Question SD card internal storage problem.


New member
Sep 10, 2023
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Im using a lenovo tablet, and i had originally set my sd card as internal storage, i have ejected the card to put a bigger one in, and now have no way to access the stuff that was on my old sd card.

Is there anything i can do ?

I cant view sd card on my pc, and when i put it back in my device it wants me to format it.

any ideas ?

sorry im very new to android as ive always used fruit phones

B. Diddy

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Mar 9, 2012
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Welcome to Android Central! The problem with formatting the card as internal storage is that it gets encrypted to be used by that device only. It may be that by formatting a new card as internal storage, you've made it impossible to access the data from the older one, since the tablet has essentially forgotten that encryption key in favor of the new key for the new card. I'm not sure if you'll be able to access that old data any more, sorry. :(

Adoptable Storage has always been an imperfect solution. Other pitfalls include slower performance (since SD card read/write speeds are always slower than onboard storage) and the potential for system crashes if/when the card fails (and SD cards have a much higher rate of failure than onboard storage). It's always better to get a device that already has a lot of internal storage built-in. SD cards are best used as Portable Storage (ie, for documents, media, photos, etc.).


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Dec 19, 2011
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Im using a lenovo tablet, and i had originally set my sd card as internal storage, i have ejected the card...
...and that was your second mistake right there.

First mistake was setting it as internal storage to begin with. While totally possible and allowed, it comes with caveats - foremost being you should never remove it. At least not without preparation which you did not do.

Setting as "internal" or "adoptable" (the official term), sets up that SD card as an extension of internal memory. The system sees the internal ram and the SD card as one big pool of memory. Apps, system files, all kinds of stuff can just run across both areas.

By removing part of what is now "internal" memory, the system just lost some portion of what it expects to see. Now it's unstable and probably lost some of the apps it stored there.

The system has tried to recover itself after losing that, and now separated itself from the lost data.

Maybe... just maybe, you can re-insert that SD card, reboot the phone, and it might find everything again. But it's not likely.

The PC can't see anything on the card because when the tablet formatted it for internal storage, it's in a file system format specific to the Android OS system. A PC doesn't know what to do with that.

Internal/adoptable storage is a valid option for low end devices with low ram - 8, 16, maybe even 32 GB - where app storage is tight. But from 32 GB (if extra apps are kept to a minimum) and above really don't need it. Setting the SD card to external or portable storage is better as its also considered "removable" and is formatted to a file system that a PC can see. Then you just save documents, photos, and media like music to the card. And if you remove it, it doesn't mess up the system.

Depending on how bad your device is messed up now, you might have to factory reset, but that's a last resort. You're not getting anything off the card now.

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