MicroSD Card

How To: Add a MicroSD Card to Surface Tablets


If you’ve been running out of space on your Surface tablet and are wondering how to get more, this is the page you need to read.This walk-through will help you expand the available space on your Surface to store your pictures, music, or other files by adding a microSD card.

Since microSD Cards can be swapped, it allows for almost limitless storage to be available to store files. But, before you purchase and install a new microSD card in your Surface, you should know that apps from the Windows Store won’t use external storage by default which means there will still be a limit to the number of Windows Store applications you can have installed at any one time.

This is because Microsoft manages the application storage space and it won’t use the MicroSD card for apps. However, assuming you’re running Windows 8.1 (and if you’re not you should upgrade immediately), your Surface should see and use the card for things like music, pictures and videos.

It won’t automatically move existing files to the microSD card but, it you can set it up to start putting new files of those type on it and you can manually copy your existing files over as well.

In addition, it is possible to encrypt your microSD card so, if you store anything on it and someone steals the card, they won’t be able to access it. Nice, huh?

OK, let’s get started by physically adding the microSD card to your Surface tablet…

Add MicroSD Card to Surface Tablets: Install the SD Card

First thing we need to do is physically install the microSD card.  I’m personally using a SanDisk Ultra 64GB MicroSDXC card. It’s only about $35 with tax/shipping from Amazon and lets me double the available space on a Surface 3 64GB. The installation will vary a little bit depending on what model Surface tablet you have. I broke it down for you below.

  • Make sure your Surface is powered off
  • If you have a Surface RT, Surface 2, Surface 3 or Surface Pro 3: Flip open the kickstand on the back of the tablet and find the microSD card slot
  • If you have a Surface Pro or Surface Pro 2: Find the SD card slot along the right side of the device (when looking at the screen)
  • Slide the card into the slot (look at the pic below for facing). If it won’t go in easily, don’t force it just make sure the card isn’t upside down.
  • Use your fingernail (or another long thin object) to gently push the card in until it stops and clicks into place

Here’s an illustration showing where the microSD card slot is located on the various Surface tablet models. You can click on it for a larger version.

How To Add a MicroSD Card to Surface Tablets

Easy enough, right?

At this point, you should be able to turn on your Surface and see the new drive in Windows Explorer.

Add MicroSD Card to Surface Tablets: Changing Default Location for Music, Videos, and Pictures

As we mentioned before, you can (optionally) set your Surface to store music, videos, and/ or pictures to be stored on the microSD card by default. We’ll do this by changing the location for those libraries to the microSD card. To get that setup, do the following:

  • Bring up the Charms Menu and go to Settings
  • Tap on Change PC Settings (at the bottom of the screen)
  • Select PC and Devices

Add a Micro SD Card to Surface Tablets

  • Select Devices

Add a Micro SD Card to Surface Tablets

  • Scroll down to the Default save locations section.
  • Tap the Set Up button. You’ll get the following popup

Add a Micro SD Card to Surface Tablets If you want to have, for example, only music files saved to the microSD card but pictures and videos still saved to the internal hard drive on your Surface, you can do that easily. Just make sure only the Music check box is checked (as in the example) then tap OK.

The same procedure works for pictures and videos or combination of the three. If you want your existing files to be moved to the microSD card, you’ll have to go in and manually move them to the new library location.

Hopefully, this page has covered your questions about adding a microSD card to Surface tablets but, if you have a question that falls outside of what I covered, please leave a comment and I’ll do what I can to update the instructions.


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