Join Derrick Story for an in-depth discussion in this video The difference between formatting a card and erasing it, part of Recovering Photos from Memory Cards.
I'm going to talk about the difference between erasing pictures off your memory card and formatting the card itself. When you go to the menu, generally speaking, you're given the option between the two, and most of the time we pick erase. We'll either erase individually or we'll erase all the images. And we tend to overlook this right here, which is format. And format is actually a better way to go.
Why? When you erase a picture, all it does is take away the file name and some of the information, but it leaves other information behind. And over time, all this other information, what I like to call cruft, begins to add up, and it can actually corrupt your memory card. When you format, it takes away all the information, except for the pictures. Pictures still stay there. And sets up a brand new, fresh, clean directory. All the cruft goes away.
And in fact, when you get a brand new memory card, you should format it. That allows the camera to set up the directory so it works best with that camera. And if you move a memory card from one camera to another, guess what? Format it. That's right. And that way it'll work great with that camera and it keeps all the cruft away. Now, I know I don't need to say this, but I'm just going to mention it. Don't do any of this until your pictures are backed up.
Right? They have to be safe somewhere, and I prefer, my personal feeling, I like to have pictures backed up in two spots before I format or erase. There is recovery software that can help us recover those pictures that no longer have names, but it's a lot of work, and it's much easier just to have good practice while you're using your memory card. So, use format when you have a brand new memory card, or when you move a memory card from one camera to another.
And format instead of all erase, just to keep things nice and clean, and tidy,
When bad things happen, this course can help. Photographer and author Derrick Story details a variety of disaster scenarios and provides practical advice for surviving them. Learn how to recover accidentally deleted photos, retrieve photos from a memory card that's generating errors, and work with cards that have been physically damaged.
Derrick demonstrates a variety of photo-recovering software for the Macintosh and Windows PC, and concludes with advice on keeping your memory cards—and the photos and video they contain—healthy. The techniques in this course apply to SD, microSD, and CF cards, as well as memory sticks.