How to Access Files From SD Cards and USB Drives in Modern Windows 8 Apps

windows-libraries-removable-device-error[4]

Modern Windows 8 Apps such as the Xbox Music, Xbox Video, and Photos apps can only display content stored in your libraries. You may want to store media files on an SD card or USB drive, but Windows stops you.

To get around this limitation, you will need to make the SD card or USB drive accessible at a different location in Windows. This will trick both Windows 8 and Windows RT into allowing you to add it to libraries.

Create Folders

You will want separate folders for each type of library on your device. For example, if you want to store music, videos, and photos on your removable device and add them to your libraries, create separate Music, Videos, and Photos folders on the drive.

create-library-folders

Give the SD Card or USB Drive a Path

We will need to make the SD card or USB drive accessible at a different location. To do so, we’ll need the Disk Management utility.

Press Windows Key + X or right-click in the bottom left corner of your screen to open the power-user menu, and then click Disk Management.

windows-8-power-user-menu

Locate the removable device you want to use in the Disk Management window, right-click it, and select Change Drive Letter and Paths.

change-drive-letter-and-paths

Click the Add button to add a new path.

add-drive-letter-or-path

Enter a location the removable drive will be accessible at, such as C:\USB or C:\SD. The location can have any name you like.

add-path-for-removable-drive

Your SD card, flash drive, or external hard drive will now be accessible at the location you specified. It will continue to have its own drive letter, but you can also access it at the new folder location.

removable-drive-mounted-at-path-in-windows

Add the Folders to Your Libraries

You can now add the folders to your libraries. Select a library, click the Manage tab at the top of the File Explorer window, and click Manage Library.

windows-8-manage-library-ribbon

Click the Add button and add the appropriate folder to your library. In our example, we will add C:\USB\Videos to our library instead of specifying the E:\Videos folder.

add-folder-on-usb-drive-to-library

Windows doesn’t notice that the folder is on a removable device and allows you to add it normally. Repeat this process for each library.

Simply add files to the appropriate folder on your SD card or USB drive and they should be accessible in the Xbox Music, Xbox Videos, and Photos apps included with Windows 8 and Windows RT.

windows-8-music-and-video-apps


You could also do this by creating a junction point instead of using the Disk Management window. However, that would require dealing with the Command Prompt.

Chris Hoffman is a technology writer and all-around computer geek. He's as at home using the Linux terminal as he is digging into the Windows registry. Connect with him on Google+.