Best USB 2.0 Smartmedia card reader for WinXP?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Cynthia P, Sep 14, 2004.

  1. Cynthia P

    Cynthia P Guest

    I had trouble earlier this year when I didn't realize that I needed to
    turn the computer off between uses of my card reader, as it will not
    eject media properly and THREE of my Smartmedia cards got eaten.

    This is a Dazzle USB 2.0 6 in 1 Reader that is in question.

    I sent the corrupted cards off to someone able to use smprep.exe...
    this utility does NOT work on my WinXP Pro system, I tried, believe
    me! Unfortunately, though the person tried, and said that two of the
    cards were repairable, they did not work in my Olympus C3030 upon
    their return. Same error, card not formatable in camera.

    I even bought an older Zio USB reader to try the smprep. Well, the Zio
    installed, but has had off and on conflicts with WinXP Pro, i.e. I
    sometimes get BSOD.

    So I thought, well, I'll go back to the Dazzle. BIG MISTAKE. It worked
    at first, but now both my remaining Smartmedia cards are corrupted
    suddenly today and I'm dead in the water until I buy new ones.

    So I've HAD IT with the Dazzle!

    Can anyone recommend a different good card reader? I want one that is
    USB 2.0 and compatible with WinXP.

    I'm thinking of trying the Zio High Speed... since the other USB Zio
    did not destroy my cards at least, though it was a bitch to get
    working with XP and was causing crashes. Hopefully the Zio USB 2.0
    model would be more compatible with WinXP.

    If there are other good brands, I'm open to that too!

    Cynthia P, Sep 14, 2004
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  2. Cynthia P

    Ron Guest

    Lexar 6-way USB 2.0 card reader. About $30 USD.

    Ron, Sep 15, 2004
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  3. I am using a Zio SM card reader on my Dell Computer after upgrading to
    Windows XP Pro.
    I previously used it on this same computer when I was running Windows ME.
    When I first started using this card reader, I had a bad time in learning to
    use it so that I did not get an error when I put it back in my Oly C4040
    I found out that I could not write any file back to the card while it was in
    the card reader or the camera did not like it one bit. After I removed the
    offending file from the card the camera was happy, but I had to reformat the
    card in the camera.
    I also found that I could readily (no problems) remove the card from the
    reader (drive H:) if I selected a different drive (using Windows Explorer)
    after I completed the file transfer. I do not use the 'remove hardware'
    selection in Windows Explorer, just select one of the hard drives (C: or D:)
    and pull the card out of the reader, leaving the reader itself connected to
    the USB port. I've done this at least 50 times and things work OK.
    I hope my experience might help if and when you get your cards working
    Matt D
    Matthew Dranchak, Sep 15, 2004
  4. Cynthia P

    Phil Wheeler Guest

    SanDisk 8 in 1
    Phil Wheeler, Sep 15, 2004
  5. Cynthia P

    Cynthia P Guest

    Well, the SanDisk parallel port reader on my old Win95 computer was
    absolutely flawless... had a nifty button for ejecting the media, I
    did NOT have to turn the computer off and on to switch cards with that
    one. It's only since the switch to a new Dell and WinXP Pro that I
    have ruined any cards.

    Unfortunately, the old parallel port reader is not compatible with
    WinXP. Or I'd suffer the slower speed and use it.

    Losing all these cards is getting expensive!

    Sadly, my camera does not seem to want to connect and download
    directly to the computer. I really prefer a reader anyway, but the way
    things are going, I could wish that I *could* connect the camera and
    download that way. At least I wouldn't be stuck until I can buy a new

    Cynthia P, Sep 15, 2004
  6. Cynthia P

    Cynthia P Guest

    Thanks, that's one I'd noticed after a Google search. I'll wait and
    see what other answers I might get.

    Cynthia P, Sep 15, 2004
  7. Cynthia P

    Cynthia P Guest

    I never write files to the card. Ever. Nor do I delete files on the
    card using the reader. It's a bad plan. I use the camera to do all

    Unfortunately, in my case, the error is only seen when putting the
    card back in the camera... and the camera will not reformat it, it
    just gives another error.

    That tip about selecting a different drive is interesting... but I'd
    hate to ruin another new card trying it out. Unless I can pick up a
    smaller card cheap on eBay. But I normally use the 128MB cards and
    that's at least $20-30 gone if one gets corrupted.

    But thanks for the thought! I will keep that in mind as perhaps an
    alternative way to eject media safely.

    Cynthia P, Sep 15, 2004
  8. Cynthia P

    Cynthia P Guest

    I guess, with several different opinions, I'll check on prices and see
    what happens.

    Cynthia P, Sep 15, 2004
  9. My USB 2.0 card did not like my overclocked computer. I would have to slow
    the computer down before I could use I just have it in a networked
    computer so its no problem. Might any of this apply to your system?
    Gene Palmiter, Sep 15, 2004
  10. Cynthia P

    Ron G Guest

    I've done hundreds of flawless downloads with my Dazzle, a Zio and a
    Sandisk. And from SM cards in several different Oly cameras. Win98SE.
    Have used the Zio and Sandisk for a long time, without a hitch, with my
    XP laptop. I never turn the computer off between uses of the readers. I
    have had no problem storing files on the cards. I've found over the
    years that it is critical to keep the cards really clean, to format them
    in camera, and to do absolutely nothing out of camera but download the
    files. I never do a cut and paste. Nor do I use the eject function.
    Instead I simply remove the card, not the reader, from the USB port.
    Feels to me like things got a bit complicated for you.
    Ron G, Sep 15, 2004
  11. Cynthia P

    Ken Weitzel Guest

    Hi Cynthia...

    Remember me (us)?

    Hope that all is well with you and yours, and that
    everything else is going well in your life :)

    Dunno what to suggest at this point... I absolutely
    promise you that while your 128 meg card was dead in the
    water, your 64 meg and 16 (?) meg cards were flawless...
    In our sandisk reader, and in our Oly cameras...

    Can only wonder if you've had time to make new friends
    yet in your new home - perhaps some who might have
    Oly cameras? If so, ask them if you might try your
    cards in their camera?

    Failing that, for sure don't throw the ones you can't
    get to work away, we'll be happy to buy them from you.
    Spent the entire summer at the lake, and as usual
    ran out of memory far too often...

    Take care.


    Ken Weitzel, Sep 15, 2004
  12. Cynthia P

    Ron Hunter Guest

    I don't think you need USB 2.0 for a SM card. They aren't large enough
    for the speed to matter much, and probably won't be fast enough to gain
    any speed with USB 2.0. Try a Zio card reader, and DON'T format, or
    erase the card in the reader.
    Ron Hunter, Sep 15, 2004
  13. Cynthia P

    Ron Hunter Guest

    It took me a while, but I finally figured out that the 'safely remove
    hardware' thing referrs ONLY to the reader, NOT a card. Just make sure
    all writes to the card, if any, have been completed.
    Ron Hunter, Sep 15, 2004
  14. Cynthia P

    Cynthia P Guest

    I understood that one from the start, so that's not the problem.

    Cynthia P, Sep 15, 2004
  15. Cynthia P

    Cynthia P Guest

    I doubt it... not overclocked here. The Zio reader I have is an older
    one... older than the computer, as I bought it because it had
    smprep.exe and I thought maybe I could repair the first set of cards
    the Dazzle trashed with it, but no such luck.

    I'd keep using it, as it has not trashed any cards, but I'm sick of
    the crashes when I shut the computer down.

    Cynthia P, Sep 15, 2004
  16. Cynthia P

    Cynthia P Guest

    OK, then how DO you eject the media safely?

    Anytime I try this (right click/eject) with either the Dazzle or Zio,
    I get error messages. Doing it with the Zio is asking for a BSOD

    My cards are clean... I only format them in the camera, though I don't
    do that often, usually I just erase them in camera and am good to go.

    When I first hooked the Dazzle up to my new Dell, what I did was
    simply remove the card from the reader as you say. But when I switched
    to a different card, that's when I started getting corrupted cards...
    one right after the other.

    It was suggested to me on this forum that I either needed to eject the
    media properly (which gives me an error, see above) or shutdown the
    computer before switching different cards.

    So I didn't *try* to make it complicated, I just don't like buying new
    cards, so have been taking any suggestions to help avoid that!

    The Zio was working... and I'm sorry I switched back to the Dazzle
    now, but I was sick of the crashes that the older Zio was having with

    I'm thinking that a new Zio, USB 2.0 model might be more compatible
    and with luck, perhaps no more problems.

    Cynthia P, Sep 15, 2004
  17. Cynthia P

    Cynthia P Guest

    Yep, sure do! And appreciate all that you tried to do with the first
    three cards. Not your fault my camera still didn't like 'em.

    I believe you. As soon as I put them in my camera, I got the beep,
    card error, need to format message on the LCD screen, but the camera
    simply would NOT format them.

    One guy I know has a digi-camera, but it's not Olympus.

    Hey, if you want them, I'm good with that! Wouldn't charge much
    either, as I sure can't use them. And I don't have anything else but
    the camera to use them in.

    It's just like before, I can put them back in the card reader and
    still see all the images there, just like when I downloaded them to
    the computer, but can't do so in the camera.

    I just can't believe how weird this all is. I was running the Win95
    computer and the old SanDisk parallel card reader (it had a handy
    eject button actually) and never had a bit of trouble.

    The camera always seems happy to get a new card, so it's not that I
    don't think.

    I clean the contacts of the cards occasionally with a bit of alcohol,
    they aren't ever dirty though. I am careful with my cards.

    Another 128MB card should be on the way, and I'll keep eyeballing eBa
    for a cheaper one.

    Cynthia P, Sep 15, 2004
  18. Cynthia P

    Cynthia P Guest

    What I was thinking is that the older Zio reader didn't like WinXP so
    well... or WinXP doesn't like it. My thinking is that since the new
    Dell has USB 2.0, if I get a Zio reader that also has that, they might
    play nicer.

    And other than the computer crashes... the Zio reader was not trashing
    cards. I just got tired of messages like "the system has just
    recovered from a serious error" and BSOD.

    I never format or erase a card in the reader. Nor do I delete files or
    write files to a card with the reader. Ever. I do know better.

    Cynthia P, Sep 15, 2004
  19. Cynthia P

    ivan Guest

    Can't help you I am afraid Cynthia, other than to ask what is it about these
    USB card readers?.. I bought one about three years ago because my Olympus
    camera downloads are via the serial port, which is tediously slow, but at
    least it doesn't ruin my Smartmedia cards.

    When I enquired about this particular problem (after writing off a couple of
    cards) on a photographic newsgroup at the time, it transpired that there
    were quite a few others who had experienced similar problems, so I presume
    that this must still be happening.

    Does anyone know why it doesn't appear possible to make a card reader that
    does what it's supposed to do, i.e. read cards without ruining them?
    ivan, Sep 15, 2004
  20. Cynthia P

    Ron Hunter Guest

    I used a Zio reader (CF format) for a couple of years with Win98SE and
    then with WinXP, on two different machines, and on a Win2K system with
    no problems. I can't understand your problems with it.
    Ron Hunter, Sep 15, 2004
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