Home » WP How To » Guide to Manage SD Card on Windows Phone

Guide to Manage SD Card on Windows Phone

Windows Phone 8 supports microSD card, which acts as, extended storage if your phone has low internal memory e.g. Lumia 620 and 820. When windows phone team announced the SD card support, they not only announced that it will act as storage for Music, Videos and Photos but also rolled in App Installation feature. In this post, we take a look into bits and pieces of what happens when you insert an SD card in Windows Phone.

Update: Windows Phone 8.1 Now lets you install aps to SD card and move them from Phone to SD card as well. Find out how you can do that after updating to Windows Phone 8.1. It is also possible to install apps from SD card and phone storage. Read here

Fresh Install :

As soon as you insert an SD and reboot your phone, you will be prompted about it. In this prompt, you will be able to confirm that it can be used to store media files. This prompt appears every time you insert a new microSD card or when you format it.

Watch on YouTube

 Configuring microSD Card usage:

Since it extends your storage, you can find all the settings under Settings > Phone Storage. This section displays the amount of space occupied by your phone and the SD card.

In the same section, you can individually configure Music + Videos & Pictures storage location. A drop down lets you choose between the phone storage and SD card.

SD card options in Windows Phone

Advantage of using SD Card for Media

The real advantage shows up when you switch your phone. If all your media is stored in SD card, they will be available instantly under Photos, Videos and Music App like it was on your previous phone. If you choose differently, the new phone will have pictures located into two different places.

Formatting & Removing SD Card:

If you tap on SD card storage, you can see details of space occupied by individual media types. Right under that, you have two options :

  • Remove SD Card: Use this option when you plan to take your SD card out of the phone. This will make sure that none of the files are in use, and will keep your data intact.
  • Format SD Card: This comes in handy when you insert an  SD card from other phone. I installed an SD card which I was using in BlackBerry, but it was not recognized by Windows Phone. Though visible in Windows Explorer, I had to format it to use it on Windows Phone.

SD Card File Viewer:

Kirik File Viewer for Windows Phone allows you to explore SD card. However it is restricted to display files like PDF and .RAR. You can also buy the pro-version of the app to see more files. Read more about it here.

SD Card Viewer for Windows Phone

Installing Apps from SD Card:

In a scenario where you need to install the same app on multiple Windows Phone device, Corporate or for Family Members, downloading every time is a waste of bandwidth.

You can use the SD card to install the apps offline on any number of phone.

  • Download it from Windows Phone Marketplace.
  • Connect the device over USB and drop the XAP file in SD card.
  • Unplug and wait for SDCARD option to showup on Windows Phone Store. You might want to reboot if its taking of time.
  • Install the app offline. You can also batch install multiple apps.

SD Card App Installation

Remember, when the apps get installed, they will be verified against the store and your account. Free apps can be used instantly while paid apps will have only trail version installed. Apps which do not have trail version need to be bought from the store.

So the basic idea of this feature is to save your bandwidth of your Mobile Data or when you need to install on multiple devices.

About Ashish

A die hard fan of Windows, Windows 10 Mobile, Windows Phone and Xbox, Loves to Do Video reviews on Windows Phone Apps, Games, Xbox Games, Xbox Tutorials. He Owns a Lumia 950 XL, Lumia 550, Lumia 1020 & BLU WIN HD LTE and have used all the Lumia Phones and Non Lumia Phones as well.
  • siva

    i got lumia 620. i copied some pdf in sd card. but i am not able to find file manager or gallery option. how can i open these?? could u please solve my problem??

    • Dell

      copy the pdf to document folder in phone memory. Install PDF reader app to view it.

  • Richard

    Many thanks app installed on sd card in my Nokia Lumina 520.

    • saranya kumar

      Iam using Lumia 520 and it is not showing sd card option in store can some body say the solution for it??

      • Dell

        First download the app u want to install and copy that to memory card. Then restart the phone. It will show the SD-card option after some time

      • raja raga

        lumia phones wont show sd card sepaaretly.jst go into the settings it will show u my dear……..

    • touseef

      but the files not show

    • sai

      how to change apps settings from phone memory to sd card memory in nokia lumia 625..I have installed lot off games and apps they have been stored in phone memory. i want to store (move) all apps into sd card memory can you tel me

      • 1st cheek your phone is updated to windows 8.1 or not.Moving apps to SD card is only supported in Windows 8.1 update,other than that you will not able to move apps to SD card anyhow….!

  • Bob

    I am having the same problem with my Lumia, the SD Card option is not appearing in the App Store, no matter how many times I reboot, remove the SD card, etc.

    • kaizen

      make sure you name your folder “root” in your sd card to recognized it easily

    • 1st cheek your phone is updated to windows 8.1 or not.Moving apps to SD card is only supported in Windows 8.1 update,other than that you will not able to move apps to SD card anyhow….!

  • ujjwal

    i hv lumia 620 and its not detecting sd card :( any solution? ??

    • Omar

      look for sd card class ! I have a lumia too .. and still searching what does class mean :p

      • ghosh

        Class is simply speed of ur sd card. U can use a cls 6 or cls 10 sd in ur phone.. Make sure that its made by well known company..

  • Idy

    Download it from Windows Phone Marketplace.
    Connect the device over USB and drop the XAP file in SD card.

    please could you explain more about this…i cant find how to do this

  • raja

    hi i just copied the xap format of apps and few games to sd card the games were installed but these two apps FANTASIA PAINTER AND GYM POCKET GUIDE SHOWS UP[ AS AN INCOMPATABLE APP but they are available on windows store are they compatable with lumia 520 help me

  • muqit

    how can i transfer game from phone to sd card?

  • Piyush

    unable to see SD-Card in lumia 620.. :(

  • Piyush

    unable to see SD-Card in Store:: lumia 620.. :(

  • jayesh

    I have lumia 620.
    how i install app in SD card because low space in phone storage.have 32 GB SD card.

  • Brijesh

    Any app that can download and save youtube videos directly in SD card?

    • Muhammad Bilal

      how to the download youtube in nokia lumia 620, down loader application name tell me

  • parag idya

    though i inserted sd card its showing sd card not found. pls help…

  • silent

    SD card not found in LM520!!! help please…!!!

  • mubeen

    Same problem.. SD card not showing in Lumia 620 plz help..

  • I got nokia lumia 720 , i want to copy my contacts from memory card to phone is it possible>

    • Ashish

      Memory Card? Why don’t you use the Transfer My Data App?

      • deepak dhingra


      • Faisal

        Sir., how many folders need to create in SD card for lumia 520..,
        Actually i do not see my sd card..

      • Parag

        HI Ashish..I am not getting import to sd card option on my Lumia 525 via Transfer My Data App? Do I need to download it freshly? Thanks.

  • kunal

    i have the same prblm i bought a new lumia 520 but it on detecting the sd card and also inserted other sd card but its still not detecting it plzzzzzzz help me out!!!

  • hey can u guide me how to install apps to sd card

  • dinu

    m using lumia 620 cn ne1 tell me how to move music files from phone memory to sd card…plz…

    • Samuel

      Have you tried this:

      Goto music->select the songs u want to copy->menu->copy to SD card.

  • FLoyd

    I really like to get some feedback, my 16 Gb MicroSD Card is not being detected by the phone…help plz!!!

  • Nazmul Hasan

    my lumia 620 do not show sd card option on store. same problem

  • my lumia 520 i cant see my sdcard option on my nw nokia lumia 520

  • Faisal

    Ashish Sir. I do not see my SD card in lumia 520…, when i insert it on lumia 520 its show msg “SD card not found”
    Sir plz give a solution for it

  • Vikrant Sharma

    I purchased a new Nokia Lumia 520. But the major problem I found in it is that I cant browse my memory card directly like other phones i.e. external storage. Please do let me know how to browse my SD Card folder by folder. I m so upset. Plzzzzzzzz

    • Ashish

      Check out Kirik SD Card Viewer

  • Toots


    I have a lumia 520, i inserted my sd card from my previous phone and had my contacts backed up on the sd card. How can i import these contacts to my device??

    • Ashish

      Hey Toots, A new update has rolled out for Transfer my Data app. It supports importing contacts from SD card.

  • hanks for your nice post, Ashish
    I have a new Lumia 720 phone with Window phone 8.0 OS preinstalled. Follow your article, I try sideload some game into my phone. But in the last step (Go to Store and actice some XAP file), it hasn’t show SD card option such as your tut.
    Whether or not my phone has support for this function, or i must perform some task before that ?

    • Ashish

      Can You try restarting your phone and see if it shows up?

  • Hein

    Thanks for the tip! After updating the app it worked great when importing a vcf file. The file was placed in the root of the sd card and was detected automatically.

    Luckily the folks at Nokia noticed this soft spot in wp8.

  • Hello Sir. I have a big problem with my Nokia Lumia 520 it is not showing my micro SD card what should I do no I tried 3 different SD cards (ie) 1 GB, 2 GB and 4 GB but none are’ being detected on my Lumia 520 the SD card option shows “Not Found” please help and solve my problem. Thanks

  • Peter

    Im having major issues transfering music on my 820, i have a sandisk 64gb class 10 SD card. First although i have set the files to be stored to the SD card it only does this once the phone is full and still randomly decides which files to transfer. I have formatted it to fat32, what else can i do or what am i doing wrong??

  • Roopa

    the apps cannot be stored in the SD card , but if the xap file is also installed from
    SD card , it installs in the phone only, not in SD card.

  • Pranav

    How to find SD Cadr without Any Application Download

  • Hi!!
    How to view folders in SD card directly in Lumia 820?

    • Use Kirik SD file viewer

  • Ajith

    I am really disappointed with my new Nokia Lumia 520 phone. I tried all different SD cards, 100 times i restarted rebooted everything i did but my SD card is nt recognizing… Do any have any idea on this?

  • Vivek

    I downloaded around 15 games and put them in the SD card. I restarted the phone. The app store showed the sd card option after some time and showed only 10 of the games which I put in there. I installed all those games in one go. But now the problem is that the apps list is not showing those installed games! The details of the memory in settings shows that those games have been installed and they are occupying space as well but I cant see their launcher icon in the apps list! What is this problem and is there a solution to this? Because I lost the space also and the games wont show up. What to do, please help if you can…

    • Vivek

      Ok, sorry. I found out that I had to check the games app. All the games have been installed there. There is no such thing in android so, it confused me a lot.

  • Tanmeya Mohan

    Hi Ashish,

    Hope you are doing fine.

    I have a Lumia 820 & bought a SanDisk Class10 HDHC microSD 32GB card for it & formatted it as per your tutorial.

    Now the issue is –

    When I connect the phone to my laptop via data cable to transfer some music files (mp3 extn.), it restarts randomly between the transfer.

    I tried transferring the files to the memory card directly using the memory card reader. Inserted it in the phone & when tried to access the same, the phone started restarting again again.

    Had no option other than to either format it / remove it & rely on 8GB of internal space, with no music on phone.

    Tried it with SanDisk Class10 HDHC microSD 16GB card, but the issue exists for that as well.

    Kindly let me know a possible solution, as I am getting a feeling of wasting 22k bucks.

    Best Regards,

  • murali

    I have my nokia lumia 620 i downloaded song from youtube and where it save.i cant recognize on either phone memory and sd card.pls help

    • Samuel

      it will save in the place which u specified at “settings->phone storage->you can change the storage settings below for music,videos and pictures”

      if u specified there at phone it will be stored in phone memory or if u specified there at SD card then it will be stored at SD card

  • Hissaan Khawaja

    Hi ashish..

    Brother i bought a 16gb microsd card for my htc 8s w8..
    but when i transfer music or some data it in, it does not show anything..before this i was using 2gb micro sd card it was working..but now on 8gb this issue appears every time..i tried a format but does not happen anything :(
    i,m very upset :( plz help me out..

    • Ashish

      You will need to check with Nokia Care, I have no idea on this.

  • Lemay

    Hi, how can I install apps without confirmation of windows store, I mean, offline, because I really need to install a lot of apps in that way, I haven’t data connection right now, can I do this ? Thanks in advance

  • Godfrey

    SOS please help,got Lumia 520 SD card just not showing on phone No access at all.

    • Ashish

      you need to try with another sd card and see if it works

  • Sangram

    Hi Ashish, I have a Lumia 720, n i LOVE IT! I recently dropped it from a height of barely 6 inches and the phone stopped recognizing my 2GB sandisk sd card. The card is working quite well on other phones n also on my PC. I still changed the sd card n put another 2 GB card. Again I faced the same problem after I dropped it. Any idea why?

  • Ravi

    can anyone tell me how to download videos from you tube directly to my sd card in nokia lumia 620 ??

    • Ashish

      You cannot do that in Windows phone

  • I have a Nokia Lumia 520. I copied all contacts in .vcf format from Nokia Suite into my SD card. I copied all .vcf contacts under root directory as well as in Music folder. I uploaded the contacts thru’ data cable. My PC runs WinXP & the device is shown as Windows phone with phone memory & SD card. When I am trying to import the contacts from SD card the contacts cannot be seen nor it is giving any option to import. Number of .vcf files are about 350 but no. of contacts is showing zero. I have formatted the card but still import is not taking place. SD card is detected by the phone.



    • Ashish

      you have the apps on SD card already?

  • Gaurav Kalal

    Hi Ashis is ther any way to transfer all the msz in one time like contact in lumia 820

    • Ashish

      Hey Gaurav, Can you broaden your question please.

  • gaurav kala

    and how could i copy data from sd card to phn mamory in lumia 820

    • Ashish

      Sorry, This is not possible. What do you want to copy?

  • does this actual help save space / install to sd card?, my Girlfriend has a htc windows 8s and everyone seems to post this same helpful tip that hasnt actually helped. why after saving to sd card and going to the store selecting install the app in question from the sd card option does the phone still fails install due to insufficient space.

    The phone has :

    152MB apps and games
    29MB Pictures
    2.2GB OS
    988MB free space

    and a 8GB micro SD card with 470 MB of manually downloaded apps I still cant install

    • Ashish

      Actually No. It is only for those who cannot install over mobile data and somebody else can download them to install and verify. SD card is only for pictures, images and videos

  • afzal

    i have downloaded videos from tube pro in my lumia 620.When i try connectiong my phone using windows app the downloaded videos are not visible.I want to transfer them to sd card so that i can free my phone space.Please help me out with these as soon as possible.THANK YOU

  • sonal

    i have inserted 8 gb memory card in HTC windows phone 8s.but than also it is showing there is no space,pls give me the right suggestion

  • jean

    Hi Ashish

    Am unable to find a option in my lumia 520 to open and browse the memory card. Could you please advice. there is no option only to check open the memory card even in storage check i can just see the memory of all folders but cant view them

  • svon

    I van not format my 32 gb sd card in Lumia 820 . what can I do

  • ramesh

    Hai Ashish, I hv bought new lumia520 yday. when i switch off the phone it automatically restarts. your tips please.
    i tried your earlier tips kirik viewer..

  • Abhinay

    Class of card basically ranges from 2 to the more recent 10 ones. It shows how fast the card can perform. Usually Class 4 is enough for Mobiles. Higher ones basically good for clicking HD photos or videos in cameras so the time taken for Image processing gets reduced, also the data gets copied faster.

  • Mohit Sood

    Can i also save games on the SD card ????

    • Ashish

      Nope that is not possible in Windows Phone

  • PullaR

    I have downloaded the .XAP files from store and pushed all the files to my SD card, while i was installed the app through SD card, where it will be installed.

    is it Phone memory or SD Card?

    is there any app to move videos from phone memory to SD card manually?

  • NIladri

    hi I have bought a Nokia lumia 520. When I want to connect the Nokia phone to laptop throught data cable in USB. It is not recognised. What is the solution for it.

    • Ashish

      That should work. Did you try any other USB port and cable?

  • Kel

    Can I transfer maps from internal memory to mini SD card on my beaut Lumia 625?

  • shimesh

    in my Lumia 620,when switch on mobile network,will come resuming & cannot open anything.After remove the battery and re insert then only I can open it.Is there any solution for this…..?

  • Avradeep

    Hey ashish.. Is it possible to import contacts directy to sd card in lumia 525 … Or import contacts from sd card stored in .vcf format. Please help.

    • Ashish

      Don’t think that’s possible. Its not natively supported. The best would be to use an email account to sync. Like Gamil for example allows to import VCF which will in turn sync with your phone.

  • rohit

    I have a nokia 520. When the memory got full, i inserted an 8gb SD card. The card gets detected- I chang the settings to ‘save in SD Card’ but when i use my camera, or try to play music i get a message that says ‘OOPS memory full’

    • Heman

      i have the same problem.. can anyone help?

  • Gagan

    how to install application into sd card

  • vibhor singhal

    i changed the location of some of the songs from one folder to other but now iam not able to play them…how to solve it

    • Ashish

      How did you change it?

  • charan

    i have lumia 525 with me i copied images to my phone but in photos there are no images ,how to view them in gallery . pls solve my problem

    • same problem…anybody plz solve

  • Ajit Borude

    I have stored some games in sdcard… store shows the option sdcard…but when i open it not even single game or app is shown…shows empty…Solution????

  • balavikram

    Balavikram ,

    Im too facing same kind of issue, i have downloaded songs from Nokia music and videos on your moves , im able to play Them but unable to move to my sd card, so as per your advice i connected my phone to computer im able to see my Phone Memory is almost fill when i check in properties and to my surprise i don’t see any files under any default folder are on complete default phone memory so couldn’t move to Sd card tell me what to do

    and there is an other issue i have copied few movies from computer to sd card and i don’t see all of them in sd card and when i connect the phone to computer and check i can see them on sd card and also i insert sd card on an other android its showing up all movies

    So kindly help with issue

  • I have 8GB card in my lumia 520. Now i need to upgrade it to 32GB. I have apps installed on 8GB card. How can I copy all the stuff from 8 GB to 32 GB card including installed apps.

  • Sonu

    its working

  • Deirdre

    Good morning
    I have a lumia 820 phone. My SD card was working without issue, then I broke my screen so took out the SD card when it went for repair. Now the phone does not see the reinserted SD card, can you advise please?

    Thank you

  • Kalvin

    Hello I want to transfer my contact to my SD card , can somebody help. Cheers

  • musf

    when i connect my Nokia lumia to the comp i cant see the sd card on the list of portable devices

  • Nitin

    Can i copy the contents of an older using memory card reader to a new (bigger) one to save time?

  • Zvonimir

    Hi, I have a problem.
    I have a Lumia 625 and i updated the OS to WP 8.1 so I could download my Nokia MAPS to sd card, but it doesn’t allow me. Sd card is Kingstone 16 GB so it’s more than enough. I have checked everything possible (on Storage sense everything is on sd card, I tryed to connect to PC and then download maps from Nokia Ovi store to my PC and then from PC to phone, but no can do). It’s not that I want to MOVE maps from phone memory to sd card (that’s not possible, I know), but I want to put downloaded maps from Ovi store to sd directly. I did move some apps and that works just fine, but my major problem is MAPS!
    Please, some advice would be more than appreciated.

    P.S. Very precise guiding is more than welcome!

  • Reetesh

    In lumia 1320 camera photos not save in SD card and make camara hang any solution……

    • Ashish

      GO to Storage Sense App and choose where you want to save your picture, as default location.

  • HI,
    I am using “sandisk Ultra UHS 16gb class 10 ” sd card for Lumia620, I cant play HD videos from my sd card please suggest.
    Is this the issue with the class10?

    -Kiran JL

    • Ghosh

      Class 10 is not the problem. I am using a class 10 (SanDisk) myself

  • Sharvani

    Hi…I am using a Lumia 520. I tried using a SanDisk 16GB Class 10 SD Card but it wouldn’t click photos. Then I realised that Class 10 wan not suitable for my phone. Then I purchased a Class 4 SanDisk 16GB sd card but then too, it wouldnt capture photos i.e. save them to my camera role!! Please help me…as I am in a dire need of storage space. :) :\

  • Azeem

    Hi, Now I am using Lumia 620, my contacts available in sd card in VCard format. how to import in my nokia lumia 620. plz…

    • Ashish

      Try The Transfer my data app

  • lu

    I have a nokia lumia 630 dual sim phone, it was grt and a good budget phone until now; my problem is I can’t find the video on my sd card which is a transcend class 10 32 gb card, after transferring the video from my laptop i tap on it to play and it works perfectly but when i am looking for it in the sd card or in the phone memory it is nowhere to be found plz help

    • Ashish

      Can you try with the Files App?

  • nelson bova

    I have a nokia 1320. The internal memory is always full even though i’ve moved on SD all the apps, photos, music, and everything allowed. I’ve now around 4 gb of “system” (half of it a not better specified “others”), Along with 0,5 gb of maps and 2 gb of email.
    It’s not allowed to move anything of that items! The amount is however less than 8 gb but presently there’s no room for an incoming updates.
    How can i move “other” items or email or maps?????
    Thank you for your reply.

  • i got nokia lumia 520 it was working nicely with sd card now i changed my sd card then i store my sd card put into my phone but my songs and music is not showing in my phone,,,plz help me out of this problem.

    • Ashish

      Hey Anju,

      Did you copy songs from your old SD card?

  • Mohit

    so what happened with me is….. i am running 8.1 developer preview…. recently i had my sd card corrupted so i formatted it through pc…. now there were apps stored in my sd card which got deleted…. my problem is that i cannot install those apps again bcoz in store it shows as if the app is already installed….. it gives only two options share and view but those apps don’t even show up in the app menu neither in the storage sense….. so how to uninstall them so that i can install then again…..

    • januel

      Same problem. I think the most hassle way is to uninstall then and reinstall them again. Is there any easier way to solve this? Anyone?


      you just uninstall the app icon form phone which one is showing hide, then you go to store search for the same uninstalled app, you can get it back.



  • clementcyril

    Friends memory card reader lite or total explorer application for viewing files stored in memory card in windows phone.

  • imran

    I m using Microsoft Lumia 535 and I m not able to copy/move files of mkv from sd card to phone memory……..may u help mme

    • That format is not supported I thin. Please share a screenshot

  • S Sathish Kumar

    Im using lumia 535. i installed some apps in SD card. till yesterday they were working. from today those apps are not at all showing loco’s and not opening. only apps stored in SD card. and i cant install new apps also.. what can i do? i got this 2nd time. 1st time i reset phone settings. for every month i cant do reset phone. how to fix this problem.. advance thanks for ur replies..

    • Did you try to scan the card?

      • S Sathish Kumar

        yeah.. i scanned.. no issues there.. new apps also i couldnt install in my phone.. i cant recognize the problem..

  • Edu Reis

    I am using a Lumia Nkia 520 and I’m having some troubles with SD cards… As soon as I change the card for a new one it gets corrupted… Whay can I do to fix it? Is it usual?

  • Mkkhatri

    Does Lumia 640 XL lets you install apps directly to the SD card or they occupy space in internal memory?

    • You can set to install apps on SD card by default. No internal memory used.

  • sheew

    Can I transfer data that’s already on my phone onto the SD card? I’m using a Lumia 1520…


    How to access the content on my sd card in my window phone

  • Brandon Maxwell

    I recently purchased a 16gb sd card cause my 8gb is full. I put stuff like music and photos on the 16gb but it does show on my windows lumia phone. What’s the problem?

  • ecter

    Hi. I’m using 640 xl. I transferred apps and games on Sd card like big games six guns etc. But the problem is that the apps r doesn’t shown or is this is possible to play the games on sd card. Please hlp me how to do it

  • wst27

    got a lumia 520 worked fine for 3 years, had to do a hard reset 2 days ago, since doing that it solved my keyboard problem but now it will not find my sd card, i backed up contacts to it before reset, placed card in windows 7 and 10 laptops and other phones but they don’t detect it either, any ideas please?

  • Phil

    I have just installed Windows 10 on my Lumia 520 and can no longer access my SD card which has my Apps and Music stored on it. Help please.

  • amit dubey

    just uninstall app and install as simple as that!

  • Nikhil Verma

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/9c95f11ca423319972766757641ffe4ab2dc1149c66ce393ffcda3fa1af7cfc5.png https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/a7f080d46fc95f1d9607e2441f4a374cc689cc1e825f6465508a0731cdcf760b.png I am unable to use my sd card ever since i hav changed my card from 8gb to 16gb. As u referred to format it,i hav done that too bt no results.Whenever i put my 8gb card it shows in storage nd everywhere bt my 16 one is only visible in file explorer nd not in storage option.What to do???