Thursday, 20 February 2014

Android Checks My SD Card Forever

My Android 4.0 tablet, though not being the latest and greatest, still works fine. One thing isn’t so fine: it takes as long as a PC to start up - or even longer. I found out that once the boot process has completed, Android checks my SD card and this goes on for several minutes. I’ve reformatted the SD card but to no avail. Is my SD card broken or could this be something else?

Your card could of course be broken or deteriorating, but before changing the hardware, let’s look at the software. Android uses a so-called ‘Media partition’ and ‘Cache partition’. These are like partitions (read: ‘disc drive letters’) on Windows and are hidden from use and only accessible by Android in normal circumstances.

Wiping both these partitions clean is quite likely to solve your issue - unless of course indeed your SD card is broken, but you could test that on another device (tablet, PC, whatever). In a Windows environment, you could use the freeware ‘h2testw’ program to thoroughly test an SD card or other flash memory like a USB stick. Google the program - you’ll find ample download locations.

Back to Android. You’ll need to start the device so that you wind up in its boot menu. On some tablets/phones this is done by
  • powering off the device
  • powering it on by pressing the power and ‘vol +’ keys simultaneously for 5 seconds
  • and releasing both keys after 5 seconds
On your device, the key combination might be different; consult your manual or the support section on the manufacturer’s website.

Android will now show its boot menu, which consists entirely of text. You’ll see different options there; navigate up and down by pressing the ‘vol -‘ and ‘vol +’ keys, and select an option by briefly pressing the power key. You will want to select the options that look like ‘Format media’ and ‘Format cache’ or something similar. After doing these two, select the reboot option; rebooting should now happen a lot faster and you should no longer have to wait for the SD card to become available.

CAUTION: make sure you don’t select a wrong option from the boot menu. The two aforementioned ones don’t affect your installed apps and data, but other options in that menu can be destructive!

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