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Summary:

So I took delivery of that new Canon EOS Rebel T1i this week. I bought the DSLR, because it supports high-definition video recording. Yet, you haven’t seen any sample videos just yet. Have you wondered why? For some reason, the 16GB SD memory card I was […]

sdformatterSo I took delivery of that new Canon EOS Rebel T1i this week. I bought the DSLR, because it supports high-definition video recording. Yet, you haven’t seen any sample videos just yet. Have you wondered why?

For some reason, the 16GB SD memory card I was using suddenly got hosed. I’m not blaming the new camera because I’ve had this same problem with the older XSi that the T1i replaced and I’ve even seen it happen with my Kodak Zi6. I can’t determine the exact cause, but at random times, the cameras simply can’t read the card. They know the card is there, but the files can’t be seen nor can I format the card using the camera. Essentially, the memory card becomes utterly useless…and so does the camera I’m trying use.

I formatted the hosed card a number of times on both my Mac and PCs. The formatting always did what it was supposed to: the computers were able to read and write to the card with no issue. However, the camera still couldn’t see the card. I tend to swap and use this card on all three cameras plus I’m mounting the card back and forth on PCs and a Mac, so I’m likely causing the issue. Regardless of the cause, I was all set to make a Best Buy run for a new card, when I tried one, last-ditch solution. And it worked.

I hit up the official SD Association web site looking for any help and I found a free utility called SD Formatter. The software is supported on Microsoft Windows 2000, XP and Vista, but I used it on the release candidate of Windows 7 without a hitch. All the software does is format SD memory cards but it “complies with the official SD memory card requirements.” That was enough credibility for me to try it.

I’m assuming that based on the options I chose (Full Format, Erase On) that the application does a byte-level format based on the real-time status, and because of the lengthy amount of time it took to format the 16GB card. I didn’t time it, but I’d guess that it ran for at least 45 minutes. Once completed, the card finally worked again in my Ti1. Going forward, I think I’ll only use this card in the T1i and in a card reader with my MacBook. I do my photo and video processing on a Mac, so I’ll take the PC and other cameras out of the equation to see if I gain some stability.

While I can’t guarantee that SD Formatter will “save” your hosed SD cards, it’s free to try and just might save you from tossing out that memory.

  1. interesting. do you think it will be able to revive my 8gb usb flash drive? i’ll give it a go when i get home. see if my 8gb drive can be resurrected from the dead.

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  2. I see this SD card problem all the time which I suspect is due to the SDHC format and the very large capacities. Does this utility work if Windows can’t mount the card as a drive? I’ve seen that problem too and it’s hard to recover from when you can’t see the drive.

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  3. James do you see flash drives as partitions in the s/w? i have a drive which i can see as a drive on my computer but i cant open it nor can i format it. I don’t have the drive on me as of now , but will try it later next week when i get back home.

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  4. james, deathwisher… that’s exactly my issue with 8gb usb drive. do you think this software will work on it? i am praying it will…

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  5. When I first got my 500D I would copy the pictures off and then delete yhem on my PC. After loosing the card several times my son told me to format the card in the camera and not to perform any write actions on the PC. Ho told em that writing to a mem vard on the PC was diabolical.

    Had three cards and never had a problem since then. That was over 2 years ago.

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  6. I used to have this same problem with my old pocket pc – cards formatted by my notebook wouldn’t be recognized by the pocket pc, despite both devices running Windows and the SD card using a common file system. I eventually solved the issue by formatting the SD card (regular 2GB) from within the pocket pc, and when I needed to move files I would dock the device with SD card inserted and use activesync.

    Kind of defeats the purpose of having removable memory, but until MS solves the issue, it’s the only way I’m able to move files between devices. Bummer!

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  7. For the seven years that I have been using numerous digital cameras (with different memory cards), I have always followed the advice of formatting cards in the camera and never on a PC.

    –Ken

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  8. deathwisher Sunday, May 24, 2009

    neolex, ill keep you updated if it does work, but like i said ill be back to my house in maybe tomorrow , so if it does work for you before then , then lemme know, is your 8gig drive a transcend by any chance?

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    1. that is correct. it’s a transcend jetflash v10 8GB stick.

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  9. deathwisher Sunday, May 24, 2009

    oh..ok… i did a bit of research a time back n found out that there was a batch of flash drives with were all faulty n all the jetflash v where the affected ones so both of us have the same problem.tell me if it works for u…

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    1. nope. it didn’t work for me. the stick won’t even light up when i plug it in. although windows shows a “removable drive” in explorer, i can’t even touch it. it keeps telling to insert a disk into drive. oh, well… it was worth a try. thanks.

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  10. deathwisher Sunday, May 24, 2009

    thats bad news… anyways ill give a try later… n tell u if the outcome is differnt for me… tc..

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