crappy and bloated, and as well we need to pay its user licence independently, while we can have LibreOffice, which is way better than ms-office, and save pdf files from there without having to install anything else – most of Linux distributions, like Debian and Ubuntu, uses a packaging system, far more efficient than running ms-windows executable installers which only bloats the system registry, and we can install, uninstall, install, uninstall, etc., as many times you want, and Linux will not get affected in performance because of this, a Linux installed 5 years ago (with a very intensive use, reconfiguration, etc.) can be as fresh as pre-installed, and you can’t tell the same about ms-windows – the examples are so many i could need to write a book explaining all that
@BobbyCannon i stopped using ms-windows since 4 years ago, and i forgot completely what a virus or an anti-virus is about – i think you can’t tell the same when running ms-windows, whatever it is windows7, windows8, vista, windows2008, etc…
Or, use do what the London Stock Exchange did and drop Microsoft for day-long outages (don’t use the “it was network issues” excuse, that was only one of three times!) for a system that’s reliable and a faster by order of magnitude.
It warns you that you are formatting the device when you put it in. No damage will come to you data that you are not explicitly warned of.
alot of people are complaining, but i’m pretty sure you have to physically open the phone to replace the card as they are not supposed to be user replaceable.
You about the only smart person that has comment on this article. it clearly state that this is non removable without a hard reset to the phone. It’s expandable memory not removable memory. Simple as that. What’s so hard to understand?
It sounds to me like these people WANT to use the windows phone 7 but are unhappy that they can’t use it the way they want to and that you, on the other hand. Absolutely love everything Microsoft and have no problem being locked in to using your phone the way Bill wants you to. This is perfectly fine, that is what choice is all about. I choose to not use anything from Microsoft ever for the exact same reasons you seem to love it. But these people do have a right to complain about wanting features other people take for granted so they can use a windows phone. You should be happy. These people WANT to use the dang thing. I, on the other hand, wouldn’t use it if you gave it to me so all of this is just amusing to me. History should tell these people that if they want to use a microsoft product they will use it Bills way or the highway. If you want to use a phone your way you will need to use a different manufacturer and a different OS, (other then iPhone) simple as that.
I love the astroturfing… Err… Replies to the comments by MS fanbois.
WinMobile devices haven’t sold that well but suddenly EVERYONE posting has one (or two) with an SD card and is overjoyed with it.
@Bobj – You sound jealous more than anything. I guess you were hoping no one would like Windows Phone 7. Sorry but people do like it. :)
I have a Droid-X. I have a 16GB MicroSD card in it. I get to do really… anything I want with it. Its used as storage for the phone, storage for the programs I have on it, temporary cache data storage for the Droid-X, swap space for the phone when I have a ton of things running.
So, tell me… why would Microsoft be using a SLOW media like MicroSD for Persistent “system” memory? Why? I can tell you why, Hardware doesn’t have enough memory on it to run and have temporary storage.
My phone has 8GB of on phone memory and storage plus the 16GB of MicroSD card…. My Droid-X has a total installed footprint of 1.7G including “operating memory”. Out of 8GB on the phone I have 6.33GB free. on the 16GB (really 14.93GB formatted) I have 14.86GB free on it. I recently cleared out everything I don’t want or need. 20GB total will be enough for me to manage all of my servers and play games and communicate with clients… just fine.
How come the Windows 7 Phone need to use the SD card as Persistent Randomly Accessible Memory rather than Storage?
I don’t understand the fuss about MicroSD thing. Some phones supports it (Android, RIM, Nokia) and some doesn’t (iPhone, WP7)
It’s a design thing. It can be the perfect thing to follow and it can be the dumbest thing to follow depends on how you lookthink about it.
It’s like some Toyotas not having parking sensors while BMW, Mercedes and other car manufacturers does. If you’re a good driver, you won’t need them. If you’re not, you do.
@Bobby Cannon: You sir, are a Microsoft lackey. Two minutes on your website makes that clear, a glance at your resume shows you don’t even consider yourself experienced with any other OS.
We’ve all used Microsoft products, and quite frankly I don’t think you can argue they don’t fail, because they fail all the time. It’s true, that’s why their reputation is so bad, and I see no way for you to argue against that fact amongst people who know this. The reason your posts are getting bad reactions is because we’re not retarded.
As far as this Focus goes, I owned one, had an SD card in it, and it slowed to a crawl so I swapped it on day three. As to why, MS has not put much effort into hiding the fact that they want to lock everyone into their brand. Expandable as opposed to removable? Give me a break.
@Anonymous. I’m sorry to hear that. You probable have a crappy card? Who’s the manufacturer? Microsoft has warned that some microsdhc cards can slow the phone down and may even lead to data loss. You better be sure you have a quality card.
Funny how people react depending on the manufacturer. Apple try and lock down certain aspects of the iPhone so that end user experience is maintained. This is widely criticised by people who have no motive other than to moan at Apple, or because they prefer another platform.
True it does seem counter intuitive to lock a â€˜removableâ€™ storage device, but then again they don’t cost too much.
If it’s easy to transfer data to and from the device without taking the card put of the camera, then there is almost no issue, if it means that the performance and user experience is maintained.
It’s all about whether the device is easy and intuitive to use, and secondly price ( to me ), although others will always go with cost first and pay the non monitary cost later.
Sent from my iPhone :)
“Microsoft’s biggest and most dangerous contribution to the software
and hardware industry may be the degree to which it has
lowered user expectations.”
UnixSlave – I mostly agree with you. Personally I’m not a big fan of Microsoft,
The Microsoft xBox 360 software is so great compared to Wii and PS3 ( I own them all ).
Playing online against your friends is a much easier and better experience on the xBox, ( probably because I pay for it ), and updates seem to take much less time to download and install compared with PS3 massive mandatory updates which deliver no discernable benefit to the user, and are occasionally buggy.
Also a Â£10 Microsoft wired laser mouse cannot be argued with and is rock solid – no sudden movements.
The way the memory is used is more like cache or DRAM in a computer and less like an external hard drive or thumbdrives. It is not meant to be removed and has no file system on it when used the way that the hardware uses it. I bought a 8GB, class 6 SD card for my Samsung Focus and I’m very happy with the performance. The class numbers go from 1 slow to 10 extremely fast. I found class 6 was a terrific fit for WP7 and the Focus – I got mine at Fry’s for under $20.
When adding a card make sure it is seated well in the internal slot, reformat/reset your phone using the 3-button power on technique. All data on the phone and the SD card are lost, but your memory is expanded. It is easy enough to pull your contacts again from Windows Live and re-download your applications (if you already purchased or downloaded them).
Best of Luck – and enjoy your great new WP7 – I love mine.
DRM Raises it’s ugly head again. Yet another reason I’ll not be replacing my aging cell with a Windows Phone 7 device. frigging waste of money. This is like permanently altering a CD so it only plays in this windows phone 7 device. How many of you would put your CD in? How many of you will be filing a tort claim against M$ for destroying your $50 SD card?
$10 says that a new app for Windows 7 desktop will come out in a few months that will allow limited access to the SD card, but only for M$ certified cards.
How is this not anti-competitive? Didn’t we already spank them once for shit like this? AG. are you listening?
I bought the Focus day one with a 3rd party microSD ready to install knowing full well it would not be usable again for another purpose. To me, this is a middle of the road answer to the iPhone storage problem. People who want more can get more, people who don’t, don’t have to.
How is this not anti-competitive? Well, for starters, a good crop of the AT&T cards wouldn’t work on day one. My 3rd party one worked like a champ.
Also, as to filing the Tort, I think that’s probably something that wouldn’t fly too well against Microsoft, since the support for expansion is on the service providers. If you didn’t know it was going to hose your card (apart from phone use), it would be pretty safe to say you weren’t competent to install it in the first place. This isn’t something new, literally every report about the expansion slots in these phones has said that exact thing. Now, if your carrier did the install and didn’t tell you, then you might have a suit… against the carrier.
As was pointed out earlier, some of this may have something to do with the evil which is the “secure”in secure digital. It is amusing that comments go against Microsoft for not joining the SD bandwagon, but seemingly have no problem with the SD folks stealing capacity from MMC cards for the purpose of providing less flexibility in their use.
Is there a microMMC out there?
Secure Digital protects your files about as much as the Patriot Act protects your liberty.
Beside the topic, but:
“Samsung have …”
“Microsoft too has …”
Way to be consistent. A company is singular, by the way, so the second one is grammatically correct.
People should really read the instructions before they make assumptions… really… it’s that tiny stack of paper with black letters on white background.
Yeah I know it’s SOOOO low-tech…
LAME! I love that I can take my SD card out of my Android phone and grab data from any system without installing bloatware or drivers. Support it completely like Android or not at all like iOS this is going to frustrate a lot of ignorant WP7 users!
I’m sure they’ll be a format tool released that will allow Windows terror ware to be reversed, but what a pain.
@Lulu – Microsoft is a long time epidemy in the computer history, needed to be completely erradicated
@Bobby Cannon (the Astroturfer): Man, really, its just so damn obvious at this point
I don’t give a damn about implementation requirements, standards or microsofts’s design specifications. As I user I care about what fits my patterns of use. As such, I would like to be able to take the card out and transfer files from it to any other device and vice versa. I can do so on ANY OTHER DAMN phone. This is simply laughable. Oh and you see, I may have been more understanding if this particular peculiarity provided NOTICEABLE improvement in performance over other devices – it doesn’t. So until Microsoft learns how to design products RIGHT, I will personally stick with my Android devices and recommend everyone else does to.
@User Centic – Why you so upset? Just don’t use the phone and stay in your happy Android world. I would think you would be happier if your world (Android) was as great as you say.
Calm down, it’s just a phone. LOL
If they don’t want the extra memory removed they should sell it built in, and don’t provide removable as an option( as it defeats the purpose of removable), that is one of the reasons I don’t like IPhones
Why waste your time and money with MS phones? when you can have a real powerful phone like a Droid based one .
Does anyone else here think bobby cannon is having a bad day? Bobby why don’t you just admit its a crappy design? Everybody knows it is not required to use external memory as internal memory. It’s some kind of justification for a speed boost?.. Well.. that just tells everyone Windows Phone 7 is slower by comparison. Why on earth would one need a speed boost from utilizing the sd card? Is the OS really that shit? Everyone else can make a decent speed OS just fine without breaking the storage media.
Its Ok bobby microsoft make mistakes. Sooner or later MS will probably admit to this being a bad design choice. On that day you will be off-side with microsoft. you might as well just have some balls and admit the sillyness of the situation before even MS decides to forget who you are to save their reputation.
Weird. Reading all these comments Bobby’s little rants seem to stand out in Red. Astroturfers certainly are losing their skill.
The idea Bobby, is to lead with a “Yeah, you’re right, seemingly agree with the arguments, then introduce the positive “no, actually, it’s ok because” arguments.
I guess it’s no surprise really. With MS’s products out of favour, their stock in the toilet and the average intelligence of the Windows using public only one of two logical conclusions can be drawn:
1. MS can’ no longer afford to pay intelligent people with a decent command of communication enough money to post the crap they want the world to believe or
2. You’re doing it for free but your intellect is just letting MS down.
If 1, Resign, you’re not good at it. Find something enjoyable that doesn’t eat your soul.
If 2, close your mouth, you’re not helping MS at all by opening it.
Every day you see this on every forum. It’s so tired. The really funny thing is, no corporations exist that back Linux to the point of cash for comment, Google included. The people that espouse the virtues of Android are actually doing it *because* it’s a great product!
Imagine that. People being happy with a product instead of them having to be told to be happy with it. What a novel ideal.
The business model of old has changed, no-one is gullible enough any more to accept that just because they are told something is good then it actually will be. That process only ever worked with implicit trust of the entity espousing such crap and no-one trusts MS any more. Hence the need to rely on random web posting as a form of advertising from people like you. Funny that MS’s image is now so tainted by their dishonesty and poor product that we can only rely on the experience of one or two lonely incomprehensible voices in the midst of true satisfaction as to the virtues of this great new MS triumph.
MS’s marketing model is broken, it worked then, it doesn’t now. My truest hope is that they keep on just the way they are, incapable of change. Years out of date. With people employed to instead of just look stupid, prefer to open their mouths and confirm it.
@Homer – LOL, I actually never speak like this because it’s just a flame war. Seriously if you see me on other forums or blogs I never communicate in a “fighting” manner. Something about this site makes me want to poke and prod to see how upset I can make people.
However I do stand by my points and they are valid. Just because you don’t agree doesn’t mean I’m wrong. :)
Bobby, you’re right that just because we don’t agree doesn’t mean you’re wrong. The fact that locking the microSD card to the OS means you’re wrong. There’s simply no reason to do things that way when just using the card as all other OS manufacturers use it makes things better for the end user.
I don’t have bad days. Some are not as good as others but never bad days. Why would you think that?
It appears that the Microsoft Guy is saying that the Memory Card will become part of the Operating System
In Other Words, no longer “External” Storage.
workable… especially considering that most phones come with a USB Sync cable. About the only thing that you “loose” is the ability to move the memory card to an equipped printer and print directly… but then again, USB cables get around that.
I have seen this problem personally. This is true. I used my 2 micro sd cards in windows phone and none of them are working with any other micro sd card reader/ phone.
non of the device can detect it.
Please help me if there is any way to format it back.