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.

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

  1. Earl

    I just received my Patriot LX Series 256GB High Speed SDXC Class 10 UHS-1 – Up to 70MB/sec Flash Card – PSF256GSDXC10 from Amazon and used one with iFlash Duo SD and I noticed the skipping and syncing problems. Then I think I should go on and try this method first to prepare the SDXC card before restoring… Will share and update again everybody soon as I’m done with the process.

  2. David

    Hi, sorry for the late reply. The iPod restored fine and sync worked fine. It will play OK for a while and then it will get to a song and display the details on the screen but not play anything. It will then skip to the next song and do the same thing. It may then play the next song OK or it might stop working and need to be reset.

  3. Support Post author

    @Paul – when you did the formatting in this article did AOMEI show 128Gb? did you reformat & rebuild the MBR? Finally check your card is actually 128Gb by running something like H2testw.

  4. Paul

    I’ve followed the above instructions to reformate a 128gb SDXC sandisk micro card. When I install in my ipod classic 5th gen 30gb model and reformate through itunes it only see’s 64gb, any ideas?

  5. Support Post author

    @ David – never heard of a PNY needing this – did restore go ok? and syncing ok? When you say freezing, what is exactly happening?

  6. David

    I have now installed the new PNY card an I am still seeing the skipping and freezing. Should I follow these instructions now or could it be a ribbon cable or other problem? If I have to open it again I would like to be fairly sure that it will work this time.

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