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

  1. Eric

    If I rebuild the MBR all that, will that pose any issues with the PNY? I can’t imagine why it wouldn’t.

  2. Eric

    @Tarkan – No, it’s not in a card reader, these are the messages I’ve been getting when I connect the ipod to the computer. I’ve yet to have a chance to open the ipod back up to retrieve the card. What happened was that it started skipping songs and wouldn’t play anything so I rebooted the ipod, then it gave me the “restore with itunes” message. I plugged the ipod into the computer and the computer asked to format the card, which I declined. Itunes says it can’t restore the ipod and gives error 1429. I looked at the ipod in AEOMI and it shows that there is only 32MB on the drive and that it needs formatting. I purchased the card yesterday and have had no problems until now. I synced over 200GB on it last night with no hiccups.

  3. Tarkan Post author

    @Eric – So the iPod just reset and booted in to the restore screen?? very strange.

    So you have the SD card in a SDXC card reader on your computer, and you are getting this recognized file system error?

  4. Eric

    Ok, at this point, the volume says that it “does not contain a recognized file system.”

  5. Eric

    Ok, so I tried restoring the ipod, but it won’t restore. I get error 1429. My computer also is asking if I want to format the card. Would it be best to prep the card via the instructions cited on this page?

  6. Eric

    Been running the 256GB PNY in my iPod classic 160 GB (Late 2009) for about 5 hours. Everything’s been going fine, until a couple of minutes ago when it stopped playing tracks. Now it says “Use itunes to Restore.” I had it loaded up with about 200GBs worth of music. Is this common?

  7. Eric

    @Tarkan,
    I had it flipped around like an idiot. Phew! It now works and I am beyond happy! Thanks for all your help!

  8. Tarkan Post author

    @Eric – the iFlash is installed the correct way? The Zif connector goes the opposite way to the original HDD.

  9. Eric

    Tarkan,
    Does this procedure need to be performed on a 256GB PNY? I saw in a different thread that you mentioned that the PNY didn’t need pre-formatting and I just wanted to confirm whether that is still the case. I have an iPod classic 160 GB (Late 2009) and I’m using your SD-CF Adapter.

    Thanks

  10. Miroslav

    Hi Tarkan / Guys,

    I have an iPod classic 6.5G with 160 GB HDD originally

    I have bought recently from you iFlash-SATA (mSata) Adapter. I am using it with Crucial mSATA Model M4-CT256M4SSD3. When formatted under iTunes –

    all goes fine and the drive is recognized as 128 GB.

    Problems come when I try to install EmCore r859. All works fine till I get to the “Formatting…” screen – it just takes forever. After I forcefully

    stop the formatting (waiting 8 hours for it) the iTunes restore procedure fails. Only wiping the whole mSATA in my laptop make the iTunes restore

    work fine. When executing the EmCore initial boot procedure – right after the “Disconnect from the PC …” step I am getting the following error on

    my screen : ATA: Error 80000000 while reading BBT (sector0, count 1).

    Any idea how to fix this?

    I have tried the Partition Recovery procedure on your site, but to no avail. After recovering I can restore back to iTunes, but when I try the

    EmCore boot loader – I am stuck on “formatting…” and the story repeats itself.

    The mSATA drive is for sure in perfect working order. I took it out from my PC after being used for 2.5 years and even did a long format (drive

    wipe) in AOMEI.

    Thank you in advance for your help.

    Kind Regards
    Miroslav

  11. Tarkan Post author

    @Kyran – very sorry you are right the list on the article is not in sync with the recommendation on the instruction sheet supplied – The Kingston was a very good card to start out with, but not sure if the internals have been changed or there are faulty or fake in the seller channels, but they are causing all sorts of random issues.

    I personally own one and it works great, where as others have faced various random problems which are cured by replacing the card with another brand!!

  12. Tarkan Post author

    @Jim – I assume this is a iPod Video?

    The Rockbox USB Handler is totally broken it is very slow and causes corruption – you have to dual boot the iPod back to the Apple OS or boot in to the diskmode and do your transfers like that, after ejecting you can boot back to Rockbox.

  13. kyran

    Tarkan,
    I must admit I am frustrated. I purchased the 128gb kingston class 10 (http://www.canadacomputers.com/product_info.php?cPath=11_1216_175_176&item_id=053759) last month. Syncing went fine the first time. It wasn’t until I attempted to add more music on later that I encountered an issue. It gave me no other option than to restore it. Which I did after reading this page and erasing and correctly partitioning first. Same issue encountered when attempting to add more music beyond the initial sync except it doesn’t even show up as a disk when connected via 30 pin or in my sd card reader. I noticed you said you’ve stopped recommending the Kingston 128gb but it was still on the iPOD and SDHC – SDXC cards when I made my decision in December. I can now only see if the card may be returned or exchanged

  14. Jim

    I received my SDCF adapter and installed it after formatting my 256 GB PNY SDXC card to Fat32. However, I have been loading FLAC files via windows explorer and rockbox and every couple songs are being truncated or skipped all together. I have tried reformating the SDXC card again with the same issues. Any recommendations?

  15. Phil

    Ok that’s great. Also regarding battery life, I set both iPods to play non-stop since yesterday afternoon. iPod with HDD made it to a respectable 27 hours, and the other is still 45% full after 27.5 hours :o) Thanks again. Phil

  16. Tarkan Post author

    @Phil – that is right, my SDCF Adapter is limited to 25MB/s, where as the original hard drive tops out around 30MB/s – SDXC card have instant access and seek times compared to the slower HDD so the final transfer times only show a small difference.

  17. Phil

    Hi,
    As requested, here are my test results:
    Upgraded an Apple iPod classic (Late 2008/7th Gen) 120 GB (Identifier: 8K90891V2C5)
    with your excellent CF adapter and a 128GB QUMOX SD XC Class 10 card.

    I did the reformat as suggested. I synced 14.5GB of MP3 files to the empty iPod in 17 minutes using iTunes on a PC.
    I did the exact same 14.5GB transfer with another 7 gen 120GB unmodified iPod and that took 15 minutes.

    Do those performance figures sound right? I thought the SD card version would be a bit quicker than the HDD version.

    Thanks,
    Phil

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