Prepare SDXC (ExFat) for use with the iPod

Prepare SDXC (ExFat) for use with the iPod

*** IMPORTANT – This article is up as an reference, first install and restore the iPod, if you have problems then attempt these instructions ***

Introduction

Some of the factory fresh ExFAT formatted SDXC cards cause problems in the iPod, I have not been able to determine the exact cause but I suspect the iTunes restore process does not write a fresh MBR (Master Boot Record) nor does it create a new partition table – just modifies the existing table.

This only applies to SDXC cards 64Gb and above in capacity, as these are the cards which are ExFAT formatted by default.

The symptoms tend to be slow music transfer, odd syncing errors, song skipping and iPod freezing up.

I have created a walk through on how to get the SDXC card in to a known good state before installing and restoring the iPod.

Preparation

First you need to get a partition manager software, I use the free AOMEI Partition Assistant, download here!! but only for Windows PC’s, for MAC users any of the popular partition software on MacOS will work. The steps will be slightly different, but the process and concepts should be similar.

You will need a CF card reader, you can also use a SDXC card reader. If you are going to use a SD card reader make sure it is SDXC compatible as you can damage the SDXC card – normal SD or SDHC card readers will not work with SDXC cards.

Steps

IMPORTANT: Make sure that the drive you are modifying is the SDXC card and not another Hard Drive installed in your Computer, you have been warned. So before starting double check that you are working on the SDXC card – better safe than sorry!!

Install SDXC card in to SD-CF Adapter, and place it in the CF card reader. In the example below I am using a 256Gb SDXC – It is shown as removeable in the drive list.

Start AOMEI.

In the main window, right click on the SDXC drive and select REBUILD MBR and confirm, leaving the default Windows 7/8. To commit the action you need to APPLY (Top Left Icon).

Rebuild MBR

Rebuild MBR

Apply Action to Commit

Apply Action to Commit

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Once that has finished, again right click on the SDXC card and select DELETE ALL PARTITIONS, and Apply to Commit – once that is finished the drive should be totally unallocated.

Delete All Partitions

Delete All Partitions

Unallocated Partition Table

Unallocated Partition Table

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now we can write a fresh FAT32 Partition. Once again right click on the SDXC card, select Create Partition. On the dialog window, click on Advanced and select SSD Parition Alignment – leave the default setting of Optimised. Apply to Commit.

Create Partition

Create Partition

Aligned FAT32 Partition

Aligned FAT32 Partition

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Once all the steps have been completed, your partition table should look like this :-

Finished Partition Table

Finished Partition Table

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now you can safely eject / remove the SD-CF Adapter from the CF card reader and install in your iPod, ready for the iTunes restore process.

225 thoughts on “Prepare SDXC (ExFat) for use with the iPod

  1. Cem Kaygi (Jim)

    I have a 30 Gig, 5G Classic Ipod. I installed the Solo card with a 256 Gig sd card. After installing the RockBox which is a very satisfactory setup, I can only transfer one file, (album) at atime. The Ipod locs up and I have to reset the Ipod, pressing Menu and Select while still connected to the computer via USB. Then I can transfer another file and do the same thing again. Where did I mess up?

  2. Peter

    – Replying to Lauren Glenn’s problem can I ask where you got your 1TB memory card from as unless the card is from a reputable seller and manufacturer then the card may, almost certainly will be a fake. I have a collection of cards that came on packaging that was indistinguishable from the genuine article but when checked on ‘h2testw’ (on high GB cards the test may not get all the way through but will be enough to check if the card is genuine) software you soon see if the card is real or has been electronically altered to show the advertised GB amount. If your’re lucky you might get a 16 or 32 GB card yet when you format the card a 512 GB will often show up as 480 – 490 GB. This is also a sign of a fake because a genuine 1 TB card would give around 930ish GB so a 512 GB card would be half that at 465 – 470 GB. Groupon has a 1 TB card for sale for £13.00 so I though I’ll give it a try because I can always get a refund if it’s fake so I purchased 2 and both were 32 GB cards electronically manipulated. I eventually managed to get both refunded but had to send the cards back and they tried to get away with just refunding for 1 but I’ve fought enough battles on eBay to obtain refunds for fake cards and never lost yet. I complained to Groupon suggesting that they stop selling the fakes and pointed out how ridiculous it was sending back fake cards to a seller who will only sell them on and dupe some other poor buyer and I suspect ther rely on the fact that many wouldn’t be bothered to try and get a refund for ‘only’ £13.00 pus P & P. If you do have a genuine card then I would do all the methods of reformatting and checking the card that are suggested via sites mentioned on Google and if there is still an issue then get in touch with the card manufacturer as the card could be faulty. It can be a fiddly process but worth it.

    1. Lauren Glenn

      I see the problem… you think I don’t know anything about micro SD cards and would think I could buy a 1TB for $25.

      No, the card is real. I’ve been using it in my Surface Pro 6 without incident. What you’re talking about is having a lower capacity card that’s faked to look larger. This one works just fine on a PC without data loss. This card when plugged into the board causes the total storage of the whole board to report incorrectly as if it can’t handle a 1TB card.

      This card was bought on Amazon. And yes, I’ve cleared the partition table with DISKPART…. loaded in the iPod Classic and then it won’t see the storage once the card is put in. However, if I format as NTFS on a PC, it all works just fine. Even after loading hundreds of GB on it.

    2. Lauren Glenn

      Storage on the card is reported as 953GB

      Total size reports as 999,873,519 kB = 1,023,870,483,456 bytes

  3. Lauren Glenn

    Has anyone tried a 1TB micro SD card in an iFlash Quad? I put one in mine and I don’t know what the issue is but the drive would always report as 200GB regardless of the other cards on the board. I cleaned all the partitions with DISKPART and put them back in the iPod…. it still kept saying 200GB even if the total was < 2TB. After putting back in my 4x 512GB cards, it went back to normal.

    I noticed 1TB isn't on the compatibility list here, so I wonder if this is something that was fixed in a later revision or what. Windows 10 supposedly allows for 16TB on MBR with 4k sectors (which the iPod uses)…. but I couldn't even get the card to work yet.

  4. Olly

    Hi, thank you for the guide. After much trial and error I recently got my ipod to sync correctly to an SDXC 128gb. However once I started the ipod and selected a song, the ipod hung for ages and then crashed. Now the drive is corrupted, does anybody know anything to try here or is it likely something to do with the card? I figure if it was a sync error the the sync would have failed.
    Thank you

  5. Jason

    My iPod Classic 6th gen keeps getting corrupted when trying to import my library onto it. Loading a few songs works but trying to load a lot of songs causes it to become unreadable and requiring a new restore, thereby erasing all my music. I’m using a Samsung Evo 128GB micro SD card I got on eBay. Any ideas why this may be happening?

    1. Stephen Islip

      My experience was9 out of 10 sd cards bought from eBay we’re corrupt. If you ask for a refund they give you a refund without asking for it back . Because so many mugs do no find they are corrupt until the return period is over. A photographer advised me buy integral cards from Amazon where you can read customer reviews. I did that and got an excellent 512 go card

    2. Jason

      Thanks for the information. Unfortunately I bought this card a year ago and it’s not even showing up in my purchase history so a refund is a forgone conclusion. I always buy from American sellers and the thing came in Samsung packaging and it looks like a Samsung card but I wouldn’t doubt it’s a fake after hearing what I’ve heard about eBay cards.

    3. Support Post author

      @Jason – We always suggest running something like H2Testw on newly purchased SD cards, first it gives the card a good workout, but more importantly to confirm what you have is can store the actual stated capacity. We follow this advice regardless of where a card is bought.

      Fake cards sold on Amazon/Ebay/Etc are factory reject small capacity SD/SDHC cards normally 8GB,16GB,32GB cards which have been reprogrammed to appear as larger capacity cards, hence once you write beyond the original capacity you get corruption as the data is being written over areas already written to.

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