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How to fix the ‘broken’ Galaxy S7 microSD memory

March 11th, 2016 at 7:45 AM
Galaxy S7 Edge Tips microSD Adoptable Storage

Samsung this year acknowledged its mistake to remove microSD support from the Galaxy S6, by adding expandable storage to the Galaxy S7. The microSD slot lets you add as much as 200GB of extra storage to your handset, but as we explained recently, that’s not necessarily great news.

For whatever reason, Samsung left out one of the best memory features that Google added to Marshmallow last year. Adoptable Storage surprised the audience last year, given Google’s stance on microSD expansion in its own Nexus handsets. The feature lets you merge the phone’s flash memory and expandable microSD card into a single chunk of storage that’s treated as built-in storage.

While Samsung shunned this awesome feature on the Galaxy S7, someone figured out how to enable it on any Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 edge device, without having to mess with rooting procedures.

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Discovered by MoDaCo, the procedure is really simple and involves a few quick steps, though you need a computer with working “adb” on it. If you have no idea what that is, then you probably won’t need Adoptable Storage either. Here’s what you need to do.

Backup your data

The MicroSD card will be wiped cleaned to be formatted to support Adoptable Storage.

Manage your storage

If you have a high-capacity microSD card – say 128GB or 200GB – you may want to decide how much of that you want to allocate to Adoptable Storage. You should know the Adoptable Storage part isn’t accessible on a computer, so if you want to use microSD to move data to and from a computer, you need to save some “conventional SD” storage on the card. You won’t have to do anything about it yet, but this will be important at a later stage (see below).

Enable USB debugging on the Galaxy S7

Tap five times on the build number of the Galaxy S7 in the developer settings area.

Connect to a computer

Open command window or terminal on the computer and type “adb shell” after you’ve connected the phone to the computer. Then type “sm list-disks” to see the storage disks on the phone.

Partition the microSD memory

This is where you’ll use the “sm partition DISK TYPE RATIO” to customize your memory. MoDaCo’s disk name is “disk:179:160”. To turn all of it into Adoptable Storage, you’d use the command: “sm partition disk:179:160 private” while typing “sm partition disk:179:160 mixed 50” gets you a 50/50 split between Adoptable and conventional storage.

Check for errors

Once the partition process is done, you can go to Settings and then Storage, and see how the Galaxy S7 sees the memory (see image above). If the number is beyond the default 32GB of space, then you’re good to go. MoDaCo notes that apps will be installed automatically to the storage with the most space available, though you can move things around if you want to. The site notes that the built-in memory will always be the faster one, though we already know that, as the phone uses Samsung’s fast UFS standard).

In case you want to go down this road, you should consider SanDisk’s super speedy microSD that was announced at MWC 2016, and which is faster than everything else available so far.

Chris Smith started writing about gadgets as a hobby, and before he knew it he was sharing his views on tech stuff with readers around the world. Whenever he's not writing about gadgets he miserably fails to stay away from them, although he desperately tries. But that's not necessarily a bad thing.

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