Saturday, December 4, 2010

Migration to a larger Micro SD Card with Android

When I first purchased the HTC Incredible it came with a 2gb micro sd card.  Plenty of space for the time and considering most of the space would be utilized by photos and or music it really worked well for me.  Now that Froyo has come out and we can move Apps to the SD Card I decided to purchase a larger Micro SD Card.  I picked a Sandisk 16 GB Micro SD card.  While it sat next to my computer for a couple of weeks I really wanted to migrate everything over to it so I can start carrying only my Android phone and leave my iPod touch at home.  So, just how hard is this process?  Do you need special software to do it?  I decided to find out.

I popped the battery cover off of the HTC Incredible and pressed the Micro SD Card inward, out it popped.  I placed it inside an SD Card reader housing and inserted it into my Dell XPS card reader.  Up popped the dialog asking what I wanted to do.  I chose view files.  I then went to my NAS disk and created a backup directory called \Backups\Phones\HTC Incredible\ .  I looked at the total number of files and checked my settings to make sure show hidden and system files was checked and then hit ctrl-A to select everything.  Then I hit ctrl-c to copy everything and started a paste to my previously created backup directly.  The 4700 or so files took about 5 minutes to copy over and was around 900 Megabytes in size.  The only problem I ran into was with 8 files that were in the item.cache and it told me that the names were too long to copy, I skipped them so I crossed my fingers that these would not be needed for my phone to be operational.

Once I had this backup I compared the details of the files in the backup directory to the contents still on the smaller micro sd card and they matched save for the 8 files I had skipped.  Now I took the 2 gig micro card out of the SD Reader.  I wanted to make sure that the phone could read the new 16 gig card so I put it into the phone and checked settings, 14.83GB is what it showed which sounded like it makes sense so I popped the card back out and into the SD Reader so I can copy files from the backup directory.  Interesting, when I viewed the files on the computer it appears that the Android system, on preparing the SD card when I put it into the phone, placed some directories on the card.  It included


So, a couple of those are Apps that I know I have and the remainder are system folders.  Now, to see if this copy process will work.  My backup plan here is to just go back to the 2 gig card as I haven't deleted anything off of it yet.  I am probably going to get some duplicates during the copy because of the system created directories but I'll just overwrite and see what happens.  So, I do the reverse of what I did before, I got to the backup directory, copy all files with ctrl-a ctrl-c and then paste them into the 16 gb card's window.  The copy is taking 6 minutes or so.  I begin to ponder what a regression test of this process will be.  Should I go through each and every application to ensure it works as before?  That would take way too long.  I decide that I will reboot the phone with the new card installed and all files intact and make sure it comes up at a minimum and then go through and try my most frequently used "on SD card" applications.  I will be fairly certain all is well by the time I get through these tests.

Ok, what a mess!  It appears that everything that was installed to the SD card now fails on run with a force close.  The icons are now all replacted with the default android icon instead of the app's original icon.  Even more fun, I put the original 2 GB card back in and it is all still messed up.  Reboot the phone, hmmm, all the weird icons are gone but now it looks like 50% of my applications are missing.  Ok, this is going to suck.  Wait, icons are appearing, everything is back to normal, just like the system had to read it all back in and rebuild some cache files?  Anyway, whew, that was a bullet dodged.

So now I am in place with all of this new space what will I do with it?  My primary reason for converting to the larger card was to have space for music and possibly movies.  I have a large collection of MP3's and for years have used an Ipod Touch for all my Music and Apps.  Now that I'm an Android convert I want to use it for music.  Hopefully I will be able to use the Android built in applications for managing the music but I've heard they are not great.  I am going to start looking for a good app, even if it is pay for managing and listening to my music collect.  Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.  I hope you've enjoyed this short walk through and even though it's not very complicated maybe it will help someone out there to do the same thing if they are concerned over the process.

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