Formatting Previously Partitioned SD cards with non-windows partitions in Windows

When I used to play around with my T-Mobile G1 (HTC DREAM),  the amazing hackers at XDA Developers worked around the storage limitations of the G1 by moving the apps to the SD card. However, this required you to partition your SD card. One partition was Fat32 (which windows recognizes), and the other was EXT3.

I now have a Nexus One which natively does APPS2SD without partitions. I wanted to get the partitioned space back, but since Windows doesn’t recognize EXT3, this seemed like an impasse without access to a Linux machine.

Luckily there is a simple but difficult-to-find native method in Windows to repartition the SD card into one large FAT32 partition (just like when it was new!).

Follow the steps to regain all your storage space:

  1. Plug your phone into the Windows machine with the SD card in the phone.
  2. Mount the storage. At this point you will only see the FAT32 partition.
  3. Open up Windows Explorer.
  4. Copy all your files from the mounted SD CARD to your windows machine for backup. 
  5. The following steps will WIPE YOUR SDCARD clean.
  6. Right-click on ‘My Computer
  7. Select ‘Manage‘ from the contextual menu
  8. In the left side navigation panel, under ‘Storage‘, select ‘Disk Management
  9. You will now see both partitions of your SD card, and your hard-drive.
  11. Right click on the SD partition and select ‘Delete All the Partitions
  12. Once that’s done, right click on ‘Unallocated space‘.
  13. Select ‘Create New Volume‘.
  14. Enter the max size (most machines will predetermine this for you)
  15. Click OK
  16. Allow some time for the machine format the SD card.
  17. Copy all your backup files back to the SD Card.
  18. Congrats, you have your whole SD card back!

Comments 1

  1. smart phone wrote:

    This blog does not show up properly on my iphone 3gs – you might want to try and repair that

    Posted 29 Mar 2013 at 4:06 am

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