The Surface RT comes in two different models, a 32GB and a 64GB variant with a $100 price difference between them. You might have noticed that the Surface also includes a micro SD card slot on it and many of you might have figured that you can install your apps and videos and such on to your SD card and save some money since a 64GB SD Card is only $50. Not so fast however, like many other mods, Microsoft hasn’t made any easy provisions for installing these apps on to your SD card and you’re going to have to do a bit of hacking around to get this working. Thanks again to XDA forum member tamarasu, he’s discovered the location in the Windows registry which controls where downloaded applications are installed to. It’s a good thing Microsoft has stuck to it’s registry system for Windows RT, a great many hacks have come about due to fiddling around in the registry!
This hack will only affect new apps installed and your old ones will not be affected. You have the choice of uninstalling then reinstalling apps after you perform this hack to move them to the SD card. The other choice is a bit more convoluted and requires that you robocopy your current WindowsApps folder with permissions intact and create a symbolic link to the new folder, I’ll go over this method in another post. Be careful when doing this, I recommend you watch the video since it goes over the process nicely.
Here’s how we do it:
- Go into your desktop and start File Explorer
- Right click on your SD card and go to Properties
- If it’s formatted as NTFS ignore the next step, otherwise make a backup of your data on the card and close the properties dialog
- Right click on your SD card and click on Format, change the File System to NTFS and click on Start (NOTE THIS WILL ERASE EVERYTHING ON YOUR SD CARD)
- Make a folder in your SD Card labeled WindowsApps
- Open up your charms bar and search for regedit, launch the program
- Navigate to the folder HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Appx
- With the Appx folder selected, Click on Edit and then click on Permissions
- In the Permissions for Appx Dialog click on Advanced
- On the top it says “Owner: Trusted Installer” and gives you the option to Change, click on the Change
- In the Select User or Group dialog box that came up, click on Advanced
- Click on Find Now in the Dialog Box
- Click on the Administrators in the search result box [NOTE this is Administrators with an s at the end]
- Click on OK once you’ve highlighted it
- Click on OK in the Select User or Group Dialog
- You should be in the Advanced Security Settings for Appx Dialog now
- At the top click the checkbox that says “Replace owner on subcontainers and objects”
- Click OK
- You should now be in the Permissions for Appx dialog
- Click on Administrators
- Click on the checkbox for Full Control under Allow, this will give the Administrators group full control over the Appx Folder
- Click OK
- In the Appx Folder change the key for PackageRoot to the location on your SD Card you made such as E:\WindowsApps
- Reboot the Surface [YOU MUST DO THIS]
- All apps will now install on to the SD Card!
Success! It require a bit of work, but once it’s done all apps will now install on to the SD card This was tested on a class 10 SD Card and works very well.
Please note that if you get an 0x80073cf9 error when attempting to update an app, you will need to uninstall it and reinstall it. This is because the app was previously installed in the C: drive. It seems as if WindowsRT will only allow one location for Store apps.