Frequently Asked Questions - Memory Card

If you have a digital camera it is better to format your card in the camera. If you are using the card in a device other than a camera, we recommend the formatting of the card using a card reader, as described below:

If you are using the card in two different devices with different formats (e.g. a Digital Camera and a MP3 player) we would advise you to use two separate cards.

If formatting in the Card Reader (WARNING: FORMATTING CAN & WILL DELETE ALL DATA) please see you device or camera manual before proceeding with a format.

Be aware, by default Windows will format a memory card of 2GB or higher capacity to FAT32.

 

Formatting in a PC:

Windows 2000/XP/Vista/7

Open My Computer

Locate the drive letter of your memory card

Right-click on this drive

Select Format... (This will launch the Format Utility Window)

Under the option File System select FAT32

Click on the Start button

  • Press Start / Run
  • Type 'cmd' press the OK button
  • This will launch the MS-DOS window and prompt
  • Type format *: /fs:FAT32 or NTFS  (* represents the drive letter that windows recognises the card as)
  • Press return and follow the onscreen prompts
  • Once the routine is complete type EXIT

 

 

 

This problem is not related to any particular brand of memory card or device. It can occur when the device had been interrupted when accessing the memory card.

To avoid this problem;

  • DO NOT turn OFF the device or remove the memory card while the device is reading, writing, erasing or formatting.
  • DO NOT use the device while the batteries are low. This could result in corruption. In some cases power can run out as the memory card is being written to.
  • AVOID inserting and removing the memory card with the device switched ON.
  • To fix this problem you will need to reformat the memory card (this will destroy all data held on the card).
  • You may be able to recover images from a corrupted memory card before formatting  (see FAQ on reformatting the memory card).
  • Some cameras will not access memory cards that have been formatted in a Card Reader, so please read your camera manual before proceeding with a format.
  • When using card readers make sure the readers light is not flashing and wait a few seconds before pulling the card out of the card reader slot.

A SD card will normally work in a SDHC device (possibly with lower performance). SD cards are in the following capacities  4,8,16,32,64,128,256 512MB and 1GB, 2GB only. Currently mainly 2GB SD cards are being sold.

A SDHC card will not work in a SD device such as a camera or reader. SDHC cards are in the following capacities 4GB, 8GB, 16GB and 32GB

SDHC (Secure Digital High Capacity) was established to meet the growing demand for HD (High Definition) video and high resolution image recording now used in many SD-enabled devices.

SDHC is the same physical size and shape as standard SD but meets the new SD specification of version 2.0. If the SD card is 4GB or above, it is classed as a SDHC card. Currently, SDHC specifications allow for memory cards of a capacity between 4GB and 32GB.

SDA (SD Card Association) has also established a Speed Class rating (Class 2, 4, 6 and 10) for the standardisation of data transfer speeds (compulsory for SDHC cards):

  • CLASS 2 - a guaranteed minimum write speed of 2MB/s or higher*
  • CLASS 4 - a guaranteed minimum write speed of 4MB/s or higher*
  • CLASS 6 - a guaranteed minimum write speed of 6MB/s or higher*
  • CLASS 10 - a guaranteed minimum write speed of 10MB/s or higher*

* The minimum speed capability depends on the manufacturer of the host device and model.


All Class 2, Class 4, Class 6 and Class 10 SDHC cards are compatible with SDHC devices. Please note that if the device manual suggests a SDHC card of speed Class 4 as a minimum, the user should install a Class 4, Class 6 or Class 10 (faster) SDHC, NOT a Class 2 card as this may reduce performance of the device.

SDHC cards are not backwards compatible with standard SD devices, so they may not work in digital cameras or USB Memory Card Readers manufactured before summer 2007.

Most new devices that require the new SDHC format to operate will display the SDHC logo on the product (such as printed on the side of a camera casing) and/or user guide.

Standard SD Cards will work in SDHC compatible devices such as Memory Card Readers. In a SDHC camera a standard SD may be of limited use due to the slower read and write speed of this older technology.

The information contained in this FAQ also applies to microSD and new microSDHC plus miniSD and new miniSDHC formats. The only difference will be the physical size of the memory cards, the speed class information and compatibility issues are the same.

 

Memory cards and USB drives are NOT designed for long term storage. You should always backup your data on to another device. The data will normally stay valid for a period of up to 10 years if stored under normal conditions. The data cells inside carry a charge which can dissipate over time. The data can be refreshed; copy all data off card and then format the card or USB drive and then restore all data to extend the data for another 10 years.

 

SD cards have a write lock. This is a switch on the side of the card. The DOWN position is write protect ON  and the UP position is write protect OFF.

To use the device in a camera the position of the switch must be UP.  It is a good idea to write protect a card with important data.

 SD Card lock

"UHS-1" or more accurately "UHS-I"  stands for "Ultra High Speed" - 1 and is a speed class for SDHC and SXDC memory cards.

UHS-I has a bus interface speed of up to 104 MB/s.

An SDHC UHS-I card will work in any SDHC compatible device at lower speeds, but to take advantage of the UHS-I speed, a UHS-I compatible device is essential.

An SDXC UHS-I card will work in any SDXC compatible device at lower speeds, but to take advantage of the UHS-I speed, a UHS-I compatible device is essential.

UHS-I compatible cards and devices are normally marked with the symbol below ,"UHS-I" or "I"

A speed class is also defined.

 = Class 1 ."UHS Class 1"  

SDHC UHS-1 CLASS 1

This is the SDHC UHS-I Class 1 logo.

SDXC UHS-1 CLASS 1

This is the SDXC UHS-I Class 1 logo.

VIEW OUR ULTIMAPRO SDHC 45MB/s CLASS 10 MEMORY CARD WITH UHS-I CONTROLLER HERE

VIEW OUR ULTIMAPRO SDXC 45MB/s CLASS 10 MEMORY CARD WITH UHS-I CONTROLLER HERE

 

UHS-I Class 3 memory cards are now available from Integral.

UHS-II Class 3 memory cards with bus speed of up to 312MB/s are now added to the Integral range to support the next generation of digital cameras with a UHS-II interface.

 

SDXC is only supported by SDXC compatible devices with the SDXC logo. 

Older devices which support SD and/or SDHC will not support SDXC.

SD Card compatiblity

SD devices are compatibe with SD Cards only.

SDHC devices are compatible with SD and SDHC Cards only. (All features may not be available with SD)

SDXC devices are compatible with SD,SDHC and SDXC Cards. (All features may not be available with SD and SDHC)

SDXC UHS-I cards can use a faster method of reading and writing called UHS-I (or UHS-1).  You will need a UHS-I compatible device to use the UHS-I feature.

Please see our SDXC Guide

CAUTION: To avoid data loss - Do not insert a SDXC card into a non-SDXC compatible device.

SDXC stands for Secure Digital eXtended Capacity

SDXC logo banner

SDXC is the latest type of memory card released in 2010 which meets the demands of FULL HD recording in terms of capacity and speed. The SDXC card has the same dimensions of a SD and SDHC card, but is ONLY compatible with SDXC devices.

SDXC cards begin at 64GB with speeds upto 104MB/s and have a roadmap to 2TB with speed up to 300MB/s

SDXC uses the exFAT file system to handle large data volumes and files sizes over 4GB. A microSDXC version is now also available.

View our SDXC memory cards

View our microSDXC memory cards

Please see our SDXC and microSDXC Guide

The default formatting for cards up to 2GB is FAT16.

In recent years, memory cards have gained more storage capacity; 4GB and above. The file format FAT32 is now commonly used in memory cards between 4GB and 32GB.

If a digital device supports only the FAT16 file system you cannot use a memory card bigger than 2GB (i.e. SDHC/microSDHC or SDXC/microSDXC memory cards).

Integral memory cards of 4GB or more such as those in the CompactFlash i-Pro, UltimaPro and SDHC ranges are only supported by FAT32 devices and must be formatted to FAT32.

It is best practice to format the card in your device before use, CAUTION formatting a card will delete all data, please see your device manual.

 

  FAT 16 (FAT) FAT 32 exFAT (FAT 64)
Maximum file size 2GB* 4GB 2TB (limited by card)
SD Card type SD SDHC, microSDHC
SDXC, microSDXC
PC Compatible OS Windows ME/2000/XP/7/8
Windows ME/2000/XP/7/8

Windows XP/Vista/7/8

Notes
    Windows OS may require updates, please see Table 2 below
Mac Compatible OS
Mac OS 8/9/X
Mac OS 8/9/X Mac OS X 10.6.5 and above

*Recommended limit by Microsoft for compatibility but can be up to 4GB

Table 2

Windows XP Windows Vista Windows 7 and Windows 8
Update to SP2 or later, then apply Microsoft update (KB955704). Use with SDXC/microSDXC compatible card reader.
Update to SP1 or later. Use with SDXC/microSDXC compatible card reader. Supported - no update required, use with SDXC/microSDXC compatible card reader.

To transfer data from a memory card to a PC - The PC has to recognise the memory card as a removable drive. It is good practice to back up data kept on a card. This can be done in a number of ways including.

  • Leaving the memory card in your device and connecting your device (usually via a USB cable) to your PC. (Please see your device manual for instructions)
  • Using a suitable memory card slot on your PC if available. Insert the memory card correctly into the appropriate slot on your PC. The memory should show as a "removable drive" in your operating system. (Please note some newer cards may not work in older slots e.g. A SDHC card will not work in a SD only slot)
  • Using an external memory card reader - Connect the memory card reader to your PC and then insert the memory card. The memory should show as a "removable drive" in your operating system. (Please note some newer cards may not work in older reader e.g. A SDHC card will not work in a SD only reader)

Make sure that your internal or external card reader and operating system are compatible with your card and format eg a SDHC card will need a SDHC reader, a SDXC card will need a SDXC reader and a operating system compatible with the exFAT format.

Once the memory card is recognised your can cut-and-paste or drag-and-drop data to and from the memory can as you would with any other drive.

Caution: No not remove the memory card or turn off the power whilst reading or writing data this could corrupt data.

Most cameras will only view images stored within a set folder structure. If you have saved the images to new folders we suggest moving the images back to within the camera's folder structure and you should be able to view them if in the correct format, but this may not be the case always as some cameras will only display images with the correct EXIF information. (This is extra data stored with the image).   

If you have modified the original image or changed the file format using Adobe Photoshop or similar the image may now not be compatible with your camera's operating system and so will not display on the camera's viewing screen (the images will be perfectly safe and fine to print).

  1. To avoid problems it is best not to save changed images back to the memory card if possible.

If a memory card is used properly it will give many years of service. You could just have a single card but if you invest in 2 or 3 your flexibility is increased greatly:

  • Use an extra card when it is impractical to download your pictures, e.g. on holiday, or on the move.
  • It is sensible to set your camera to at the highest resolution (and therefore highest quality) setting. However, higher resolution images require more space, so with only one memory card you risk running out of storage space quickly. With an extra memory card this problem is eliminated.
  • Many modern digital cameras also record high quality video. These video clips use produce a lot of data,  so a single memory card can become full very quicky.
  • Take more shots of your subject and select the best one without having to delete unwanted images straight away.
  • What if your only memory card gets lost or damaged? Precious holiday, birthday, wedding photos could be lost forever! Spread the risk by using 2 or 3 memory cards with your camera.

The memory card is not faulty. This is an occasional issue that can happen after a long period of use.

  • To fix this the card may need to be reformatted either in you device or using a compatible card reader. Remember to have downloaded and backed up any images you wish to keep before formatting, as this will destroy all data saved on the card.

If a card has become unreadable, DO NOT format the card if there is data on the card you wish to recover. If corrupt data has been written to a card, it still may be possible to retrieve data/images from the card.

In many occasions it is possible to use Data Recovery software to recover images or data from a memory card/USB Flash Drive that is no longer readable.

  • We have used "Photorescue" from Datarescue.
  • Available from: www.datarescue.com/photorescue
    This information has been given in good faith and without any liability
  • There is a demo version for download that will show you if it can recover your images before you need to purchase the software.
  • Do a web search for "photo recovery software" and see what is available
  • If you have an INTEGRAL card please contact us using our web form 

The SDHC Specifications sets a minimum guaranteed speed of 2, 4, 6 or 10MB/s to match a host device. This speed rating is commonly referred to as Class 2, Class 4, Class 6 and Class 10 speed.

This rating system was introduced to satisfy the needs of High Definition digital cameras and camcorders, where a guaranteed continuous write speed is more important than the maximum write speed which is affected by many variables.

When using a camera there are some housekeeping rules that can help speed:

  • Format the card in the host device (after backing up files)
  • Do not try and fill the card to the maximum - as the card gets full it can slow down as the controller needs to find empty space on the card
  • If your device asks for a minimum Class 4 memory card use Class 4 or above and you should not encounter any problems
  • If the device requires a Class 6 card you can use a Class 6 or a Class 10 card in most cases.
  • If the device requires a Class 10 card - You should use a Class 10 card to enjoy the best performance.

  1. Make sure the memory card is not inserted upside down, this is a very common issue with memory cards in mobile phone handsets.
  2. Try rebooting/switching on your device with the memory card already inserted.
  3. Is your device SDHC / miniSDHC / microSDHC compatible? - many cameras, PDA's, mobile phone handsets and built-in card readers (on a PC) produced before Summer 2007 will not work with SDHC memory cards.
  4. Check the switch on the side of the memory card is not set to the "lock" position. If the memory card is locked; move the switch to the unlock position and then try again
  5. If you have a SDXC card you must use a compatible SDXC device. To use on a PC you will require a compatible device and a compatible operating system. Please click here to see our guide
  6. Try another memory card

 

Most flash products on the market utilize NAND flash memory which can be sub-divided into two categories, SLC and MLC. MLC is by far is the most popular because it has a lower cost.

  • SLC (Single Level Cell) products store only one data bit per NAND flash cell which leads to faster transfer speeds, higher cell endurance and a lower power consumption. The only downside to SLC chips is the manufacturing cost per Megabyte. SLCs are intended for the high-end consumer and server market and they have approximately 10 times more endurance compared to MLCs.
  • MLC (Multi Level Cell)  store two or more bits per NAND flash cell. Storing more bits per cell achieves a higher capacity and lower manufacturing cost per Megabyte. MLC products are designed for the mainstream consumer market.

 

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