Expand Surface RT Storage

The recent price reduction on the Surface RT may have compelled you to pick one these up from the store. Personally, I’m a fan of the Surface. They’re great computers that also make excellent tablets. With the SkyDrive integration that Windows 8 has, even the 32gb version is quite capable, however if you prefer to carry around the bulk of your files locally (as I do), it’s nice to have more room for stuff (and disc caching) than what the default usable space allows. Fortunately, there’s an easy way to do this with an SD Card and NTFS trickery. For me, it was imperative that the Windows 8 media collections and associated apps work with my expanded storage with no fuss. Read on, because this is an easy upgrade.

The Surface RT has a Micro SD card slot (located underneath the kick stand plate on the lower right side of the case). I have a SanDisk Ultra 64 GB microSDXC Class 10 UHS-1 Memory Card in mine that I picked up from Amazon for this project, however any capacity card should fit.

Note: You should dedicate this SD card to your Surface, as after this procedure is done, removing the card will cause problems with using your Windows account.

Using desktop mode, open File Explorer.
Click Computer, and you should see your SD Card mounted as the D drive. If for some reason it’s not, remember the drive letter because it will be important later.
Format your SD Card as NTFS (but keep in mind that it will need to return to exFAT if you plan to move it to other non-Windows devices).
Close File Explorer.

Open a command prompt by typing “cmd” on the Start Screen. Choose “Run as administrator” by right clicking the Command Prompt icon and choosing that option from the menu below.
Run the following commands by typing them (and recall the drive letter for your SD card):

mkdir c:\SD
mkdir d:\Documents
mkdir d:\Music
mkdir d:\Photos
mkdir d:\Video

mklink /j c:\SD\Documents d:\Documents
mklink /j c:\SD\Music d:\Music
mklink /j c:\SD\Photos d:\Photos
mklink /j c:\SD\Video d:\Video

What we just did was create junction points from the C drive to the D drive. Whenever the computer accesses locations in c:\SD it will automatically be redirected to the SD card—which is good for us, since we want transparent redirection for our media libraries. These are not just shortcuts, they’re links are created at the file system level. This would be a good time to migrate your files from your existing Documents (and other) folders to the new ones created on the SD card.

There’s one last thing we’ll need to do, which is to tell windows to store files here by default.

In File Explorer, the left side of the window pane will have a folder tree called Libraries, containing additional folders named Documents, Music, Pictures, and Videos.
Right click the Documents folder and choose Properties from the menu.
Under Library locations, using the “Add…” button, add c:\SD\Documents (by browsing to the location) and click the “Include folder” button.
Select that folder and click the “Set save location” button. Optionally, remove the other entries so all documents are read exclusively from the SD card.
Repeat this task for the Music, Pictures, and Videos folders.

Now using the library locations will bring you to the SD Card instead of local storage, including most Windows 8 apps.


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