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Thread: SD Card Format

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    Tablet SD Card Format

    I have a Microsoft Surface Pro 3 and it has a built in micro-SD card for additional storage. I know that a SDXC card is not as fast as a flash memory USB device or even an external USB(3) HDD, but it's OK for storage of stuff I'm not accessing all the time.

    By default, the SDXC cards are formatted as exFAT, but I know that NTFS can be faster for some things - assuming the card is only going to be used in a Windows computer. But it's tough to tell from the numbers (which are fairly close) if there's any real benefit for NTFS over exFAT.

    I do know that the way NTFS lazy writes isn't such a good idea on a stick that is going to be routinely removed, but this is more or less permanent so that doesn't matter.

    Anyone have any knowledge to share on this?
    Last edited by gsmith-plm; 2016-01-22 at 17:22.
    Graham Smith
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    I have a Dell Venue 8 with Upgraded to Win10 using a 63GB MicroSD card for storage and it is formatted as exFAT, so far no problem. If putting the MicroSD card in an appropriate reader on Win7 it will warn that the card is Unformatted. My solution is to leave the card alone and use an OTG/OnTheGo adapter in the little USB slot to transfer data to a standard USB Thumb drive. Or to simply transfer to a NAS on my Network. The main thing I need NTFS for is storing large files, FAT32 has a limit of 4GB minus a Byte or 2 Bytes. Also a limit on versions of Windows is 32GB for FAT32 but I use GPARTED to create and format larger FAT32 partitions.
    http://www.ntfs.com/ntfs_vs_fat.htm

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    I know both exFAT and NTFS will work as will FAT32 for a card that's small enough. I'm just not clear on whether there is an advantage to using NTFS if the card will be left in and used like a second drive. I suspect that there isn't (at least there aren't a bunch of interweb sites telling me NTFS is better or worse).
    Graham Smith
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    Super Moderator CLiNT's Avatar
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    NTFS has a bit more overhead (takes up more space), but is somewhat more secure and less error prone than FAT.
    Not sure about speed though, FAT may be faster, maybe.
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    Good discuusion of the pros and cons of the two formats on an SD Card:
    http://www.howtogeek.com/177529/htg-...stead-of-ntfs/

    Jerry

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    Quote Originally Posted by jwitalka View Post
    Good discuusion of the pros and cons of the two formats on an SD Card:
    Not really interested in FAT32. I'm looking for the practical differences between the newer exFAT and NTFS
    Graham Smith
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    Wikipedia has some info but I did not see any clear cut speed claims, just some +s & -s.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ExFAT
    PS
    If you are only using Windows exFat seems fine.
    David

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    What I seem to be finding is that information seems to be focused on an SD card as a removable device as opposed to a (semi-)permanent part of the computer.

    One thing I have discovered is that an exFAT SD card cannot be backed up using Macrium. I'm not sure if changing it to NTFS would make a difference, but I'm going to test it out.
    Graham Smith
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    Quote Originally Posted by gsmith-plm View Post
    One thing I have discovered is that an exFAT SD card cannot be backed up using Macrium. I'm not sure if changing it to NTFS would make a difference, but I'm going to test it out.
    I guess that figures, exFAT being a MS proprietary filesystem. I would be interested in your results.
    David

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    Well, format doesn't seem to matter to Macrium or Windows. The micro-SD port on a Surface Pro 3 is still seen as a removable drive and the free version of Macrium won't back it up. I have a license for a full version somewhere and I need to check to see if that makes a difference.
    Graham Smith
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    Super Moderator CLiNT's Avatar
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    I would avoid image backup to an SD card;

    1. too small
    2. too slow
    3. too error prone.

    What they are good for, and what they are meant for, is low level USB thumb drive usages or as camera memory cards
    for easy transfer to a laptop or other small device, like a Surface tablet, from your digital camera.

    If you intend to perform image based backups on the surface, get a USB3 external drive for that purpose.
    If you do not have an immediate use for the SD card, put it away in a drawer somewhere until you do.
    Last edited by CLiNT; 2016-01-24 at 20:24.
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    Quote Originally Posted by CLiNT View Post
    I would avoid image backup to an SD card;
    Well, first off, I was commenting that Macrium would not backup the contents of the micro-SD card that is the D:\ drive on my Surface Pro 3 (SP3) rather than backing up TO an SD card.

    Second, the SD card in my SP3 is a 128GB SDXC (633x), which is the same size as the SSD and is quite fast enough to use for creating a backup which can later be transferred to a better location.
    Graham Smith
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fascist Nation View Post
    You know Graham, you should write to MR. This is relatively unique but you present the case that SD drives (and maybe other formats) are so big nowadays that discriminating against them (non-ATA interface?) makes no business sense.
    I am checking into it, but I think it has to do with the fact that MR and other backup software uses shadow copy (VSS) and I'm not sure that works with removable drives.
    Graham Smith
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    edit: Sorry Graham, I deleted the post and rewrote it after thinking about it more. To be quite honest I cannot think of a good reason why it should not work. So that is why the quote has disappeared, I was hoping to change it before you noticed and responded.

    This is a really interesting issue. Is there a difference between NTFS on a HDD/SSD and an SD drive? Is that even the problem? I think this may receive a more informed answer on the MR Forum if the makers choose to respond. Let us know what you discover was the issue.
    http://forum.macrium.com/Default.aspx
    Last edited by Fascist Nation; 2016-01-25 at 11:24.

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