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11-26-2014, 01:24 PM   #1
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SDFormatter Full Erase v.s. Overwrite Erase.

SDFormatter or SD Formatter is a utility supplied by SD Association. The functions are reflected in the name. Given utility offers three methods of formatting : Quick, Full Erase and Overwrite Erase. According the supplied manual these options refer to the following opreations :

QuoteQuote:
QUICK:
This option is a quick formatting and only initializes the file system parameters in the card, but not initializes user data area in your card. If you need to initialize user data area, use the other types of formatting operations shown below.
FULL (Erase):
This option initializes the file system parameter in the card, and initializes all the user data areas (Initialize it by executing erase processing (data deletion) of the card to all the user data areas).
FULL (OverWrite):
This option initializes the file system parameter in the card, and initializes all the user data areas (Initialize it by overwriting the meaningless data to all the user data areas).
If the first option is clear, then the description of the next two is quite hazy. I was never able to perform the FULL (Erase) option on the two SD Cards that I have : SDX10V/64GB , SDA10/64GB. I connect the cards to my PC via Kingston MobileLite G3 USB 3.0 Multi-card Reader. Kingston technician suggested using a Low Level Format to diagnose the cards. LLF did not help, as I still am unable to perform the so-called FULL (Erase) formatting procedure.

* Flashy terms aside, what are the differences between the last two formatting methods in this utility ?
* How do they differ from LLF ?
* It really unlikely that two cards have developed failures after a year and a half of use (they work fine in the cameras such as K-3 and K-01. Is there a possibility of a systematic card reader malfunction ? I tried an old SDHC card by Transcend and the results were the same.

11-26-2014, 01:49 PM   #2
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Second one deletes the data, third one overwrites the data with random stuff, thus being more secure in case sensitive data was on the card (i.e. good before selling the card on ebay).
For normal use I would use the first or the second method.
11-26-2014, 02:17 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by LensBeginner Quote
Second one deletes the data, third one overwrites the data with random stuff, thus being more secure in case sensitive data was on the card (i.e. good before selling the card on ebay).
For normal use I would use the first or the second method.
Does the random data remain on the card in some way or another after the completion of the format procedure ? The card is shown as empty and is usable in the camera. I do know that in case with SSD, the data is not physically deleted, but rather the location is marked as safe for overwriting (I know that it is far more complex than that, but the general idea is right), I wonder if it applies to SD cards as well.
11-26-2014, 02:22 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by Stagnant Quote
Does the random data remain on the card in some way or another after the completion of the format procedure ? The card is shown as empty and is usable in the camera. I do know that in case with SSD, the data is not physically deleted, but rather the location is marked as safe for overwriting (I know that it is far more complex than that, but the general idea is right), I wonder if it applies to SD cards as well.
I believe it's random raw data, but since nothing is written on the master file table (which is simply formatted), the card appears empty on any device.
It's just a precaution in case someone attempts a phisical readout of the card, sector by sector.
You can get a feel for "safe" data erasure methods here:
Data erasure - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

11-26-2014, 02:41 PM   #5
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Thanks for the information. Any ideas why the utility does not allow to perform FULL (Erase) format ?
11-26-2014, 02:47 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Stagnant Quote
Thanks for the information. Any ideas why the utility does not allow to perform FULL (Erase) format ?
Nope, no idea, sorry...
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