How to handle SD cards formatted as exFAT in Linux


Updated: December 8, 2014

If you're a Linux user, you may encounter this issue should you put your hands on an SD card with a capacity exceeding 32GB. In that case, most likely, the little piece of Flash memory will have been formatted with exFAT instead of plain FAT32, and the moment you insert the card into a laptop slot, the system will complain. No way to handle and mount this thingie, what now?

In this ultra-simple and short tutorial, I will show you how you can breeze your way through the problem. Really, it's almost too trivial to write about, but then big problems are just clusters of tiny problems, waiting to be resolved one at a time. Please follow me.

This is what happens

In my case, the victim host is an Ubuntu 14.04 instance, installed on my Asus ultrabook. And here, I wanted to check the brand new 64GB micro-SD card, which I've purchased for my GoPro camera. This is when the system threw an error:

Cannot mount exFAT

Solution

The fix is simple. You will just need to install several utilities, and after that, you will be able to use your large-capacity SDXC cards and other similar devices transparently. Namely, you will need the following, using Ubuntu and its package management as an example:

sudo apt-get install exfat-fuse exfat-utils

After that, it will all work fine. Then, you can manipulate the cards if you want, reformat them, change the partition table, or anything else you see fit. Easy peasy.

SD card mounted

Gparted

Conclusion

There you are. We have bridged yet another obstacle in the Linux world. Very simple and elegant. This is no different than fixing the sound problems, missing libraries, printing and other woes that a Linux user may encounter. But one by one, we are nailing them down.

Do not be afraid of big error messages. They are ugly, and they should probably not be shown to the user in such verbosity, but they sure help us understand the problem, which then makes the solution that much easier. Like what we had today. Enjoy.

Cheers.

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