Computer won't recognise 4GB cards

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by railfan, Aug 18, 2008.

  1. railfan

    railfan Guest

    My computer is several years old and works fine so I don't want to
    replace it yet. It has a multi card reader built in, and I've always
    downloaded my digital images this way. It won't recognise cards
    larger than 2GB, and I understand that such cards use the FAT 32
    format, smaller ones use FAT 16 or ?. I tried two different 4GB SD
    cards and nothing at all happens when they are inserted into the slot.

    I mentioned this to a fellow recently who said he was a computer tech,
    suggested I get a separate card reader, plug it into the USB slot and
    it should download 4GB (or larger) cards. I can't see how a card
    reader could do this, but there possibly could be something to it.
    Perhaps there are electronics in a reader that would process the
    images?

    Anyone know if this does work? It's not really a big deal because the
    2GB cards I use have yet to be filled by my three different digital
    cameras (one DSLR, one ZLR and one point and shoot), but I would like
    to have the option of using bigger cards if I needed to in the future.

    Thanks!

    Bob B
    railfan, Aug 18, 2008
    #1
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  2. railfan <> wrote:
    >My computer is several years old and works fine so I don't want to
    >replace it yet. It has a multi card reader built in, and I've always
    >downloaded my digital images this way. It won't recognise cards
    >larger than 2GB, and I understand that such cards use the FAT 32
    >format, smaller ones use FAT 16 or ?


    Possibly. With the de-facto standard 512B sector size FAT16 cannot
    address more than 2GB. While FAT16 can be formatted using larger sector
    sizes this is quite uncommon (some old magneto-optical media come to
    mind). So yes, for larger partitions typically FAT32 is used.
    But there is nothing stopping anyone from using FAT32 for smaller
    partitions, either.

    >I tried two different 4GB SD
    >cards and nothing at all happens when they are inserted into the slot.


    This is your problem. The original SD 1.x standard specified the maximum
    size of an SD card as 2GB. Therefore until very recently there was no
    legitimate 4GB SD card. You either got
    - an SDHC card, which cannot be read by SD-only readers
    - a proprietary extension of SD created by some manufacturers, which may
    or may not work on a given reader
    - or recently the SD consortium changed the spec for SD to allow block
    sizes larger than 512GB but of course your older card reader won't know
    about that and won't be able to handle those cards.

    >I mentioned this to a fellow recently who said he was a computer tech,
    >suggested I get a separate card reader, plug it into the USB slot and
    >it should download 4GB (or larger) cards. I can't see how a card
    >reader could do this, but there possibly could be something to it.


    A newer card reader should(!) be SDHC or SD 2.0 compliant and understand
    the new format for SDHC and/or SD with a block size over 512B.

    >Perhaps there are electronics in a reader that would process the
    >images?


    No. A card reader is a dumb device, that simply presents a memory card
    as an external drive to the computer. It doesn't know anything about the
    data that is stored on a card.

    jue
    Jürgen Exner, Aug 18, 2008
    #2
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  3. railfan

    ASAAR Guest

    On Mon, 18 Aug 2008 13:21:30 -0700 (PDT), railfan wrote:

    > My computer is several years old and works fine so I don't want to
    > replace it yet. It has a multi card reader built in, and I've always
    > downloaded my digital images this way. It won't recognise cards
    > larger than 2GB, and I understand that such cards use the FAT 32
    > format, smaller ones use FAT 16 or ?. I tried two different 4GB SD
    > cards and nothing at all happens when they are inserted into the slot.
    >
    > I mentioned this to a fellow recently who said he was a computer tech,
    > suggested I get a separate card reader, plug it into the USB slot and
    > it should download 4GB (or larger) cards. I can't see how a card
    > reader could do this, but there possibly could be something to it.
    > Perhaps there are electronics in a reader that would process the
    > images?
    >
    > Anyone know if this does work? It's not really a big deal because the
    > 2GB cards I use have yet to be filled by my three different digital
    > cameras (one DSLR, one ZLR and one point and shoot), but I would like
    > to have the option of using bigger cards if I needed to in the future.


    Possibly. It may also be that your 4GB card really isn't SD, but
    is one of the newer SDHC cards that aren't quite compatible with
    older SD hardware. To alleviate this problem, Sandisk includes a
    small USB-SDHC adapter with some of their 4GB cards. Mine came with
    a 4GB Ultra II SDHC card. Without it, my fairly new HP computer
    wasn't able to access the card. With the adapter, I can read from
    and write to the card with no problems. If this is causing your
    problem and the card reader recommended by the computer tech. guy
    also supports SDHC cards, it should help. If the problem is caused
    by your computer not being compatible with formats greater than 2GB,
    you could try the card reader, but try to buy it from a store that
    allows full refunds if it doesn't work. I had that problem about 2
    years ago and was able to return the card reader to Staples without
    any difficulty. I think (not sure) that Circuit City has the same
    return policy, as long as returns are made in a timely manner.
    ASAAR, Aug 18, 2008
    #3
  4. railfan

    Matt Ion Guest

    Jürgen Exner wrote:

    >> I mentioned this to a fellow recently who said he was a computer tech,
    >> suggested I get a separate card reader, plug it into the USB slot and
    >> it should download 4GB (or larger) cards. I can't see how a card
    >> reader could do this, but there possibly could be something to it.

    >
    > A newer card reader should(!) be SDHC or SD 2.0 compliant and understand
    > the new format for SDHC and/or SD with a block size over 512B.


    Dollars to donuts, this is the problem... but be careful in shopping for
    that new reader, that it specifically says it supports SDHC. Many new
    (cheap) ones still don't, and that'll put you right back where you
    started. You can go for a super-all-in-one-multi-card reader, but since
    you already have one and SDHC is your only problem, you can probably get
    away with just picking up one specifically for your needs (note: and
    SDHC reader should be backward-compatible with SD and MMC as well).
    Matt Ion, Aug 19, 2008
    #4
  5. railfan

    Bob AZ Guest

    > Anyone know if this does work? �It's not really a big deal because the
    > 2GB cards I use have yet to be filled by my three different digital
    > cameras (one DSLR, one ZLR and one point and shoot), but I would like
    > to have the option of using bigger cards if I needed to in the future.
    >
    > Thanks!
    >
    > Bob B


    Bob

    Whatever the brand of the camera it is likely it included a file to
    download directly from the camera to the computer. There should have
    been a USB cord for this included with the camera. If not there will
    be one on Ebay.

    Bob AZ
    Bob AZ, Aug 19, 2008
    #5
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