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Author Topic: Help me stop ruining SD cards  (Read 3018 times)

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R0CKY

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Help me stop ruining SD cards
« on: August 16, 2021, 06:47:53 pm »
I have now ruined two expensive SD cards, so I'm hoping for some help to figure out what I am doing wrong. Here are the steps I have been taking to try and install a different image onto a card that already has an image.

1. Insert SD card into USB reader and connect to windows PC. This SD card has a retropie image on it, in two partitions, one boot and the other the data.
2. Windows says it needs to format the card, I click cancel.
3. browse to the SD card in windows explorer, right click and Format
4. The format process does not start.
5. Cancel.

Now windows explorer does not see the SD card at all, so I restart the PC - this is where it gets a bit weird and concerning. Windows cannot restart, it just keeps "shutting down". I have to do a force shutdown.

I tried to format a card multiple times, using SD card formatters, and windows HD manager, the same deal every time, the format does not start, then the PC will not shutdown.

The first time this happened, I figured it was a bad 400Gb SD card. But now it has happened on another card I'm thinking I am doing something wrong - but after extensive googling, all I am seeing is that I should simply use Etcher to burn the new image and it will automatically format the card first. But when I use a card with Retropie data on it already, Etcher stalls before it starts the burn process, so it cannot reformat the card either.

I can't keep on wasting 400Gb SD cards so any advice much appreciated!

« Last Edit: August 16, 2021, 06:49:35 pm by R0CKY »

Phreakwars

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Re: Help me stop ruining SD cards
« Reply #1 on: August 16, 2021, 07:49:35 pm »
Might have a bad card reader. I've seen this happen a couple times where the reader's voltage internally was off and corrupted whatever SD card was put into it. Best way to not ruin one, is don't use one. Use a simple firmware update and boot from an SSD or M.2. You get a faster transfer and boot this way as well. Pi4's will do this without a firmware update. Also, if burning with Etcher or Rufus (I prefer Rufus), shouldn't need to format it, the program should format it for you before it starts burning the image.

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Re: Help me stop ruining SD cards
« Reply #2 on: August 17, 2021, 03:26:34 am »
I have now ruined two expensive SD cards, so I'm hoping for some help to figure out what I am doing wrong. Here are the steps I have been taking to try and install a different image onto a card that already has an image.

1. Insert SD card into USB reader and connect to windows PC. This SD card has a retropie image on it, in two partitions, one boot and the other the data.
2. Windows says it needs to format the card, I click cancel.
3. browse to the SD card in windows explorer, right click and Format
4. The format process does not start.
5. Cancel.

Now windows explorer does not see the SD card at all, so I restart the PC - this is where it gets a bit weird and concerning. Windows cannot restart, it just keeps "shutting down". I have to do a force shutdown.

I tried to format a card multiple times, using SD card formatters, and windows HD manager, the same deal every time, the format does not start, then the PC will not shutdown.

The first time this happened, I figured it was a bad 400Gb SD card. But now it has happened on another card I'm thinking I am doing something wrong - but after extensive googling, all I am seeing is that I should simply use Etcher to burn the new image and it will automatically format the card first. But when I use a card with Retropie data on it already, Etcher stalls before it starts the burn process, so it cannot reformat the card either.

I can't keep on wasting 400Gb SD cards so any advice much appreciated!

The Pi has a FAT 32 partition (for booting) and two other partitions in EXT4 format that is unreadable in Windows by default.

Once you have wrote to the SD card take it out of the reader and stick it in the PI.  Unless you have to add rotation to the PI then you view config.txt and add the parameter and then save it.

Quit reformatting the other 2 EXT4 partitions you can trash your SD card or make it unreadable in the PI.  SSH to the PI to add files or SFTP.

R0CKY

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Re: Help me stop ruining SD cards
« Reply #3 on: August 17, 2021, 07:16:52 am »
... Also, if burning with Etcher or Rufus (I prefer Rufus), shouldn't need to format it, the program should format it for you before it starts burning the image.

That's my difficulty, I put the microSD into a USB card reader, plug it into my PC, then run etcher to burn the new image. On a brand new blank microSD this works perfect evertime, but when I put in an microSD that already has an image on it, etcher stalls, and also windows refuses to re-format it.
« Last Edit: August 17, 2021, 07:19:17 am by R0CKY »

R0CKY

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Re: Help me stop ruining SD cards
« Reply #4 on: August 17, 2021, 07:18:54 am »
Once you have wrote to the SD card take it out of the reader and stick it in the PI.  Unless you have to add rotation to the PI then you view config.txt and add the parameter and then save it.

This is my issue, I cannot burn a new image to the SD, etcher stalls and windows wont even reformat it.

Gilrock

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Re: Help me stop ruining SD cards
« Reply #5 on: August 17, 2021, 10:45:36 am »
I've always used a program called Win32DiskImager to write the PI images to the SD card.

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Re: Help me stop ruining SD cards
« Reply #6 on: August 17, 2021, 12:06:16 pm »
As gilrock says, Use win32diskimager.
It will over write the image.

Also use this program to format SD cards:
https://www.sdcard.org/downloads/formatter/

R0CKY

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Re: Help me stop ruining SD cards
« Reply #7 on: August 17, 2021, 12:56:38 pm »
Hi

I tried both of those programs, they both went to "not responding" pretty much immediately. PC would not shutdown. Had to do a hard restart.

I also tried putting the micro SD card into a different USB reader. Same deal.

Weird one. Meanwhile I have a growing bundle of one-time-use SD cards apparently.
« Last Edit: August 17, 2021, 01:05:15 pm by R0CKY »

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Re: Help me stop ruining SD cards
« Reply #8 on: August 17, 2021, 03:29:14 pm »
That kind of makes me wonder if you are having a driver issue.

Gilrock

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Re: Help me stop ruining SD cards
« Reply #9 on: August 17, 2021, 03:42:39 pm »
I really don't think your SD cards are bricked.  Usually what I see when I put an SD card in Windows will want to format it so just close any of those windows that pop up and ignore them.  Then run the program.  As suggested maybe it is a driver issue going on.  I've used that SDCardFormatter program as well but I thought Win32DiskImager would also do the formatting for you before it writes the image.

Rogue Trooper

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Re: Help me stop ruining SD cards
« Reply #10 on: August 17, 2021, 03:46:26 pm »
I've had some success recovering borked SD cards using "Parted Magic". This is a standalone Linux bootable disk with a range of disk tools. Find the latest copy as I've had issues with early distributions recognising more modern disk types.

Boot your machine with it and using the Partition Editor remove and recreate the partition table. You can then format it to test it.

If you're still having issues when using this you probably have a hardware problem as previously suggested as this will isolate the Windows OS.

R0CKY

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Re: Help me stop ruining SD cards
« Reply #11 on: August 17, 2021, 05:06:28 pm »
Thanks for the tip.

I narrowed things down a little - I put another 128Gb SD card into the same usb card reader - put it into the PC and tried to burn an IMG to it. It worked. So the USB card reader is not the problem, the software in not the problem and windows is not the problem.

The problem must be two borked SD cards.

BlueGhost

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Re: Help me stop ruining SD cards
« Reply #12 on: August 20, 2021, 12:16:16 pm »
I had a similar issue with imaging SD cards for Raspberry Pi using the card reader on my laptop.  I had an SD card the laptop would no longer recognize or let me format.

I also have a usb-c card reader that I use to transfer files from my drone and cameras to my phone.  I was able to format the SD card using my phone, and now it is recognized by the laptop again.

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Re: Help me stop ruining SD cards
« Reply #13 on: August 20, 2021, 04:42:48 pm »
I know I've had this happen a couple times over the years as well. What I did to fix them was use MiniTool Partition Wizard on the unreadable ones, rebuilt the tables, and they worked just fine after that. I have the pro version, not sure if the free version has that feature, but it's saved my butt a couple of times.

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Re: Help me stop ruining SD cards
« Reply #14 on: August 21, 2021, 01:20:57 am »
Try looking up instructions on diskpart commandline utility for windows and use the “clean” command on the sd card. Will need to run it as an administrator and be careful you clean the card and not your boot drive

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Re: Help me stop ruining SD cards
« Reply #15 on: August 21, 2021, 08:12:47 pm »
This evening I was trying to install a raspberry pi image and it borked the first two old micro sd cards.
The first thing I thought of was this thread.  :applaud:

I know I've had this happen a couple times over the years as well. What I did to fix them was use MiniTool Partition Wizard on the unreadable ones, rebuilt the tables, and they worked just fine after that. I have the pro version, not sure if the free version has that feature, but it's saved my butt a couple of times.

Free version worked perfectly.  Right click disk>delete partitions, right click unallocated>create
 :cheers:



R0CKY

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Re: Help me stop ruining SD cards
« Reply #16 on: August 27, 2021, 04:34:32 am »
I had a similar issue with imaging SD cards for Raspberry Pi using the card reader on my laptop.  I had an SD card the laptop would no longer recognize or let me format.

I also have a usb-c card reader that I use to transfer files from my drone and cameras to my phone.  I was able to format the SD card using my phone, and now it is recognized by the laptop again.

Interesting! I will try that, thanks.

R0CKY

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Re: Help me stop ruining SD cards
« Reply #17 on: August 27, 2021, 04:35:06 am »
I know I've had this happen a couple times over the years as well. What I did to fix them was use MiniTool Partition Wizard on the unreadable ones, rebuilt the tables, and they worked just fine after that. I have the pro version, not sure if the free version has that feature, but it's saved my butt a couple of times.

I will try this too - nothing to lose, thanks!

R0CKY

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Re: Help me stop ruining SD cards
« Reply #18 on: August 27, 2021, 04:36:29 am »
Try looking up instructions on diskpart commandline utility for windows and use the “clean” command on the sd card. Will need to run it as an administrator and be careful you clean the card and not your boot drive

I have tried to format this card so many times and everytime you get that format warning I still worry about the boot drive even though I triple check! There should be a better safeguard in place than a simple warning, to protect the boot drive.

R0CKY

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Re: Help me stop ruining SD cards
« Reply #19 on: August 27, 2021, 05:12:18 am »
Free version worked perfectly.  Right click disk>delete partitions, right click unallocated>create
 :cheers:

Well things just got very weird when I tried it!

I followed your steps above (not sure if I should have chosen the delete or "wipe" option though) - and then I was able to format the card using that free tool.

All Good.

Loaded an IMG writer and it could not see the SD card at all. So I rebooted the system and once again it hung, I had to force the shutdown.

When the PC loaded back up, I put in the SD card and holy ---steaming pile of meadow muffin--- windows showed it in its previous unformatted status ie. it was listed as H:/boot. So right now I am shitting myself, have I just deleted and formatted the wrong harddrive??

Filemanager was also showing FOUR removable disks, WTF (see attachment). All my other drives are visible so, so it does not look lie I deleted the wrong drive at all. So how come after wiping the SD card, windows still lists it in its pre- wiped condition with the boot partition listed.

When I shut down windows for a second time and restarted it, the phantom 4 removable disks were gone, when I rebooted a 3rd time, those 4 drives are now listed as greyed out USB drives, which I don't understand.

But there was a residual problem - windows search had stopped working on the desktop.

At the bottom left of desktop where it says "Type here to search" next to the Windows Icon,  when I clicked in there, instead of the popup I get a white box appearing which then disappears, and any keystrokes are not appearing in the search box at all! I fixed this by backtracking my steps and uninstalling the parition manager and associated linux reader - strange but that did the trick and windows search was functioning again.

I think I am going to abandon this process on my PC and pursue it on an old laptop or something as this is getting risky.
« Last Edit: August 27, 2021, 09:32:32 am by R0CKY »

Vocalitus

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Re: Help me stop ruining SD cards
« Reply #20 on: August 28, 2021, 09:43:29 am »
Free version worked perfectly.  Right click disk>delete partitions, right click unallocated>create
 :cheers:

Well things just got very weird when I tried it!

I followed your steps above (not sure if I should have chosen the delete or "wipe" option though) - and then I was able to format the card using that free tool.

All Good.

Loaded an IMG writer and it could not see the SD card at all. So I rebooted the system and once again it hung, I had to force the shutdown.

When the PC loaded back up, I put in the SD card and holy ---steaming pile of meadow muffin--- windows showed it in its previous unformatted status ie. it was listed as H:/boot. So right now I am shitting myself, have I just deleted and formatted the wrong harddrive??

Filemanager was also showing FOUR removable disks, WTF (see attachment). All my other drives are visible so, so it does not look lie I deleted the wrong drive at all. So how come after wiping the SD card, windows still lists it in its pre- wiped condition with the boot partition listed.

When I shut down windows for a second time and restarted it, the phantom 4 removable disks were gone, when I rebooted a 3rd time, those 4 drives are now listed as greyed out USB drives, which I don't understand.

But there was a residual problem - windows search had stopped working on the desktop.

At the bottom left of desktop where it says "Type here to search" next to the Windows Icon,  when I clicked in there, instead of the popup I get a white box appearing which then disappears, and any keystrokes are not appearing in the search box at all! I fixed this by backtracking my steps and uninstalling the parition manager and associated linux reader - strange but that did the trick and windows search was functioning again.

I think I am going to abandon this process on my PC and pursue it on an old laptop or something as this is getting risky.

It was simpler to follow my instruction. 

People here really want to help, but sometimes that help leads to unfortunate consequences.

I hope you perform your backups and good luck.

I hope we are ALL doing our backups.   ::)

R0CKY

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Re: Help me stop ruining SD cards
« Reply #21 on: August 29, 2021, 05:39:47 am »

It was simpler to follow my instruction. 


Quote
"Once you have wrote to the SD card take it out of the reader and stick it in the PI."

Unfortunately your advice wasn't workable as I could not write to the SD card at all as described above. Good advice about backups though.

R0CKY

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Re: Help me stop ruining SD cards
« Reply #22 on: August 29, 2021, 05:20:51 pm »
I eventually solved this and manged to flash an new IMG to the troublesome 400Gb microSD card by putting it into a laptop where I was able to format it as normal. There must have been some quirk with my main PC that it could not handle this card but a cheap laptop could!

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Re: Help me stop ruining SD cards
« Reply #23 on: August 31, 2021, 01:38:04 pm »
Glad you sorted, But yeah something not right on your main PC there....

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Re: Help me stop ruining SD cards
« Reply #24 on: October 02, 2021, 04:41:25 pm »
Does your sd reader support sdxc cards?
SD Extended Capacity (SDXC™) card is an SD™ memory card based on the SDA 3.0 specification.

SDXC capacities range from 64GB to 2TB

Default Format: exFAT

Because SDXC uses a different file system called exFAT and it works differently than standard SD cards, this format is NOT backwards compatible with host devices that only take SD (128MB to 2GB) or host devices that only take SDHC (4GB to 32GB). Most host devices built after 2010 should be SDXC compatible.

To ensure compatibility, look for the SDXC logo on cards and host devices (cameras, camcorders, etc.).

NOTE: Internal card readers on laptops up to year 2008 may NOT support SDXC cards. SDXC cards will work in SDHC compatible readers (not SD readers) if the computer OS supports exFAT.

For more information on exFat see: Operating Systems that support the exFAT File System

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Re: Help me stop ruining SD cards
« Reply #25 on: October 02, 2021, 04:53:04 pm »
Does your sd reader support sdxc cards?
SD Extended Capacity (SDXC™) card is an SD™ memory card based on the SDA 3.0 specification.

SDXC capacities range from 64GB to 2TB

Default Format: exFAT

Because SDXC uses a different file system called exFAT and it works differently than standard SD cards, this format is NOT backwards compatible with host devices that only take SD (128MB to 2GB) or host devices that only take SDHC (4GB to 32GB). Most host devices built after 2010 should be SDXC compatible.

To ensure compatibility, look for the SDXC logo on cards and host devices (cameras, camcorders, etc.).

NOTE: Internal card readers on laptops up to year 2008 may NOT support SDXC cards. SDXC cards will work in SDHC compatible readers (not SD readers) if the computer OS supports exFAT.

For more information on exFat see: Operating Systems that support the exFAT File System

That's great but he is using Linux and the OS is formatting Ext4.

Seob

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Re: Help me stop ruining SD cards
« Reply #26 on: October 03, 2021, 12:08:33 pm »
I’m pretty sure he is using a windows pc in the first post. Can’t see anybody using windows explorer on linux. And yes the the raspberry pi uses linux, but he is using a pc to burn the image to the sd card. And it doesn’t matter if you use linux or windows or macos. If you’re reader doesn’t have hardware support for sdxc cards,it won’t work.