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.

29 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
    thankyou

  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.

  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.

  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?

    Thanks.

    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.

  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!

  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.

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