How often to reformat CF cards

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Sammy, Sep 1, 2004.

  1. Sammy

    Sammy Guest

    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.
     
    Sammy, Sep 1, 2004
    #1
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  2. "Sammy" <> 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.
    --
    David Dyer-Bennet, <mailto:>, <http://www.dd-b.net/dd-b/>
    RKBA: <http://noguns-nomoney.com/> <http://www.dd-b.net/carry/>
    Pics: <http://dd-b.lighthunters.net/> <http://www.dd-b.net/dd-b/SnapshotAlbum/>
    Dragaera/Steven Brust: <http://dragaera.info/>
     
    David Dyer-Bennet, Sep 1, 2004
    #2
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  3. Sammy

    John J Guest

    >
    > 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.
    > --

    Same here
    JJ
     
    John J, Sep 1, 2004
    #3
  4. Sammy

    Mark B. Guest

    "Sammy" <> 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
     
    Mark B., Sep 1, 2004
    #4
  5. Mark B. wrote:
    > "Sammy" <> 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


    Same here, and I make sure to reformat in the Camera, not in the PC.

    Cheers,
    David
     
    David J Taylor, Sep 1, 2004
    #5
  6. Sammy

    YoYo Guest

    I reformat (in camera) after CF is full
    and I copied all pics to cd. And my
    cards just keep working fine....

    "Sammy" <> 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.
    >
    >
     
    YoYo, Sep 1, 2004
    #6
  7. Sammy

    Ron Hunter Guest

    Mark B. wrote:

    > "Sammy" <> 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.
     
    Ron Hunter, Sep 1, 2004
    #7
  8. Sammy

    Ron Hunter Guest

    David J Taylor wrote:

    > Mark B. wrote:
    >
    >>"Sammy" <> 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

    >
    >
    > Same here, and I make sure to reformat in the Camera, not in the PC.
    >
    > Cheers,
    > David
    >
    >

    A better choice, since reformatting in the camera is much safer, and
    takes less time (at least on MY camera) than deleting all files. But
    the end result is the same.
     
    Ron Hunter, Sep 1, 2004
    #8
  9. Ron Hunter wrote:
    []
    >> Same here, and I make sure to reformat in the Camera, not in the PC.
    >>
    >> Cheers,
    >> David
    >>
    >>

    > A better choice, since reformatting in the camera is much safer, and
    > takes less time (at least on MY camera) than deleting all files. But
    > the end result is the same.


    No, erasing files will still leave the directory entries present, whereas
    formatting may not. With a freshly formatted card, new data will be added
    from the beginning contiguously. With a users (but erased) card, the
    operating system may avoid areas where existing files are stored, thus
    potentially fragmenting the stored files (eventually possibly resulting in
    reduced card capacity because of the greater number of directory
    entries)..

    By the way: I did see one report of Windows formatting a low-capacity card
    as FAT-12 instead of FAT-16, rendering it unusable in the camera....

    Cheers,
    David
     
    David J Taylor, Sep 1, 2004
    #9
  10. Ron Hunter <> writes:

    > Mark B. wrote:
    >
    > > "Sammy" <> 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 you gain is no fragmentation in the filesystem. I used to delete all of
    the files, and noticed on one of my (smartmedia) cards, saving to the card
    progressively slower. When I reformatted the card (which I now do all of the
    time), it went back to its original speed.

    --
    Michael Meissner
    email:
    http://www.the-meissners.org
     
    Michael Meissner, Sep 1, 2004
    #10
  11. Sammy

    Ron Hunter Guest

    David J Taylor wrote:
    > Ron Hunter wrote:
    > []
    >
    >>>Same here, and I make sure to reformat in the Camera, not in the PC.
    >>>
    >>>Cheers,
    >>>David
    >>>
    >>>

    >>
    >>A better choice, since reformatting in the camera is much safer, and
    >>takes less time (at least on MY camera) than deleting all files. But
    >>the end result is the same.

    >
    >
    > No, erasing files will still leave the directory entries present, whereas
    > formatting may not. With a freshly formatted card, new data will be added
    > from the beginning contiguously. With a users (but erased) card, the
    > operating system may avoid areas where existing files are stored, thus
    > potentially fragmenting the stored files (eventually possibly resulting in
    > reduced card capacity because of the greater number of directory
    > entries)..
    >
    > By the way: I did see one report of Windows formatting a low-capacity card
    > as FAT-12 instead of FAT-16, rendering it unusable in the camera....
    >
    > Cheers,
    > David
    >
    >

    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.
     
    Ron Hunter, Sep 1, 2004
    #11
  12. Sammy

    Ron Hunter Guest

    Michael Meissner wrote:

    > Ron Hunter <> writes:
    >
    >
    >>Mark B. wrote:
    >>
    >>
    >>>"Sammy" <> 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 you gain is no fragmentation in the filesystem. I used to delete all of
    > the files, and noticed on one of my (smartmedia) cards, saving to the card
    > progressively slower. When I reformatted the card (which I now do all of the
    > time), it went back to its original speed.
    >

    Failure of your software. Deleted files can't be fragmented, they
    aren't holding any FAT table entries.
     
    Ron Hunter, Sep 1, 2004
    #12
  13. Sammy

    Guest

    Michael Meissner <> 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.

    > I used to delete all of the files, and noticed on one of my (smartmedia)
    > cards, saving to the card progressively slower.


    So-called "SmartMedia" cards (and their relatives, MMC, SD,
    MemoryStick, xD) are actually kind of dumb, since they are based on a
    sequential-access storage technology. One more reason one should shun
    such implements, but there are times when one has to submit to this
    nonsense...
     
    , Sep 1, 2004
    #13
  14. Sammy

    Frank ess Guest

    David Dyer-Bennet wrote:
    > "Sammy" <> 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
     
    Frank ess, Sep 1, 2004
    #14
  15. Gerald Ross <> 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
     
    Roland Karlsson, Sep 1, 2004
    #15
  16. 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
     
    David J Taylor, Sep 1, 2004
    #16
  17. Ron Hunter wrote:
    []
    >> What you gain is no fragmentation in the filesystem. I used to
    >> delete all of the files, and noticed on one of my (smartmedia)
    >> cards, saving to the card progressively slower. When I reformatted
    >> the card (which I now do all of the time), it went back to its
    >> original speed.

    > Failure of your software. Deleted files can't be fragmented, they
    > aren't holding any FAT table entries.


    Directory entries are retained by deleted files, with an E5 marker as the
    first character of the name.

    David
     
    David J Taylor, Sep 1, 2004
    #17
  18. wrote:
    > Michael Meissner <> 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
     
    David J Taylor, Sep 1, 2004
    #18
  19. 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
     
    David J Taylor, Sep 1, 2004
    #19
  20. Sammy

    Gerald Ross Guest

    Sammy wrote:

    > 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 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.

    --

    Gerald Ross, Cochran, GA
    To reply add the numerals "13" before the "at"
    ............................................
    Phobia: what's left after drinking 2
    out of a 6 pack




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    Gerald Ross, Sep 1, 2004
    #20
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