Regular Formatting of 4Gb Sandisk Extreme Compact Flash Card - Problem?


I’m attempting to find out if formatting a CFCard on a regular basis may eventually corrupt a compact flash card?

We run a video system which has a format facility on the recorder (FAT32). Our clients format the cards every time they are used (up to 20 times a day). We have used these cards for over 2 years and are starting to run into problems with the cards not formatting correctly, and other anomalies.

Could it be that they’re being formatted too often?

Any other information or comments would be very helpful.

:smiley:   Hi Steevg,

Dear member of SanDisk Community, welcome.

According to Toshiba , the company that invented the technology, the memory cells in the solid-state SD card can only go through about 10000 write/erase cycles before the hardware is incapable of retaining or updating its data.

Though this is a proven limitation, it may rarely be a major problem for you since it’s equivalent _to completely writing and erasing the entire card’s contents once a day, every day for 27 years. _

At Home, also SD Association states that its theoretical duration is 10 years or more, and 10000 cycles of read / write.

CompactFlash cards were developed by Sandisk in 1994, and support dual voltage and will operate at either 3.3 volts or 5 volts.

1-    Check that the slot of the card, is perfectly clean and the contacts are not bent, broken or dirty.

2-    Also you do not have overvoltage (3.3v and 5v), so that the card does not overheat.

3-    The cards, like any electronic device, have a lifespan.

We have, on average, minimum:

~ 20 Uses x days in 25 days => 1 month = ~ 500 monthly and in 12 months= 6000 uses.

Then, in 2 years => 12000 uses (cycles of read / write).

It really is wonderful!!

Luck, and then you tell us, what happened, please.

Regards, Alfred.                                                           (Google translated)

Hi Alfred, and many thanks for the confirmation about the formatting issue.

We have several cards with customers and the cards are formatted every time they are inserted into one of our proprietary veideo recorders. The recorder formats to FAT32, but recently we’ve been experiencing problems when formatting two of the cards in particular.

We suspected the recorders formatting procedure, but exactly the same happened when we used another recorder. ALl other cards (5 of them) work perfectly fine and have never caused any issues.

It’ all points to the cards themselves, but we’re struggling to understand why 2 cards only 3years old, and not used everyday (maybe 30 formats a week on average oer card), should start to become unreliabe in this way. It’s not doing our business any good at the moment with the new customer, who sees the “system” as unreliable becuase of the cards!

Any further help would be very much appreciated.

Also: I’m thinking of buying 10 4GB Extreme cards from eBay ( - how can I verify these are genuine SAndisk Cards and not some of the fake’s being sold at present? I’m struggling to find a supplier for these smaller capacity cards, and it’s looking like the only place to get them still, is eBay.


:smiley:   Hi Steevg,

1-      Please, only buy from authorized dealers, see:

2-     Do not buy in quantity, the only way to check if it is genuine, is using.

Buy a single then, and if it gives problems, try the PC with SanDisk genuine adapter, and make the following tests:

3-      You can try, with three portable utilities (free), whether they are fakes:

3.1-   USB Flash H2testw 1.40,                   -It’s the classic utility, but for 64 Gb, it takes ~ 4 hours.

3.2-   USB Flash FakeTest 1.09,              -It’s similar, but has a quick option, and takes minutes.

3.3-   USB Flash ChipGenius 4.00,               -All data, of your UFD.

If there is no joy, then please, do not grieve more, friend, return it. Link:

Luck, and then you tell us , what happened, please.

Regards, Alfred.                                                              (Google translated)

Hi Alfred,

Thanks for the info on the fake cards & testing, problem is that I’m running a mac (osx 10.6.8), so can’t run the utilities you’ve linked to as they’re .exe files.

Are you aware of a utility for the mac which may do the same job?


:smiley:   Hi Steevg,

mmm… No, I never touched Mac, sorry.

See in a cybercafe, or maybe someone lend you a laptop…


Regards, Alfred.                                                                        (Google translated)

OK thanks anyway for the help.