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.

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

  1. Steve

    @Support: h2testw reports no errors on both cards. “Test finished without errors.
    You can now delete the test files *.h2w or verify them again.
    Writing speed: 76.4 MByte/s
    Reading speed: 77.8 MByte/s
    H2testw v1.4”

  2. Martin Nilsson

    @Support – No, It’s just an apple logo and no backlight. I think I might have bricked it… At least it was a used one I got for cheap.

  3. Support Post author

    @Martin – can you not enter DFU mode? Make sure iTunes is installed, and that the iPod is connected to the computer while trying to enter DFU.

  4. Martin Nilsson

    @Support – It seems like I can’t uninstall the bootloader… even with the original harddrive

  5. Support Post author

    @Martin – you cannot just install in to slot SD2, there always has to be a card in slot SD1. The Kingston cards never worked with the EmCore & Rockbox USB Handler – I tested the new designware build of Rockbox with the Kingston 256Gb I have and it seemed to work ok with it.

    I assume you test your 512Gb, by restoring in itunes and syncing music checking everything works ok under the Apple OS (albeit limited to 128Gb) ?

  6. Martin Nilsson

    @Support – I’m using the most recent version of rockbox. I tried installing it with another older SD card (not SDXC or SDHC) and it works, but that’s only 2GB. If I put the 512GB SDXC card in slot two rockbox doesn’t start. It didn’t even boot in to rockbox without the 512GB card. I’ll try the Designware USB build of Rockbox now, I used the “stable” one before.

  7. Support Post author

    @Martin – are you using the new Rockbox bootloader? as the older EmCore installation method has a broken USB Handler which causes drive and filesystem corruption.

  8. Martin

    I have an iPod Classic 6th gen (MB147) with an iFlash dual and a Kingston Ultimate SDXC Class 10 UHS-I 5912GB. I have followed this guide and installed it correctly (as far as I know) but I have problems installing Rockbox and copying music and it seems like it’s because of the same reason: bad sectors. Does this mean that the SD card is broken or that there might be something wrong with the iPod?

  9. Wyatt

    @support I am currently not using an iflash, using one from amazon that had good reviews, but i would do the same testing right? Using a zif to CF then CF to SD

  10. Support Post author

    @Steve – is this only occuring when using in your car audio system, does this occur during headphone listening? Also can you run a H2Testw on the iPod to see what kind of read/write speeds you get.

  11. Support Post author

    @Wyatt – have you performed the installation correctly? The ZIF connector on the iFlash should face out opposite way to the original HDD. Also make sure the ribbon is fully home. Once the iFlash is installed correctly, you should see the restore screen on the iPod on power up.

    If your batteries have been sitting around for a long time then the low battery warning will happen – in this case, remove the iFlash/HDD and using a USB lead get the iPod in the iPod diagnostics mode – and let the battery charge.

  12. wyatt

    I just get a sad face and go to support warning. I also changed the battery and get a battery too low warning, even when the old battery is switched back in. i used 256gb pny. Please HELP 🙁 i was really excited to do this

  13. Steve

    @Support – 7th gen 160gb. Not specific tracks that skip. Sometimes it “recovers” itself after skipping 5-7 songs (tries to play them, skips to next), and I can go back to the original skipped song and it will play. Occasionally the ipod will lock after lots of skipping and must be reset.

  14. Steve

    Update: I’ve now used the tool recommended here AOMEI to do formats exactly as described. Both the cards still skip badly. Last try was to format with AOMEI and only transfer 1000 songs (instead of full library). Still skips. Double checked all ribbon cables. Sad. Can anyone help?

  15. Support Post author

    @J. – as mentioned at the top of this article, this is not necessary unless you have issues – the advice is always to install in to the iPod and let iTunes restore and sync.

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