Making an SD Card as Permanent Storage in Windows 10

I am using a laptop which only has 32GB for its main storage. Unfortunately, this becomes full quickly if I will be installing a lot of programs and add some cloud storage to it.

Fortunately, the computer has a microSD Card slot which I can use to expand my storage, but I could not install programs or put my cloud storage directory to it since it is not recognized as a Permanent Storage by Windows.

The microSD Card slot on my laptop

Do not worry, though, there is actually a way to make the Windows see your SD Card as a Permanent Storage. Below are the steps that you need to do.

Note: This tutorial would also work on Windows Tablet who also has the same problems as I have.

1. Make sure that your SD Card is formatted to NTFS

To be able to mount the SD Card as a Permanent Storage it must be formatted to the same file system as your computer’s main storage file system. For Windows 10 case the main file system is NTFS.

Usually SD Cards are formatted in FAT32 but let us check first.

Insert your SD Card on your computer.

Open a File Explorer and navigate to This PC.

Right Click on the SD Card Drive and then press Properties.

Check the File System on the Properties window.

If the File System of your SD Card is NTFS, then you can jump to Step 3. You no longer have to do Step 2.

If the File System of your SD Card is other than NTFS (i.e. FAT32) then you would need to do Step 2.

2. Format the SD Card to NTFS

Warning: This step would remove all the files in your SD Card. Be sure to back-up before doing this step.

Right Click again on your SD Card Drive then click Format…

On the next window select the File System to be NTFS.

You can leave all other properties as they are. Personally I leave the Volume Label blank and the Quick Format checked.

Then the Formatter would warn you that it would delete all files. If you are okay with this, then press OK.

This will start the formatting process and when it is finished then another Window will pop-up and tell you that the Format is completed.

3. Create a Folder in your Main Drive

Open a File Explorer and go to C:. Then create a folder named SD Card.

4. Mount the SD Card to the folder that we created in C:

Press the Window Key and search for Disk Management.

Click on the Create and format hard disk partitions. This will open the Disk Management window.

Search for the Drive of your SD Card. This is listed as Removable.

Right Click on the Drive of your SD Card then click Change Drive Letter and Paths…

Click Add.

Click on Browse.

Then search for the folder that you have made (C:\SD Card). Select the folder then press OK.

You will now see that the folder that you created will be on the Mount Path. Press OK.

You may now close the Disk Management window.

5. Checking if the SD Card is mounted properly

Go to the C: Folder and you will see that the icon for the SD Card folder is no longer the Folder Icon but it looks like an icon that says SD.

When you go inside the SD Card folder you will see that you are inside your SD Card but instead of it having a path different to C:, it is now mounted as a C:\SD Card.

You may now set a path for software installation to C:\SD Card or point a Dropbox folder to sync to the same path.

78 thoughts on “Making an SD Card as Permanent Storage in Windows 10”

  1. i was searching for 10 days and i cant get it that how to change external memory into internal memory and now i have got it from here

      1. this is a long while after but it wont it wont let me Change Drive Letter and Paths when i right click on the Disk 1 Removable thing on the Disk Management Window.

      2. hey um i finished every thing then when i went to check the file ya it was there the icon was good but when i went into it there was nothing there. there probably should be nothing but i dont know now what to do because i tryed downloading oculus app and it said it needed 15 GB but all my space was full but as i did u know i did the sd card thing and it still does not work.

  2. Does this help/solve the lack of hd space for Windows major updates on 32gb laptop with win10 do you know??

    1. Indirectly yes if you move your installation and big files to the SD Card. But it would be best to delete the previous installation of Windows which is being held by Windows on your 32GB drive if you do not delete it.

      1. I did all the steps but the icon wasn’t the same as yours. It had an icon that looked like a disk instead of what you have.

  3. I have successfully mounted my SD card in drive c but the space of my local disk has not been affected, can I now cut the program files and past it in mounted SD card to free the local disk space without it affecting the PC?

    1. Hey Rich, making an SD Card permanent storage on your windows computer will not make the local disk (C:) increase the size. But you have to point the file path to where you mounted the SD Card, if you put a file here the SD Card drive will be affected not the local disk. But in terms of file path Windows System will think that you placed it inside your local disk.

      1. How do you actually ” point the path to where you mounted the SD card”??? What does it even mean? Can you please say it in a lay English? After I did all these steps and see my card mounted, what do I need to do next to be able to use my new 238 GB SD card for storage as I have no storage space left available? I would appreciate your reply

        1. You can
          1) move any files to C:\SD Card\your\favourite\path and they will be occupy space on SD and not on internal but will look like they are on C:\
          2) Install new programs here (instead of C:\Program FIles)
          3) move currently installed programs there. It’s a bit tricky – you can’t just cut and paste. Modern UWP apps from microsoft store could be relocated from settings and all legacy programs (e.g. installed from some installer.exe) usually can only be uninstalled and installed again. Sometimes the uninstaller/installer have a feature to move them.

          1. Hi Kaf, it depends really on how the installation is done per program.

            Usually, on the starting part of the installation wizard it will ask you where you want to install your program (Installation Path). Point it to C:\SD Card\{FolderName}.

          2. hey question for anyone that knows, ive done above no problem , icon is differernt though and hardware says not sharing should i set to sharing?

      2. hey radish I tried what you said and it worked the only problem is when I tried downloading halo mcc on steam it would say that my sd card has 0 bytes

  4. Great help. Thanks!

    I wonder if you might know of a solution to this…

    I just got a 2 n 1 convertible Windows 10 laptop from Lenovo with 128 GB of user ram. I did some research and found it has a Micro SD slot and will work with Micro SD cards as large as 512 GB, so I ordered one – which will not be here for 2 weeks.

    I had an unused 64 GB Micro SD card from my digital camcorder so intending temporary use only, plugged it in.

    I started downloading some Microsoft Store free Apps and demos. One demo, Fortezza Race driving demo needed 30 gigs to demo. I checked and had almost 62 gigs free unused on the Micro SD so decided to try it -and it started downloading in background, as I continued searching and installing several more free apps.

    Next day the driving racing sim program would not start. Closer inspection showed only 50 % downloaded. I found I could not restart the download to D:-SD card drive because insufficient free space now.

    File explorer showed nothing on the drive other than a new, huge 38GB windows reserved system file, that I never asked for.

    Finally my question..when my new SD card arrives, how do I tell windows to take off the extra system file, that it put on my SD card-drive first, so that the operating system and file system are not corrupted?


    1. You can remove the path that you made for the SD Card. Then I think it would be better to format your SD Card then insert it again to make the unaccessible storage accessible again.

  5. Thank you so much! I had tried the mklink several times and it didn’t work. This worked perfectly and your step by step instructions were flawless.

    1. What kind of card do you recommend using for this? I don’t know if I should go with a high endurance one or a high speed one.

  6. Thanks so much for this! Great explanation. I have a small laptop with a 32G hard drive which has a keyboard that I love, your clear instructions really helped me make it workable again!

    1. Hi, any chance you can reverse this? Mine worked fine but suddenly stopped and now the Micro sd card doesn’t show in file Explorer. In disk management it shows as read only primary partition. I cant access any files/data on there.😭

  7. Hi I get this message: This folder is on a device that does not have enough free space. Even though the SD card is empty and 128GB and the dropbox only contains 20GB data

  8. In your previous reply to someone else, you said that you could move windows to the SD card. I have tried to install Windows on the SD card but was unable to do so. Can you explain how to do it?

  9. To – Radishlogic

    Regarding what Rich was talking about:

    “I have successfully mounted my SD card in drive c but the space of my local disk has not been affected, can I now cut the program files and past it in mounted SD card to free the local disk space without it affecting the PC?”

    Isn’t the point of having your computer see the SD card as permanent storage is such that your computer actually “sees” your main or any actual permanent storage drives as having increased disk space? I did in fact try out Radishlogic’s prescribed method with no complications. But, I’m just having difficulty understanding what advantages one would have to successfully completing this process. If it’s so that one can install programs and what not aside from just standard data, then you may just want to sidestep a computer with a hard drive (SATA or SSD) with less than 250 GB of storage. And I’ll tell you why, I have been trying to fix this problem of low disk space for almost a year now. I’ve done a lot of research. Even if the redirected path to the C:/ drive now allows for programs to be installed on it, I believe there’s going to be quite a few problems. And that’s if one intends on just gaining the functionality of a still completely stable Windows 10 OS that can make limited use of your SD card as a semi partition to your main drive.

    I tried installing a number of different programs to test out my SD card many months ago without altering really anything but the desktop wallpaper and ran into one issue after another. – Reinstall/uninstall problems, shortcuts problems so on and so forth. Then I tried switching up registry settings and values. You know how they tell you don’t mess with the registry unless you are certain you know what you’re doing; it’s a good rule to follow for sure.

    It seems like computer manufacturers just don’t seem to get it or maybe it’s Microsoft, but we just want a computer that does what we need, right? It doesn’t seem that difficult to just have the architecture of the OS setup to where a non permanent or “media” storage could just be used as the same thing as permanent storage or for that matter just merge the two (permanent and media storage drives) like two partitions made into one that are on the same drive. Anyways, I’m sure it’s something to do with the BIOS. In addition, my post is not intended to scare people away from trying to fix this particular issue or contend it can’t be fixed; it just doesn’t seem like what you’re paying for here is what you’re getting in the article, so to speak to me…..

  10. I followed your instructions (great Job btw) but when I go to tell the laptop where to send the down loads to I only have the two original options (PC or SD) I do not see the new thing I created (computer illiterate) im not sure if this process is what I need. Objective: Im trying to download a game onto my lap top but neither the SD card or the PC’s memory is large enough to download it. I was wondering if I could trick the laptop into seeing both the PC and SD card as one storage unit. Any help with this would be very much appreciated as I really don’t know what im doing. I am currently on a HP Stream with windows 10. Thankyou

    1. Hi Dalton, in your case neither the SD Card or the PC’s memory is large enough to download the software, the only solution is to get a bigger SD Card or to upgrade to a larger volume.

      SD Card + PC Storage cannot be done. Or it can be done, I have not yet discovered how to do this.

  11. Is it worth doing this if I wanto to use the pc hard drive for windows and any software and the sd just for personal data storage? What’s the advantage over using the sd “normally”? If I do this, will my data be protected if someone stole my sd?

  12. Something is apparently amiss. I actually used these instruction when I first got my SP 6 and they worked great. I was able to point to the Dropbox folder on my SD card (in my case d:\dropbox) without a problem. Had a failure on C drive recently and reinstalled from a recent image backup. However I had to reinstall dropbox and of course it put the dropbox folder in the user account. So I proceeded to do the same thing as before but now if I try to move the dropbox folder to the d:\dropbox I get the message that it can’t be done because it is a removable drive. For info my sd card has 3 partitions on it but that worked just fine last time. Any thoughts on problem? Thanks.

      1. Great. Got it working now. Thanks.
        One other question – c:\sd card shows it is occupied by the same number of bytes as my d:\dropbox folder – these are not actually taking up space on the c: drive, correct? Just “pointer”?

        Thanks again for the help.

        1. Yes. You are correct.

          C:\SDCard\dropbox is only pointing to D:\dropbox. That is why they have the same number of bytes.

          It is not taking up space on your C Drive.

          You can test by putting a file around 10MB on C:\SDCard\dropbox and check the changes on your C and D Drive.

  13. On step 4 I could not “Change Drive Letter & Paths.” I’ve tried multiple solutions I found on google but none seem to help. I keep getting this message:
    “The operation failed to complete because the Disk Management console view is not up-to-date. Refresh the view by using the refresh task. If the problem persists close the Disk Management console, then restart Disk Management or restart the computer.”

    I’ve done all of that. Help, please.

  14. Many thanks. Very clear instructions and it appears to work but as someone else mentioned, the real problem is that there is not enough storage on the machine. Why HP ever marketed such a limited product, heaven only knows.

  15. i have a question maybe similar about this topic,
    how i can change an SDcard from SDcard reader slot on laptop to be aside of C: drive just like Windows Tablet/2in1 just like yours, but this question is different.. its for drive that placed in removable disk section below

  16. I have a windows 16 gb rom tab which has 1 usb port and 1 sd card port with, now i want to update the windows software which i have’nt since 2018, but it says it needs more 1.57 GB of memory on the C drive.
    1. I have added a pen drive to act as external storage
    2. I have also added an sd card as internal memory(it is a success)
    3. I have nothin installed on the Tablet
    to overcome the 1.57GB requirement but no go.
    Any ideas will be appreciated.

  17. I have an Inspiron 11-3168 That had a tiny 32GB drive. I bought it in 2018 for my wife to surf the internet. Unfortunately, the drive is so small that I was unable to update Windows 10 and it was so slow and would constantly freeze up. I bought a 128 GB micro SD, hoping that would solve the problem but it didn’t. So the laptop sat on the shelf until a few days ago. I tried unsuccessfully to update Windows 10 to build 1903 due to inadequate memory. Thank God for google search which is how I came across your article. I went through the steps but was still unable to complete the update. I decided to restart the computer and that’s when the SD was recognized as additional fixed storage. I was then able to update Windows 10 to the latest update. The temp folder created by the update resides on the SD which is proof that your article worked. Thank you very much.

  18. I did the instructions exactly as instructed. So I installed a game from riot games called valorant. Its strictly online pvp. The game wont start up when I try to play. Anyway to fix this problem?

  19. I have 50gb data on my exFAT micro sd card. So I skipped formatting the card to NTFS and went ahead to mount it per your instructions. Everything looks alright so far.

  20. In my disk management the sd card after doing everything to make it perm stor it still shows it as removable is that ok? and when i went back in to check if it did as you said it would with
    “change drive letter and paths” it shows windows (c:)\SD Card which I guess is right but it gives the option to remove drive letter. would removing E: hurt or harm anything? and how would I go about moving files off C: to E: to make more room? would I just basically “cut and paste”? oh and after doing as you said under “this pc” it still shows the sd card as if i did nothing to it. is that ok?

  21. Is anyone monitoring this discussion? i obviously didn’t do my homework because i bought 1000 gb sd card thinking i could clone the laptop’s drive onto it… i haven’t been able to. i find this article and it explains why. so now, i’m game to add it to the laptop’s storage but when i get to the drive name, i hesitated because this drive has C: & D: with D: being the backup/restore sector…. and E: is the DVD. so i’m thinkng that F: would suffice, but i wanted to make sure before i took the plunge. i’ve screwed too many things up by leaping without looking first… many thanks…

  22. Hi, I did this thinking it would mean that things deleted from the SD card would go to the recycle bin, but this is not the case. Any help?

  23. Hi! What to do if the SD card was not mounted properly? The blue SD icon did not show in C, and the icon is just a plain grey icon instead, what should I do?

  24. This is an excellent thread Raddish Logic and thanks so much for posting.
    Just curious:
    Assuming we install new programs / games on the now internalised SD Card, what happens to the Read/Write Speed? Does it stay at the average SD Card speed when it was still acting as a Removable or does it become faster as it is now incorporated as internal memory? Cos an SSD internal is around 400 to 500 MBS while SD cards are around 80 MBS.
    Thanks in advance.

  25. Thanks for trying……as usual with these step-by-step tutorials, there usually seems to be a step that the lesson seems to fast-forward over, leaving me unable to get any further……in this case it was the bit where I got as far as locating the SD in removable disc section, but the next image in your image had the instruction to right click on that box to open the options from the pop-upo screen *Change Drive Letter* was what got me, as nothing I tried would make that pop-up option visible on screen, still, that’s nearly to the end of Chapter 4, so thanks for the intro, I will attempt to find a You Tube vid to go further.

  26. Hello,i have done all the above so when windows updates will they divert to the c/sd folder or do i need to change anything else?as at the end you say you can now set a path for software but you do not say how???(You may now set a path for software installation to C:\SD Card or point a Dropbox folder to sync to the same path.)

  27. I just mounted a Micro SD card into my little Asus 11.6 laptop.
    It only came w/ 64 gb of storage. It still has that plus now another 256gb.
    Also, on this computer, the drive doesn’t stick out except for about 1 mm so it should hold up well. Can’t say the same for my new 2-in-one Dell. It takes a full size SD and sticks out about half way, so I have to take it out when not in use.
    Thanks for your detailed help! Awesome.

  28. I have done all this, but still can’t move apps so no space is freed up on the C drive. So I don’t understand what different has all these steps made to my storage.

  29. i have an acer one 10 s1002 which has a 28.5GB ROM which currently runs on windows 10
    i am looking forward to follow this method but i have some questions
    1.will my user account get corrupted
    2.will my OS get corrupted
    3.will my acer (C:) show the total add space ,for example if i have a hardrive of 32GB and insert a SD of 128GB ………..will it show 160GB on the acer(C:) or will it just show 32GB. to create paths from the C Drive to the SD card if it was a apps from the microsoft store.
    5.can i even run windows 10 from a 32GB memory without any games.

    i hope radish gives me an answer so that i can make a move .
    Thankyou (anyone who will help me in the near future)

  30. Not quite. I need to set the flag ON THE CARD to set it as a “fixed disk”. Went through the trouble of booting to my rarely-used MSWin10 partition just to run the ATCFWCHG.COM utility, which won’t run under MSWin10. Thought there might be a way to set it within MSWin, but that’s not the case either. Might as well find a hack for within Linux (maybe DOSbox) to set it, since MSW10 is as useless as ever.

  31. who’s here in the year 2022 and it’s still working? very helpful and risky. hope it won’t damage my original OS. thanks!

  32. god, this has helped me so much. Thank you, I’ve been spending days searching for a solution that actually works. Thanks

  33. This really helped do much, I am currently installing a soft ware on the SD card partition, it’s going just fine, I believe but will finish fine thank you

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