‘This card is not formatted, format card' error :(

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‘This card is not formatted, format card' error :(

Postby Monica on Mon Oct 04, 2010 1:28 pm

Hi guys,
I made a really bad newbie mistake. I did not format a new memory card in my Nikon D90. Now my camera comes up with the message ‘This card is not formatted, format card’ and the photos are inaccessible. I press no to formatting the memory card, should I continue this? or should I format the card then try recovery programs :oops: . The photos are very precious (my first 2 days in London) but I am still trying to stay hopeful I may be able to access them.
I understand recovery of photos is not always possible but I still have a glimmer of hope.
Any suggestions I should try to resolve my problem?
On the bright side, the rest of the 6.5 weeks of my euro trip and playing with my first DSLR was lots of fun.
Thank you so much :)
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Re: ‘This card is not formatted, format card' error :(

Postby surenj on Mon Oct 04, 2010 1:46 pm

Don't format again no matter what you do.
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Re: ‘This card is not formatted, format card' error :(

Postby Monica on Mon Oct 04, 2010 2:11 pm



Thank you for the article.

Unfortunately I just downloaded those two recovery programs and have tried a few others and none at all can recognise my camera as a drive, it does not pop up on this list. :cry:

I plug my camera's usb cord into the computer, the D90 file comes up (says 0 pictures taken) but no recovery file programs can see it.
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Re: ‘This card is not formatted, format card' error :(

Postby Marvin on Mon Oct 04, 2010 3:32 pm

PC inspector has worked for me a few times.

http://www.pcinspector.de/Default.htm?language=1
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Re: ‘This card is not formatted, format card' error :(

Postby rflower on Mon Oct 04, 2010 4:10 pm

Just confirming though, that you took photos, filled up the card and then removed from camera. You have not deleted the photos or formatted the card ...

It may be that because the camera "can't" see the photos, it will not let a computer connected to it see them either.

If you connect the card, "like an external harddrive" to the computer, maybe Windows will see the files if you haven't deleted them...

Have you tried putting the card in a card reader connected to the computer, and not the left in the camera connected by USB?

Alternatively, try changing the USB mode that the camera connects to the compuet with. On my D80, I press menu, goto to the setup sub menu (looks like a spanner), and selct USB. It will either have PTP or M (mass Storage). I expect the D90 will be similar Try selecting which ever is not selected now. I am not sure which one treats that card like an external harddrive, as I use a card reader

Hope you can find or recover your photos though.
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Re: ‘This card is not formatted, format card' error :(

Postby aim54x on Mon Oct 04, 2010 9:07 pm

Sounds like you have a "Toast" card....can I enquire what brand it is?

SanDisk offers a free download and license to their card recovery software when you buy any of their EXTREME series cards. This software is very useful and has saved my photos a few times.

I would definitely get the camera out of the loop and use a USB card reader to try to read and/or recover the card.
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Re: ‘This card is not formatted, format card' error :(

Postby Monica on Mon Oct 04, 2010 9:22 pm

Thanks for the advice everyone, I shall continue trying.

Any suggestions where to buy a USB/memory card reader from and how much?

The memory card is SanDisk.

I should have explained the scenario in more detail. Basically I purchased a brand new dslr, put in a brand new memory card and took lots of photos. Went to take another photo and thats when the message came up. I had no idea you should format a new memory card before you use one, trust me I never will make that mistake again. So the message keeps coming up and I continue just to press 'No to formatting the card'.

Once again thank you for all the suggestions.
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Re: ‘This card is not formatted, format card' error :(

Postby aim54x on Mon Oct 04, 2010 10:04 pm

Monica wrote:Thanks for the advice everyone, I shall continue trying.

Any suggestions where to buy a USB/memory card reader from and how much?

The memory card is SanDisk.

I should have explained the scenario in more detail. Basically I purchased a brand new dslr, put in a brand new memory card and took lots of photos. Went to take another photo and thats when the message came up. I had no idea you should format a new memory card before you use one, trust me I never will make that mistake again. So the message keeps coming up and I continue just to press 'No to formatting the card'.

Once again thank you for all the suggestions.


I would use a SanDisk Extreme Firewire CF card reader, but the SanDisk ImageMate would be more suitable for your needs. Otherwise any other USB card reader will usually do the job. Dont get the cheapest, try to get something branded.

You wouldnt be using a "blue" SanDisk card would you? Anyhow even those carry a 5 yr warranty so I would return it to the place of purchase with a copy of the invoice so you can have it replaced
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Re: ‘This card is not formatted, format card' error :(

Postby Mr Darcy on Mon Oct 04, 2010 11:03 pm

aim54x wrote:I would use a SanDisk Extreme Firewire CF card reader, but the SanDisk ImageMate would be more suitable for your needs. Otherwise any other USB card reader will usually do the job. Dont get the cheapest, try to get something branded.


Don't use a firewire reader unless you have a Mac. PCs have lots of issues even if they have a "firewire" port.
Almost any USB card will work well. Make sure you get one that is USB2 though. I have one branded "Calumet" that works a treat, and another labelled "Hispeed All In one 2.0 certified USB cardreader" that I think came from either DSE or Jaycar. It works well too & is in fact the one I use most. Try to get one that has a deep slot for CF cards. (Is it a CF card?) as it is relatively easy to bend the pins on the shallow ones if you are not careful inserting & removing the card.

It is NOT a good idea to use the camera as the card reader when downloading photos. First up, you are using the camera battery & will be shortening its life. Second, in the unlikely event that something goes horribly wrong, you risk damaging your camera as well as the card & the photos. With a card reader, it is only a $20 Card reader + card + photos at risk. Cheap insurance really.

You should have received a mini CDROM with your card that has recovery software on it. Have you tried that yet?
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Re: ‘This card is not formatted, format card' error :(

Postby surenj on Mon Oct 04, 2010 11:08 pm

Mr Darcy wrote:it is only a $20 Card reader

Not even that. Just got one for $10 as a spare (from Good guys but it's a made in China no name brand which could get cheaper on ebay)

If you are buying a card reader, make sure you get one that is SDHC (SDXC) compatible as you will probably want to read these higher capacity cards at some point in the future. In my experience, these readers last a long time.
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Re: ‘This card is not formatted, format card' error :(

Postby aim54x on Mon Oct 04, 2010 11:16 pm

surenj wrote:
Mr Darcy wrote:it is only a $20 Card reader

Not even that. Just got one for $10 as a spare (from Good guys but it's a made in China no name brand which could get cheaper on ebay)

If you are buying a card reader, make sure you get one that is SDHC (SDXC) compatible as you will probably want to read these higher capacity cards at some point in the future. In my experience, these readers last a long time.


I have had some pretty bad experiences with cheapo card readers at some of my previous work places...I mean seriously cheap ones that simply fail on you all of a sudden.

Mr Darcy wrote:Don't use a firewire reader unless you have a Mac. PCs have lots of issues even if they have a "firewire" port.


It was never a problem on my old computer....but my new motherboard does not have FireWire 800 so I have been forced to use my firewire reader with FireWire 400 and now my USB2 card reader (that is packed with laptop) transfers faster......lol
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Re: ‘This card is not formatted, format card' error :(

Postby surenj on Tue Oct 05, 2010 3:47 pm

aim54x wrote:I mean seriously cheap ones that simply fail on you all of a sudden.

Were you using this on a commercial high volume basis?

Actually looking at the prices, they aren't that different between the branded ones. There seem to be a lack of ones supporting CF cards + SDHC + SDXC though... :shock:
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