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How often to reformat CF cards

 
 
Mark B.
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      09-01-2004
"Ron Hunter" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote in message
news:(E-Mail Removed)...
> Mark B. wrote:
>
> > "Sammy" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote in message
> > news:JAdZc.288883$J06.160630@pd7tw2no...
> >
> >>Just wondering if there is a rule of thumb on when and how often you
> >>should reformat CF memory cards? I have a 256 meg Sandisk card and I
> >>would hate to have it seize up when I go on holidays.
> >>
> >>

> >
> >
> > I reformat each time I erase the images.
> >
> > Mark
> >
> >

> Why? Nothing is gained by this exercise.


To each their own. I've been doing this since I started using digital
cameras, and never have trouble with CF cards. Erase, then format in camera
is my procedure. Sometimes I erase in the reader, sometimes in the camera.
But I always format in camera.

Mark


 
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Ken Scharf
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Posts: n/a
 
      09-02-2004
David J Taylor wrote:
> Roland Karlsson wrote:
> []
>
>>Same here - I am somewhat puzzled by the question.
>>Why should I reformat? What happens with the Compact
>>Flash card when I do that? Is any need for refomatting
>>for real or just a myth?
>>
>>
>>/Roland

>
>
> I wouldn't put it as strongly as "need", my word is "recommendation".
>
> People have observed a slow-down in card operation if formatting is not
> used, but that's not to say that you will see a slow-down with your
> equipment.
>
> Cheers,
> David
>
>

Flash memory can be writen a limited number of cycles, then
it will fail. Early cards had a limit of maybe 1000 cycles,
newer ones more than 10000 cycles. (Some of the latest
crop might go as far as 1,000,000 cycles). Reformating will
involve ALL of the memory cells on the card, just deleting
files will only cycle a portion of the card. If the file
system marks areas as bad so that a partially defective
card is still servicible then not constantly reformating
might yeild a longer life time to a flash card.

Perhaps the question here is, has anybody yet 'used up'
a card yet? (or do they just get obsolete first as denser
ones and newer cameras come out?)
 
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Ron Hunter
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      09-02-2004
Frank ess wrote:

> David Dyer-Bennet wrote:
>
>>"Sammy" <(E-Mail Removed)> writes:
>>
>>
>>>Just wondering if there is a rule of thumb on when and how often you
>>>should reformat CF memory cards? I have a 256 meg Sandisk card and I
>>>would hate to have it seize up when I go on holidays.

>>
>>I reformat my cards in the camera before every use. It's the quickest
>>and easiest way to clear it, it makes sure the format is valid when I
>>start a session, and it puts off clearing the card as long as possible
>>so if I mess something up bad on my computer I may still have the
>>photos on the memory card.

>
>
> That's what I was going to say. So I won't bother. Besides, I see there
> is a Ron-Hunter out there and I wouldn't want to look like a vulnerable
> Ron to be pounced-upon.
>
> --
> Frank ess
>
>

No, I also leave the pictures on the card until I have looked at all of
them on the computer, and backed them up to at least one other HD. I
always then delete them from the computer using a card reader. The
camera takes too long to do this. I have never formatted any of my SD
cards. All worked on first insertion into the camera/card reader.
 
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Ron Hunter
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Posts: n/a
 
      09-02-2004
Roland Karlsson wrote:

> Gerald Ross <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote in news:41362c17_6
> @corp.newsgroups.com:
>
>
>>I have used the same cards for 4 years without formating. Never had any
>>problems. Just ignorance I guess. Never knew you should, if you should.
>>

>
>
> Same here - I am somewhat puzzled by the question.
> Why should I reformat? What happens with the Compact
> Flash card when I do that? Is any need for refomatting
> for real or just a myth?
>
>
> /Roland


There might be some need if you use them in several different devices.
Some might not be stardard.
 
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Ron Hunter
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      09-02-2004
David J Taylor wrote:

> Ron Hunter wrote:
> []
>
>>It is obvious you don't understand how a FAT table works. If the file
>>is deleted, the space is available, and used. If you leave files
>>undeleted, then that space isn't reused (what a mess that would make).
>>Formatting merely zeros out the FAT, and the directory entries are
>>tagged as deleted, and the directory structure the camera likes is
>>written to the card.
>>
>>It is true that WinXP will format cards with the wrong FAT type if you
>>don't specify, and, of course, won't write the directory structure the
>>camera expects to the card.

>
>
> Actually, I do understand FAT, having written low-level utilities to read
> FAT disks.
>
> As I said, it depends on the OS as to what it does to delete files, but
> deleting all files and formatting may not have the same result, as
> evidenced by the person who reported a slowdown when only using "delete
> files".
>
> As you claim to understand XP, parhaps you can tell us how to format a
> small memory card (e.g. 4MB) in FAT-16 rather than FAT-12.
>
> Cheers,
> David
>
>

Never had to do that, but it can be done, using Windows Explorer. Not
having a small card, I can't test.
 
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Ron Hunter
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      09-02-2004
David J Taylor wrote:

> http://www.velocityreviews.com/forums/(E-Mail Removed) wrote:
>
>>Michael Meissner <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
>>
>>
>>>What you gain is no fragmentation in the filesystem.

>>
>>It depends on the kind of card. For CF cards, fragmentation is a
>>non-issue because the cards are random-access -- there are no 'seek'
>>times.

>
>
> But if the file is split into fragments, multiple I/O operations are
> required by the file system, so access will be slower. On the relatively
> slow processors used in cameras this may be noticeable.
>
> David
>
>

I suspect what slows some cameras in this case is looking for the next
available directory entry because they don't reuse the ones marked
'deleted' (they should). As you said, many camera processors are quite
slow.
 
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Ron Hunter
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Posts: n/a
 
      09-02-2004
Mark B. wrote:

> "Ron Hunter" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote in message
> news:(E-Mail Removed)...
>
>>Mark B. wrote:
>>
>>
>>>"Sammy" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote in message
>>>news:JAdZc.288883$J06.160630@pd7tw2no...
>>>
>>>
>>>>Just wondering if there is a rule of thumb on when and how often you
>>>>should reformat CF memory cards? I have a 256 meg Sandisk card and I
>>>>would hate to have it seize up when I go on holidays.
>>>>
>>>>
>>>
>>>
>>>I reformat each time I erase the images.
>>>
>>>Mark
>>>
>>>

>>
>>Why? Nothing is gained by this exercise.

>
>
> To each their own. I've been doing this since I started using digital
> cameras, and never have trouble with CF cards. Erase, then format in camera
> is my procedure. Sometimes I erase in the reader, sometimes in the camera.
> But I always format in camera.
>
> Mark
>
>

Yes, and it keeps the elephants out of your yard, too. Grin.
 
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Paul J Gans
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Posts: n/a
 
      09-02-2004
Ron Hunter <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
>Mark B. wrote:


>> "Sammy" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote in message
>> news:JAdZc.288883$J06.160630@pd7tw2no...
>>
>>>Just wondering if there is a rule of thumb on when and how often you
>>>should reformat CF memory cards? I have a 256 meg Sandisk card and I
>>>would hate to have it seize up when I go on holidays.
>>>
>>>

>>
>>
>> I reformat each time I erase the images.
>>
>> Mark
>>
>>

>Why? Nothing is gained by this exercise.


What is the alternative? Laboriously delete photos in
the camera one by one? Or connect the card to the
computer and delete them using the computer?

Speaking for myself, I've been impressed by the tales
of folks who have used their computers to reformat their
cards or erase files. So I don't do it. I let the
camera do its thing.

---- Paul J. Gans
 
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Paul J Gans
Guest
Posts: n/a
 
      09-02-2004
Ken Scharf <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
>David J Taylor wrote:
>> Roland Karlsson wrote:
>> []
>>
>>>Same here - I am somewhat puzzled by the question.
>>>Why should I reformat? What happens with the Compact
>>>Flash card when I do that? Is any need for refomatting
>>>for real or just a myth?
>>>
>>>
>>>/Roland

>>
>>
>> I wouldn't put it as strongly as "need", my word is "recommendation".
>>
>> People have observed a slow-down in card operation if formatting is not
>> used, but that's not to say that you will see a slow-down with your
>> equipment.
>>
>> Cheers,
>> David
>>
>>

>Flash memory can be writen a limited number of cycles, then
>it will fail. Early cards had a limit of maybe 1000 cycles,
>newer ones more than 10000 cycles. (Some of the latest
>crop might go as far as 1,000,000 cycles). Reformating will
>involve ALL of the memory cells on the card, just deleting
>files will only cycle a portion of the card. If the file
>system marks areas as bad so that a partially defective
>card is still servicible then not constantly reformating
>might yeild a longer life time to a flash card.


>Perhaps the question here is, has anybody yet 'used up'
>a card yet? (or do they just get obsolete first as denser
>ones and newer cameras come out?)


Reformatting in the camera, as far as I know, does what
is called a "high level" format. The only areas it
writes are the directories. There's no need for other
markers in a CF card.

As for cycles, I tend to fill my cards fairly full. If
my camera lives long enough for 10,000 cycles, I'll be
a happy camper. One format per day is over 27 years...

On second thought, considering my age, I'll crump out
before the card will.

---- Paul J. Gans
 
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John McWilliams
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Posts: n/a
 
      09-02-2004
Ron Hunter wrote:

> David J Taylor wrote:
>
>> (E-Mail Removed) wrote:
>>
>>> Michael Meissner <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
>>>
>>>
>>>> What you gain is no fragmentation in the filesystem.
>>>
>>>
>>> It depends on the kind of card. For CF cards, fragmentation is a
>>> non-issue because the cards are random-access -- there are no 'seek'
>>> times.

>>
>>
>>
>> But if the file is split into fragments, multiple I/O operations are
>> required by the file system, so access will be slower. On the
>> relatively slow processors used in cameras this may be noticeable.
>>
>> David
>>

> I suspect what slows some cameras in this case is looking for the next
> available directory entry because they don't reuse the ones marked
> 'deleted' (they should). As you said, many camera processors are quite
> slow.


Q.E.D.

Reformatting the card, in the camera, just before use, provides the best
solution in the best of all possible worlds.

--
John McWilliams
 
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