A memory card is a type of portable memory storage which is used in various electronic devices, including digital cameras and MP3 players, to store data in digital format. At times, the card runs into problems, like continuous error messages or bad writes, which is when you are left with no option, but to format it.
In case of digital camera memory cards, formatting is essential as it makes them ready for reuse. In simple words, formatting is an easier way to delete the files off the card, instead of choosing and deleting each file one by one. However, one has to be careful with the process as the files erased off these cards cannot be retrieved.
How to Format a Memory Card?
You require a card reader to format a memory card. You can either use the computer's in-built card reader, or buy one from the market. Insert the card into the card reader and open 'My Computer'. Once you do it, you will see a list of drives available in the machine.
Select the drive representing the memory card (most often lettered 'E' or 'F', or listed at the bottom of the page as a removable drive) and get ready to format it.
At this moment, you should go ahead and check the contents of the card, and confirm that it's the same memory card that you intend to format. Considering that it's a non-reversible process, this last minute check can save your valuable data.
Next, right click on the drive and click on the 'Format' option that you get to see. A box will appear on the screen. Ignore all other options and click on the 'Start' tab. It will take a few seconds for the memory card to get formatted. After the formatting process is complete, you can insert it into an electronic device and ensure it is working fine.
How to Format it Without Losing Files?
Formatting involves erasing all the files off the card, so the chances of losing some important files cannot be ruled out. What do you do if you don't want to lose the files stored in it?
There is a simple way out: transfer them. Insert the memory card into a card reader or any other electronic device and connect it to the computer. Go to 'My Computer' and select the portable storage device.
Open the drive and choose the files you want to keep. Select these files by holding the 'Ctrl' key on the keyboard. Copy these files using 'Ctrl + C' command and transfer them to a new folder by pasting them with 'Ctrl + V' command.
Then right click on the drive, click on 'Format', and follow the process of formatting as mentioned. Once you are done formatting, you can replace the files back on the memory card by using the 'Ctrl + C' and 'Ctrl + V' commands.
Though simple, this process comes as a blessing in disguise when there is an urgent need of storing valuable data. If used properly, these small, but efficient memory cards can have a long life.