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Digital storage continues to become more and more affordable just as we need more and more. My current phone, Microsoft Lumia 950, comes with 32 GB of storage on board. I paired that with a 64GB card I had been using. So that’s a whopping 96 GB of storage on a phone! I know for many of you that’s a yawn, but I still find it remarkable.

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However, my phone can play lossless audio, shoot stills at 20 megapixels and can shoot video at Ultra HD resolution (3840 x 2160)! That all can chew up storage. To put this in perspective: my 8 megapixel Lumia 920 camera pictures (saving in jpg) would take up about 1.2 MB per shot, my Lumia 950 takes up about 6.3 MB per shot in Rich capture mode (meshing multiple shots together. Video taken at on my Lumia 920 at full HD (1080p) would take 2.1 GB per hour. 1 hour of Ultra HD video takes up 318 GBs. So, before I knew it, I had roughly 20 GB of music (despite using Groove’s streaming service), 20 GB of video and miscellaneous documents and files that added up to 58 GB of storage used on my 64 GB card. Yikes! The phone is less than a month old. So, what with Black Friday sales and cheaper cards, I upgraded to a 128 GB card. I would love a 200 GB card, but that’s still a bit too rich for my blood at $100 on Amazon. I bought my card for $40 on sale; it’s roughly $50 right now. Note: these prices are for well-known storage players; this is an area you don’t want to go with an unknown manufacturer.

Great! But wait, now I had to move all the apps, documents, pictures, music, and video over. You might think that this is a long but simple process of copying all the files on the card onto the new. Not so much. Apps won’t work if you simply copy the card. Can you move all the apps and data so that everything is preserved to work just like it did on the old card? Yes, but it’s some work.

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I have a particularly happy situation in which to do this:

  • I have a Microsoft Surface 3 Pro with enough capacity to back up the old card. This means I have a USB 3 port (much faster than USB 2) and an SSD drive on which to store (again, fast access).

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  • The Sony 64 GB card I was backing up was rated at 40 MB/s and the new PNY 128 GB card was rated at 60 MB/s.

 

 

 

 

I averaged about 30 MB/s backup and about 18 MB/s copying onto the new card. Now, both of those are not only slower the theoretical USB 3.0 speeds but even USB 2.0 theoretical maxes. However, in practice, that’s 2 to 3 times faster than I would get with USB 2.0. So, despite this relatively fast setup, it’s still time-consuming. Your mileage may vary. On Android; I hear that a simple copy doesn’t work there to preserve apps either. Of course, you have no worries on iOS since you’re stuck at whatever capacity you have on board when you originally purchase the phone (hint-buy as much as you can afford and pay lots for iCloud backup).

So here’s what I did:

  1. Move all of your applications from your current Micro SDXC card to you phone (hopefully, you have capacity). This means selecting each by hand and selecting “Move”. If you don’t wait for that move to be done before you try to go to the next one, it seems to stop and the new one take over. So wait.
  2. Take that card out and back it up. For the 950, this means either indicating that you want to remove the card or shutting down, taking the back off.  If you said for it to remove the card, then pull the micro SD card out. It is a close fit with the battery in, so you may have to turn the phone over and let it drop out. If you shut down, then the battery out. Remove the card, put it into your card reader and copy. Of course, you could just plug into your USB 3 port with your USB 3.1 to 3 cord, but you’ll have to get the old card out anyway to format the new that you might as well use the card reader.
  3. Put the new card in the phone and format. Do this while step 2 is underway. You don’t need to put the back on again, but that might be safer. I left it off.
  4. Pull the new card out (doing all you did in step 2 unless the back is already off), copy the backup data from step 2 to new card.
  5. Put the new card back in the phone. Put the battery back in, cover on and start up.
  6. Move all of your applications from your phone to your new card. Yup, each one by hand. This takes a while, so just keep at it while you do other stuff.

Viola – a number of hours later (if you’re like me and had 58 GB used for applications, documents and media (music, pictures and video). Just copying nearly 60 GB of data takes between 20 minutes and half an hour. All the apps remembered their data and login information (if that’s how you left them from the old card). Now, as long as I don’t shoot much Ultra HD video, I’m good to go for a while. Hopefully, the next card I buy will border on a terabyte, but for now, I have a bit of breathing room :)

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