Before formatting your device have you tested it?
Every so often this question is asked of me...
Then I go through the checklist of why the memory card or
Flash / Pen Drive will not format.
First though let me remind you that the memory on or in a Flash /Pen Drive and a memory card is special memory. That is it has the capability to retain information after the power is removed. Unlike memory in a computer that has to be 'Refreshed' every so often this memory will keep the data for quite some time (it has not been proven how long a flash memory will retain it's data. I have a very old Pen Drive that still has the original data I put on it in 1999, that is over
twenty years so far).
Troubleshoot, repair, maintain, upgrade & secure...
So the question is: My computer will not open a memory card or Pen Drive, the error says the device needs to be formatted but when format is tried it fails.
There are only three reasons why a memory card or Pen Drive will not open, take, or allow a format:
- The USB port or hub has failed, this is the most common reason.
- The computer doesn't have a USB driver loaded (unheard of today, most OS's have the driver built in for v.1.01 and 2.0, although 3.0 has to be loaded).
- The device itself has failed.
Along with the above reasons the only other reason you can not format a memory card or Pen Drive is you do not have access to do so, such as:
- You do not have Administrative rights (for OS's that require permission to format drives).
- The lock is set on the memory card to prevent accidental formatting / erasing.
- The device is encrypted and is locked in such a way that erasing is defeated.
So how do you determine if one of the above faults is the culprit?
- Your first step is to try to open a another device in that port, if it also fails then the
port is bad.
- If the device works then the port is ok, take the device in question to another computer and try it there.
- If it opens then there may be a driver problem on the first computer.
- If it fails to be recognized then it is the device.
- If you can read the device but can not format it or write to it then the device is locked. It could be a software lock such as encrypted, lack of rights to the device, or a mechanical lock on the device itself.
That is about it for these devices they are very simplistic in use although design is very complicated.