Barnes & Noble Nook: Installing and Using microSD Cards

By William Stanek
January 12, 2010 | Comments: 53

Nook has 2GB of internal storage (with 1.3 GB usable for your content). You can expand the storage capacity by adding a microSD card to the device. Cards of up to 16 GB are supported and the cards can be:

  • Class 2, 4 or 6 microSD cards. 2 GB.
  • Or Class 2, 4 or 6 microSDHC cards. 4, 8, or 16 GB.

nook.png

Ideally, you'll want to use a Class 6 microSD or Class 6 microSDHC card as these are faster than Class 4 cards, which in turn are faster than Class 2 cards. Note also that the card must be formatted with the FAT 32 or FAT (also known as FAT 16) file system.

You can add a microSD card by following these steps:

  1. Power off your Nook by pressing and holding the Power button for 5 - 9 seconds. Unplug the device from AC power, and disconnect it from any USB connection.
  2. With the Nook face down on a soft or cushioned surface, locate the tab near the center of the bottom of the back cover. Carefully remove the back cover by holding the Nook in one hand and lifting the tab up from the bottom edge of the device.
  3. The back cover is snapped in at the bottom, the middle and the top. Once you've unsnapped the bottom, unsnap the middle and then the top. Do so carefully without bending the back cover or you might damage the screen and/or the back cover.
  4. Remove the metal cover on the microSD card holder by carefully pushing up on it and then lift the cover by inserting a fingernail into the bottom edge and lifting.
  5. Insert the microSD card by lining up the contacts on the card with the contacts in the card holder and dropping the card into place.
  6. With the card fitted and positioned properly, close and then lock the metal cover on the card holder.
  7. Carefully, insert the bottom of back cover into the bottom of the Nook. Gently, press down on the lower portion of the back cover to snap it into place, then do the same for the middle and top of the back cover. Ensure the back cover is securely attached. Do so carefully without bending the back cover or you might damage the screen and/or the back cover.

Keep the following in mind when using a Nook with a microSD card:

  • When you connect your Nook to your computer via USB, you'll see a drive for the Nook itself and a drive for your microSD card.
  • When you power on your Nook, the device connects to the network and then scans your microSD card to determine if there are any content changes that need to be processed.
  • If you plan to lend out your ebooks, note that you cannot save a copy of a lent ebook to the microSD card.
  • If you plan to use images for screensavers or wallpapers, note that you cannot place the images on the microSD card.

Thanks for reading, time for me to get back to work! Hope you'll take a look at my new book Windows 7: The Definitive Guide. Also just released is my book Exchange Server 2010 Administrator's Pocket Consultant.

William R. Stanek
williamstanek at aol dot com
http://www.twitter.com/WilliamStanek


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53 Comments

THIS WAS A LIFE SAVER. B&N had no info on how to install & I followed your directions-perfect.Thank you

Thanks all for the comments! Glad you found this to be helpful. Also heard from a few readers about cards Nook doesn't recognize. When this happens, there could be several issues.

To clarify microSD cards of up to 2 GB are supported; microSDHC cards of 4, 8, or 16 GB are supported.

Assuming the card is seated properly (meaning inserted properly), the card itself might not be formatted correctly. For example, if you've used the card with other devices or formatted it with another device. You must format that card using the FAT 32 or FAT (also known as FAT 16) file system.

I've also clarified in the article above.

Hope this helps!

William

Thank you - I agree with the person above - no INFO in B&N thank you for taking the time to write and share the directions.

Thank you - I agree with the person above - no INFO in B&N thank you for taking the time to write and share the directions.

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! B&N's video tutorials held no information, and I've only had the nook for three days and did NOT want to do anything that would cause any problems, so was very cautious about the idea of trying to figure this out on my own (I'm old, this is my first e-toy, what can I say!). I searched online for "installing a microSDHC card in a nook" and there you were - first choice. Your instructions were fantastic. I appreciate your assistance, and thank you again for helping us all out!

Thanks, I have to echo other posters comments. B&N site was useless. Being an engineer myself hate to criticize other engineers, but that is a brain dead design.

B/.

Great instructions!
Thanks a lot, followed them and everything is fine!

Worked very goods thanks for the help!

Second Thank you

I as well want to thank you for spending time to help others! Good man!
Erwin

Yes, thank you very much for putting this info up. Shame on B&N for not putting ANY info up regarding this issue.

Thanks for the info. I have installed a 2gb card on my new nook and it does come up when nook is attached by USB. But how do I organize files on it? Should I create new content folders or move the current ones from the system drive?

Thank you for the information, I wish I would have found this before I paid a Best Buy tech. $40.00 to install a 8GB card. I am running into a possible problem when I go to settings it say Micro SD card 74.51MB is this correc? My total memory listed is 1.51 GB I wound have thought it would say 10GB. It seems like it is registering that a card is in place but not the correct GB.

Thank you for the information, I wish I would have found this before I paid a Best Buy tech. $40.00 to install a 8GB card. I am running into a possible problem when I go to settings it say Micro SD card 74.51MB is this correc? My total memory listed is 1.51 GB I wound have thought it would say 10GB. It seems like it is registering that a card is in place but not the correct GB.

Thank you for the information, I wish I would have found this before I paid a Best Buy tech. $40.00 to install a 8GB card. I am running into a possible problem when I go to settings it say Micro SD card 74.51MB is this correc? My total memory listed is 1.51 GB I wound have thought it would say 10GB. It seems like it is registering that a card is in place but not the correct GB.

I have the exact same problem of what Andrea is having. I tried formatting my 2GB Kingston Micro SD card in all possible formats and still i did not find any success in it. Also when i connect my nook to the laptop the micro sd card is not getting detected. But the microSD card works fine when i connect it to my card reader in the laptop.

Thanks in advance for your help.

WoW.. Finally I got my microsd work.

I bought a new 4GB class 4 MicroSD..
I formatted the Microsd to FAT32..
Then i put the microsd card in it to see if there was any change in the setting page of nook. I did not find any luck it was still showing 258MB total space instead of my 4GB.

Then i knew that there was something wrong which i was doing..

I thought the Complete power off for nook was just a single press. when i see my screensaver i usually install the microsd..

But this time i did a long press of power button till the screensaver too went off.. then started the nook again as my microsd was already in it. Checked the settings page and there it was.. 3.68GB of my 4GB recognized in the nook settings page ;)

Thanks author for the technical knowledge which you provided here ;)

Thanks for this tips. But I still have a problem. The nook doesnt seem to recognize the card. I called 1800thebook but no solution. Went to a local B&N store and they say its a glitch on the nook since both my nook and the demo nook in their store would not recognize the card: The card type is microSDHC class 4, 4G. Kingston. We formated the card to FAT16 it wouldnt work. FAT 32 wont work too. Removed the battery and waited for 5 minutes, still not working.
Hope in the next software update this issue would be resolved.

There is no problem with the SD card since it is recognized y my laptop. Hope this wont happen to others

I got it to work by formatting to the non default setting of something starting with N (four letters) Wow! If I can do this you all will have no trouble!

So if in insert a microSD card I can't save a book to it if I plan on lending that book or an image if I plan on using the image as a screensaver? Can you easily move books from the card back to the nook so that you can lend them?

i am having the same problem!!! what's the point of the ebook if you can't save it to a sd card?! what if i don't have internet and don't have my nook with me and want to read my book? it's pointless!

i moved files from my pc folders to the nook one and the 4gb card i put in.my pc says that their in the folders,but when i look on my nook their not there in the my documents or my b@n section.i was wondering if you could help me.

Worked like a charm. Thanks for the instructions.

Well done sir, great instructions, easily followed and perfectly accurate.

Eric and Bernz- I had the same issue with the documents on my sd card not being seen. It saw the card and at one point I was even able to read the files and listen to music and then all of a sudden the ability to do these things was gone. The card still showed in properties and when hooked up to a PC it showed the files but I wasn't able to access them via my Nook. Did anyone ever get a fix for this? Please let me know. Thanks -M

Me too!! I could read the files, then suddenly I couldn't - then I could again - now I can't. Anyone know what the heck is going on???

Excellent instructions. Better than most tech manuals! Barnes & Noble should be paying you for providing a service they SHOULD have provided in the first place! Thanks again!

How does one format the SD card to FAT16 or 32??

Quoting the author: "Ideally, you'll want to use a Class 6 microSD or Class 6 microSDHC card as these are faster than Class 4 cards, which in turn are faster than Class 2 cards."
Although the author is technically correct, the speed difference won't make any difference in Nook performance. A Class 2 SD will read at least 2Mb/sec. In other words, the WHOLE book in under 1 second. A Class 6 can read 3 times faster...not a big difference in a real-life scenario. You can save the price difference between a Class 2 and a Class 6, which is anywhere between 2 and 4 times the price.
Another clarification: "Note also that the card must be formatted with the FAT 32 or FAT (also known as FAT 16) file system".
Typically cards are pre-formated. If you absolutely NEED to reformat the card just click on My Computer, right click on the card drive icon and select FORMAT. You will be prompted to choose the type of formatting (FAT32 or FAT16).


Thanks all! To clarify, Barnes & Noble currently allows ebooks up to 20 MB in size through its PubIt and NookBook programs. Many illustrated books are 6 to 20 MB in size. For example, my book "The Kingdoms and the Elves of the Reaches IV" is 10525 KB and "Bugville Critters Have a Backyard Picnic" is 15964 KB. Magazines and newspapers optimized for NookColor will also be fairly large in size.

Thanks to you, I have succesfully installed a SD card in my nook. My question is: Now when I download a book or magazine, where will it go? Will I have to fill up the NOOK memory before data will go to the SD? Will I be given a choice of where to save the download?
thanks,
Bill

Nice right up.
Just a few points.
I am in agreement with FerK on the class 2 - it should be fast enough. The nook's primary use is for reading books - to state the obvious, not alot of speed needed in my opinion. A class 6 would be good for digital camera, smart phone etc. Save your cash unless you have excess.

Once I formatted a 8gb micro sdhc card using windows and it crapped out after that, it worked but kept on getting read/write errors and not displaying the actual size of the card.
Fixed it by using one of following to re-format(can not remember which one):
"SD Memory Card Formatting Software Ver.2.0" from Matsushita Electric Industrial Co Ltd (Panasonic)
or
"HP USB Disk Storage Format Tool"
I believe it was the Panasonic one, I have both on my pc you see, in any case they should not do any harm to your micro sdhc card.
Hope that helps out any one who has problems with their micro sdhc card after formatting using windows.

Thanks. For text-only files, with relatively small file size, it won't matter much whether you have a fast or slow card. The Nook and NookColor are both capable of displaying illustrated books, technical manuscripts, how-to guides and such that have fairly large file sizes (up to 20MB currently for books in PubIt and NookBook published books). Both the Nook and NookColor are capable of playing audio as well. You will have better performance with a faster card, obviously.

I, too, had a problem with my nook not recognizing the proper SDHC card size. In my case, a 4GB card was reported as 242MB. Yet, Win 7 reported it as (correctly) 3.96GB when I connected the nook to the PC.
The problem I believe originated with the card’s prior use in my Blackberry. I used Win 7’s quick format (under drive Properties) to re-format it. This didn’t work. Apparently, the nook is sensitive to format.
Per Anon.’s tip above (thank you Anonymous!), I found the SD Card Formatter at the SD Card Association’s site. It is the Panasonic one he used. NOTE: the default is a quick format – do not use this. Via the dropdown, select the Full Format option. It will take a few minutes depending on card size, of course.
Link: SD Association
I hope this helps anyone else with incorrect card size reporting.

Thank you! I must say this was the least traumatic tech upgrade ever thanks to your clear instructions. Thanks especially for clarifying the points where the hinges and clicks would happen- that would have been a bit scary without preparation.

Ok. so for the people having the microSD card recognition problem... follow the steps exactly... that means shut off your Nook before installing your card. then boot it back up. Viola! Card detected!

Excellent resource this. I searched for hours around the B&N site to no avail, then came across this thread. The HP USB format tool didn't work with my 8GB card, but the Panasonic tool worked 1st time. I'm disappointed with B&N, with so many people having similar issues, their silence and lack of participation in this thread does not help the many users at all. Perhaps Oreilly can drop them a note and suggest to B&N they offer the Panasonic solution to their users. Thanks again.

I didn't properly turn off my Nook the first time through but soon realized my mistake. Now I have over 9 GB of space. It could be years before I delete anything.

BTW, Adata 8 GB microSD Type 6 cards are only $13 at Fry's right now.

I have a slightly different issue. My PC will not recognize the card when installed in the Nook. So the Nook sees the card and utilizes it's memory, but the only way I can save to it is to remove the card and plug directly into the laptop. However using the USB cord, plug Nook into different PC and TADA! everything works fine. Bad driver or something perhaps with my laptop causing it not to recognize the card when installed in the Nook? Both laptop and PC are running W7.

Any help is much appreciated!

I found my issue. Hopefully someone else can use this info. Apparently since I had previously connected the Nook before adding the memory card, the USB driver wasn't correct. So with the Nook attached to the laptop via USB cable, I uninstalled the driver through Device Manager. When complete, I removed the USB cable and reinserted. The PC then reloaded the correct driver and voila, both drives are now available.

My wife got a Nook Color for XMAS.
I purchased a SanDisk Micro SDHC 32GB Class-6 and installed it. Initially I copied some Music and Video files to the Nook - just to "test things out" - and it worked fine. The SDHC was fully recognized as 32GB.

Today - I decided to erase the test stuff and put on some MP3's that my wife really wanted on the Nook and I kept getting intermittent falures during the Write process. At one point, the Nook gave me an error message that there was a Failure of the Memory Card and it told me to reformat it. After I reformatted it - it didn't recognize the memory card. So I physically removed the card and reinstalled it - then it was "ok".

Anyone have a similar experience ?
I have an Intel Core 2 Duo with WinXp SP3.

I'm going to get one of those SDHC USB adaptors and run the Memory Card directly into my computer and put a little "stress test" on it with a bunch or reads and writes and deletes etc. - to try to determine if it's the Nook or the Card.

I would like to think it's not the USB cable connnection into the bottom of the Nook.

yes my name is shawn and i have a question, i'm buying a microsdhc card for my nook and it's a 16 g, i cant see if it's one of the types listed, is there a way i can find that out?

Thank you

I recently installed an microSD card. I then loaded a bunch of music to my Nook. It looks like all of the content was installed in the internal memory of the Nook. Is there a way to move all of my music to the SD card and for it to still be recognized by the Nook (music files).

John,

The easiest way is connect the USB cable from the Nook to the USB port on your computer. Then go to "My Computer" and you will see both Nook Device and Nook SD Card. Just cut and past.

I have a Nook and put in a 16g chip. When I connect to the computer it see the chip. I put some of my music on the chip but the Nook does not see any of my music. Before I bother putting more on the chip - how does the nook access files that are there?

I had the same problem as everyone else, where the 4GB SD card would show just a small amount (252 MB).

I used the SD Formatter and everything is fixed.

See Post on November 13, 2010

Link: SD Association
I hope this helps anyone else with incorrect card size reporting.

Thanks, I probably wouldn't have figured it out if hadn't found this!

Thanks for answer! I've been looking for quite awhile on where to install the SD card.

I put in a 4 GB MicroSD card and my Nook recognized it. It is made by PNY. I hadn't read this blog prior to purchasing, so whew, it recognized it!

Long story...but I finally got my Nook to recognize the mircosd card BUT when i try to run the music which I downloaded onto the card I could not hear it. All my music is MP3, so I do not know what I did wrong...Thanks for any help. I have contacted the store and customer service and no help.

When it comes to MP3 music files, I've only had luck placing them all in the music folder. This is on the built-in memory of the Nook Classic. If I used subfolders for the music content, the Nook music player couldn't find it-- the files that were at the top-level internal storage could be played.
Good luck!

B & N replaced my original 3g Nook because of mysterious straight lines in bottom left corner of screen. Unregestering the old Nook and re-regestering new Nook attemptted to install my 8g SD card. Nook settings only saw 252mg on card. Found this cite and followed faithfully using my original SD (reformated several times) to no avail. Tried card from wife's Nook, shows 252mg of 8g card. Purchased new 4g card to try. No go. Took Nook to B & N store and the young Gentleman spent about an hour trying every thing I tried to no avail. He called their Support Center and after several trys per their instructions (to no avail) the Support unregistered the Nook and re-registered it. Installed 8g card. Nook recognized 7.29g and info on card can be displayed. So far so good.
Thanks to all for posts and info. Great blog!

I bought my wife one for Christmas, and she could never get the microSD to work, so I finally decided to hack at it last night. Some observations that may help; think of this as the fine print that no one ever published:

It should be turned completely off for insertion. The microSD can certainly handle hot-plugging, but the OS can't. It simply turns on RF and then looks for things on the card during POST. It is a drop-in slot, not slide-and-lock-in like RAM. There are features molded into the side of the card that mate with the socket, but no "snap". The SD should just rest flush. The metal lid should not offer any real resistance when closing, and just counters gravity so the card stays put. Readable documents on the card are in the "My Documents" location, under the 2nd tab from the left. It scans the root and sub-folders of the card, grouping everything together. I'm still working out what it really will read. epub and PDF so far, and some text files but not others. The music is indexed, and can take a while to be seen. Contrary to what I have read in other places, it is mp3 only, no m4a, m4e, wma, flac, ogg, ape, or anything else.

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