DEFY XT: Move as Many Apps As Possible to the SD card (original version for Windows computers)


[This is not a new post; this the former version of the similarly named section of this blog post. It’s been given a home here for those who want to know more about what’s going on, and for those concerned about the security warnings that come with the custom program that makes this complexity unnecessary. And because such a work of art should not be forever lost. I would urge anyone who attempts and fails to complete this method, to use the new program described here instead.]


  • Windows computer with Java installed. Visit if you don’t have it, and just click through to download and install “Java for Windows”. (Mind that you don’t accidentally install some toolbar in your browser while doing this - watch for checkboxes that need un-checking!)
  • Motorola’s drivers installed on the computer. If the drivers aren’t installed, you are usually prompted to run a setup program for those drivers when you connect the phone to a computer via USB. If you’re not sure about this, or you have Windows 8, see the following: DEFY XT: Install the Motorola Drivers in Windows


  1. Install the Android SDK Tools on a computer, as follows:
  2. Go to Android SDK | Android Developers.
  3. Scroll to the bottom of that page and click “Download for other platforms”
  4. Scroll down and under “SDK Tools Only”, click the file that starts with “installer”.
  5. When the download completes run it. Click Next for each setup question, but when you see the one shown below, click the bullet for “Install for anyone using this computer” before clicking Next. Android SDK installer 1.png
  6. When all questions have been answered, click the Install button.
  7. On the final screen with the Finish button, allow the SDK Manager to start (leave the checkbox checked).android sdk installer 2.png
  8. In the SDK Manager:
  9. Click Deselect All (1), then check the box for “Android SDK Platform-tools” (2), and finally click the “Install 1 package…” button (3).Android SDK setup 1.png
  10. On the next window, click the bullet for “Accept license” and then click the Install button.
  11. On the phone, from Settings, tap Applications, then Development, and check the box to enable USB debugging.
  12. Connect the phone to the computer with the USB cable.
  13. On the computer, open a Command Prompt window as follows:
  • Windows XP / Vista / 7: Click Start / All Programs / Accessories / Command Prompt
  • Windows 8: Move the mouse to the lower left screen corner, right-click it, then click Command Prompt
  1. In the Command Prompt window, enter the three commands exactly as shown below depending on your version of Windows. Be careful not to add spaces or change capitalization if you’re typing, or use copy and paste.

32-bit Windows
cd /d %programfiles%\android\android-sdk\platform-tools

adb shell pm setInstallLocation 2

adb shell pm getInstallLocation

64-bit Windows
cd /d %programfiles(x86)%\android\android-sdk\platform-tools

adb shell pm setInstallLocation 2

adb shell pm getInstallLocation

After the commands are entered, your Command Prompt window should look similar to this:

Command Prompt.png

  1. On the phone, from Settings, tap Applications, then Development, and un-check the box for USB debugging.


  • Return to the Move Apps To The SD Card section above and see if more apps are now listed on the tab as movable to SD.
  • Some apps that should not be moved to the SD card may now be movable. Don’t move launchers, apps with widgets you use, or apps that must run at startup.
  • The above procedure only needs to be done one time, unless you factory reset the phone.
  • If you installed Java and the SDK tools just for the purpose of making this change, you may uninstall them if you like. If you keep Java on the computer, be sure you keep it updated in order to maintain your computer’s security. (out-of-date Java is frequently a point-of-entry for the bad guys to gain control of your computer.)


Has anybody actually managed to do this? All I get is invalid directory when I attempt the cd command. Let’s not forget /d throws “invalid switch”. Working with Vista 32 bit. So I manage to get all the way to android-sdk using Progra~1\android\androi~1 How do you get to platform-tools? Shift key right click the folder in explorer? NOPE! Attempt the ~1 trick and get platforms. Rename platforms temporarily & still no go. Seriously has anyone managed to do this? I renames the platform-tools directory & did get to it from the command prompt but of course the adb command will not start the server. Surprise surprise.


Please use these instructions instead: Move As Many Apps As Possible To The SD Card. There you just download a Windows app that does everything in far less time and eliminates the difficulty you’ve encountered.


carlh — tried the way you just referenced a couple days ago. So simple. You’re the MAN!


Just did this with my Moto E. Freed up quite a bit of space. Thanks!


Just curious @michaelw.gjfmsn, before doing this, were you seriously out of room after having moved apps that could be moved to SD? How much space were you able to free from moving additional apps after this change?

I guess you figured out that the syntax suggested above is slightly different on the Moto E…i.e.

setInstallLocation becomes set-install-location

getInstallLocation becomes get-install-location


Hey Carl,

Between your article and this one, I was able to figure out what needed to be done on the E:

Before the tweak, I had moved all the apps I could to SD and was left with about 890MB~ on my internal storage. Which is enough, but the fact that I was unable to move several apps that I felt I should be able to move really annoyed me, so I did this tweak which only took about 5 minutes. After doing it, I was able to move all non-protected apps I don’t need on startup to SD, and jumped from the 890MB to 1.21GB on the internal (plus I disabled Google Play Books and other related Google apps I will never use). Tested the moved apps, and everything works great.


Thanks, that is good to know. I’ve been wondering how soon before more than a handful of folks actually run into trouble because of apps that won’t move. Your figure of 300 MB improvement is a bit better than I’d anticipate given that you weren’t in dire straits yet.