How to clone your SD card for Retro Handhelds

In this guide, I’ll be going over how to properly clone your SD card to use in your brand new retro handheld.

Why clone it?

The “right” way to do all of this is to use a brand new SD card, and image the card with whatever firmware you want, even stock firmware. But, some people don’t want to do that and they just want to clone it as it comes.

There’s a few reasons: first, the SD card that comes with the device is usually junk. You’ll notice it’s unbranded, low quality and extremely prone to failure. You’re on borrowed time and so the recommendation is to use a branded SD card.

Now, the reason it’s recommended to do everything from scratch, is that even the ROMs have issues. You’ll notice it very quickly in Pokemon where you can’t save, or you can’t progress through certain parts of the game. This isn’t limited to Pokemon. So the recommendation is to curate your own ROM library as well.

But, for those of you just wanting the quick and dirty solution, let me help.

Preparation

For preparation, you’re going to need an SD card reader that has two slots, or two SD card readers. I’ve done this many times using this UGREEN SD Card Reader and highly recommend it – one slot will be the usual MicroSD, and the other you’ll need to use the included adapter that usually comes with the cards with the second MicroSD card inside.

For MicroSD sizes and recommendations, check this list here.

Cloning the right way

First thing you’re going to want to do is download and install DiskGenius. Download button right at the top right of that page.

Go through the install with all the default settings, then launch DiskGenius.

Select Tools from the top and Clone DIsk.

You’ll now get a list of drives and disks on your computer. Select your source disk, so the MicroSD card that came with the device or the one you want to clone from.

You’ll now get another popup to select your target disk, and now you want to select the brand new MicroSD card that you want to clone to.

Make sure that copy all sectors is checked.

Click Start and you’ll get a warning, you can click OK.

This will take some time, so just let it do it’s thing.

After the cloning is done, you might have a scenario where you have a lot of empty, unused space. For example, if you cloned a 16GB card to a 256GB card, there’s probably over 200GB of space that right now, isn’t being used and you don’t have access to. Ideally, you’d want that to be used by your ROMs partition. Let’s do that.

This will be different for every single device, and firmware, but you want to find out which of your partitions is the SD card partition. Sometimes you might get lucky, and there’s only one partition, and so we can extend that, but other times you could see 5, 6, 7 or more partitions.

Eject all of your SD cards, then connect the one that we cloned to, so the branded, proper SD card and open DiskGenius. Select it on the left side.

Looking at that list, I can tell that the EASYROMS partition, which is currently my J drive, is where my ROMs are. Right click the partition and select Extend Partition.

It should automatically expand, and you can tell by comparing the 1.0GB to the new 105.54GB in the screenshot below.

Go ahead and click Start. Click yes to any warnings.

And you’re done! If you check that partition now, compared to previously, you’ll see it’s now using all of your space and you can now transfer more ROMs and files over!

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