Been laid up in bed for 4-5 days with a normal winter flu, so spent some time helping my Dad out with his new Win8 tablet. I stumbled across the
most annoying and - on the surface - ridiculous behaviour that's in both Windows 7 and Windows 8. This particular behaviour highlights a serious problem inside of Microsoft - cultural, technical, organisational (probably all of the above) - that will stymie their ability to create world class products.
Win7/Win8 has this feature called Libraries, which essentially are shortcuts to all your files - Documents, Pictures, Music, Videos. This is where you put all your files, but if you have more than one location, you can add them all. That way your documents or pictures might be sourced from several places.
Increasingly, media apps use this location for all their sources. And in Windows 8, the default apps for Pictures, Music and Video only
use this location.
The problem is that Libraries have a twist: one cannot add an SD card, a USB key or a network drive to the libraries. The reason? Officially? Because the locations are not indexed. Basically, the Windows Indexing service doesn't index these locations, so you can't add them.
Doesn't sound so bad, right? Well - wait till you buy a Windows 8 PC with limited hard disk space. Thankfully
you often get an SD card slot, so you can through 32Gb or 64GB more space. But oh-no
you can't actually use
it for anything particularly useful!
If you put your photos on there...no photos for you. Music files? Nope, the Win8 Music player can't play files from a non-library location. Videos are the same.
Now on the surface this just looks plain stupid. Team A builds the Libraries, Team B builds apps that rely on them, Team C design Surface with an SD card. None of the teams talk (or are aren't incentivised to). Consumer loses, people shrug and say "that's Windows for you". However, it goes into plain-old-insane
when you look at the workaround.
What you have to do is
* Create a Virtual Hard Disk on it (ideally the same size)
* Set up a job to auto-mount the Virtual Hard Disk at start up.
* Add the new drive to the Indexing locations
From that point on, you can then add folders and files normally and it behaves as you'd expect. (full instructions here http://mattblogsit.com/windows/configure-surface-to-use-microsd-as-primary-storage
What. Were. They. Thinking.
So I can trick Windows into doing....what it should be able to do in the first place, via a complicated technical path. Ergo, either the rules for Libraries not using SD cards are esoteric and not needed, or they're not tight enough. Alternatively if the Virtual Disk solution somehow fixes the core technical problem , someone in Microsoft never came up with the idea of creating a dialog that says "SD card detected. Do you want to make this just work