How to format a CF card leaving it as brand new or factory state

Our company works with several industrial diagnostic equipment that uses CF cards as memory devices. Usually we take out the cards and insert them in USB readers to download the data.

Any time the users format the cards on their computers, these are not recognized any more by the equipments, so we have a lot of CF cards that we can’t use. These works fine when connected to the computers or in digital cameras. As none of the equipments (data loggers, infrared cameras, video endoscopes and others) allows to format the cards, we always need to buy a new card each time a user formats it in his computer. All brand new cards are correctly recognized and work fine in every equipment.

So the question: is there any utility to format the cards leaving them in is original, brand new or factory state? We use standard 2 or 4 GB Ultra II CF cards.

I am also trying to restore 6 SanDisk CF cards to their factory-fresh format. My Sony Alpha DSLR cameras no longer

recognize the various-sized cards (4 to 32 GB) after saving pictures to hard drive and erasing these cards in

my SanDisk reader, in Mac System 10.5 Disk Utility, and in an older iMac, and in a newer MacMini–none of these

was successful.

I downloaded my free 1-year subscription to RescuePRO recovery software, but wiping the disk in that program

still did not allow my Sony Alpha 100, 700, and 900 cameras to recognize the CF cards.“No Card” is the message

when they are inserted in the cameras, and the “Format” option is grayed-out in the camera menu. Wiping for the

16 GB cardin SanDisk Rescue Pro took about six hours, and was not successful.

I, too, need to restore my CF cards to factory-new configuration so my cameras can recognize and/or reformat.

GEuser - I can’t speak for the original format for the ones in question, but I’ve had to tweak formats on CF cards for embedded devices. 
The first step is to understand what is getting changed - this may be as simple as FAT12/FAT16 versus FAT32, or it may be “hard drive” vs “superfloppy”.
Without having to understand the setup, you can get “dskprobe” from Microsoft (its in various Resource Kits).  This allows direct access to the physical device, and you can compare the first few sectors between a good and bad card.
Under the first sector, try “view as Partition table” on both, and look for obvious differences. 

If the difference is FAT32 vs FAT , then you can use Windows command-line format  ( “format /FS:FAT E:” ) for example.

Another option, if you have identical CF cards, is to “clone” one to the other - There are Windows versions of the unix “DD” utility, and you’d want to use the  “.\PhysicalDrive1” virtual names (which you can find in dskprobe).   You can image a good card to a file, and then write that file over the non-working ones.