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Format storage card

Format storage card

Format all types of storage cards and micro-drives on your Pocket PC. Wipe storage cards clean. Improve flash card reliability by adding a backup FAT copy


Pocket Mechanic Professional - Format storage cardWith Pocket Mechanic Professional you can format any storage card including Compact Flash I & II, Secure Digital, Multimedia, SmartMedia, MemoryStick, Reduced Size Multimedia, miniSD, microSD, xD-Picture, PCMCIA, and Micro-drive cards with a different file system, cluster size, volume size, number of root entries. All 3 FAT file systems (FAT12, FAT16 and FAT32) are supported. The ability to create a backup FAT to improve storage reliability is also supported.

This module is also able to perform a low-level format that can be used to revive a flash card that has serious errors.

The file system is the general name given to the logical structures and software routines used to control the access to the storage on a micro drive or a storage card. Operating systems use different ways of organizing and controlling access to data on the storage card, and this choice is basically independent of the specific hardware being used - the same storage card can be arranged in many different ways, and even multiple ways in different areas of the same card. The nature of the logical structures on the storage card has an important influence on the performance, reliability, expandability and compatibility of your storage subsystem.

The most common file system in the MS-DOS/Windows world is actually a family of file systems. The basic name for this file system is FAT; the name comes from one of the main logical structures that the file system uses: the file allocation table. FAT stores information about the clusters on the disk in a table. There are three different varieties that vary based on the maximum size of the table.

  • FAT12: The oldest type of FAT uses a 12-bit binary number to hold the cluster number. A volume formatted using FAT12 can hold a maximum of 4,086 clusters, which is 2^12 minus a few values (to allow for reserved values to be used in the FAT). FAT12 is therefore most suitable for very small volumes, and is used on floppy disks and hard disk partitions smaller than about 16 MB (the latter being rare today).
  • FAT16: The FAT used for older systems, and for small partitions on modern systems, uses a 16-bit binary number to hold cluster numbers. When you see someone refer to a "FAT" volume generically, they are usually referring to FAT16, because it is actually the standard for hard disks, even with FAT32 now more popular than FAT16. A volume using FAT16 can hold a maximum of 65,526 clusters, which is 2^16 less a few values (again for reserved values in the FAT). FAT16 is used for hard disk volumes ranging in size from 16 MB to 2,048 MB. VFAT is a variant of FAT16. Many digital cameras still only support the FAT16 file system so in case you are formatting a card that will be used in such device choose FAT16.
  • FAT32: The newest FAT type, FAT32 is supported by newer versions of Windows. FAT32 uses a 28-bit binary cluster number--not 32, because 4 of the 32 bits are "reserved". 28 bits is still enough to permit ridiculously huge volumes. FAT32 can theoretically handle volumes with over 268 million clusters, and will support (theoretically) drives up to 2 TB in size.

Note: As a general rule of the thumb FAT16 gives better performance than FAT32 because of the physical size of the FAT copies (FAT16 can be entirely cached in RAM) and also offers greater compatibility with other devices while FAT32 allows larger partition sizes and smaller slack space which is crucial especially when storing thousands of small files.

Tip: You can make storage cards compatible with digital cameras by formatting them using FAT16 file system.