How to Format Camera Memory Card?

How to Format Camera Memory Card?

In this article, I will tell you how to format camera memory card on camera or using your pc or mac. Digital technology has completely revolutionized the world of photography. You can take a photo, view it directly, and even edit or delete it with a digital camera. One of the main advantages is taking a large number of pictures and storing them on a medium.

Most often, it is a memory card. Different brands make many types. Formatting of this element is sometimes necessary for its proper functioning. Let’s see what “format” means and how to do it.

Definition of Formatting

“Format” literally means “to format.” In the field of computing, it is a question of preparing support to accommodate data. This medium can be a hard drive, a USB key, or in our case, a memory card. Formatting creates a file system that will allow the device to write to this card.

Formatting does not delete the folders, contrary to popular belief. It empties the file allocation table, FAT in English (for File Allocation Table), which is a list of the contents of the card. The device will therefore see this card as having free space and can use it for new photographs. Formatted data can be recovered as long as it has not been overwritten with new ones.

“Format” can, however, be synonymous with erasing or deleting in the sense that the data, in this case, photos, are no longer visible. The card is like “reset.”

When to Format the Memory Card of a Camera?

If you have just acquired a new card, for example, SD, it is usually helpful to format it. It is to ensure that the device can use the card. Some manufacturers deliver already formatted hardware. However, this does not exempt you from reformatting your device.

An annoying case is the presence of viruses on the card. This infection can be dangerous for your photographic and computer equipment. For some malicious programs, it is better to go through the “formatting” box even after scanning and cleaning by an anti-virus. It is additional security because some viruses cannot be scanned or removed by anti-virus software.

How to Format Camera Memory Card on Camera?
How to Format Camera Memory Card on Camera?

To free up all the space on the card, formatting is the easiest, fastest, and most complete solution. If you only have this memory card available and have already transferred all the photos, it is better to format it rather than selecting everything and then erasing it.

Need a New Memory Card?

SanDisk Ultra - 128 GB Memory Card
SanDisk Ultra – 128 GB Memory Card

If you want a new memory card for your camera, you can buy it on Amazon for $20.58.

How to Format Camera Memory Card?

If you find yourself where formatting is required, make sure you have a copy of your data on other media. It will avoid the difficulty of having to retrieve them later. There are two ways to format a digital camera memory card.

From the Camera

Regardless of the make or model, a digital camera has an option to format the memory card. Whether it’s an SLR, a compact, or a hybrid, the process is much the same. Here are the steps to follow:

  • Insert the card into the device in the slot provided for this purpose,
  • Switch on the device
  • Press the Menu button
  • Select the configuration menu
  • Look for the option “Format,” then press “OK.”
  • Choose “Yes” if the device asks for confirmation to delete files.

There may be intermediate steps between selecting the format option until you delete all the files.

Warning! You must wait for the few seconds or minutes that the device performs formatting. You should not turn off the device or remove the card during the process. It could damage the card or the device.

On Computer

To format a camera memory card on a computer, operations differ depending on the operating system. The start step is the same on all computers. It is to connect the card to the machine. It can be done directly on the card reader if the PC has one or an external cardholder.

How to Format Camera Memory Card on Computer?
How to Format Camera Memory Card on Computer?

Here are the steps to format a card using Windows system:

Open Windows Explorer. Depending on the version, this can be done by clicking on “Start” (Windows button) then “Computer” or by typing “Computer” in the search bar. The corresponding shortcut is Windows Key + E.

  • Right-click on the device to format
  • Choose the option “Format” in the menu that appears
  • In the window that appears, choose a format. In general, it is the “FAT32” format that is compatible with all hardware. Then enter the name of the card in the space provided
  • When all the configurations are complete, press “Start.”
  • Formatting starts, and a progress bar is displayed. A dialog box appears when the action is complete.
How to Format Camera Memory Card?
How to Format Camera Memory Card?

As for formatting on Mac OS, when connecting the card to the machine, the device is displayed on the desktop. The steps to format it are as follows:

  • Go to Finder
  • Enter the system applications tab
  • Open the “Utilities” folder. The map is displayed in the left pane


  • Click on “Launchpad” then “Disk Utility”


  • Select map
  • Press the “Delete” tab in the right pane or at the top of the window
  • Select the MS-DOS (FAT) format which can be used anywhere
  • Enter a name for the card
  • Click on “Delete” at the bottom right
  • A dialog box opens. Click on “Delete” to start formatting
  • The computer formats the card in seconds. The card disappears and then reappears on the desktop.
You may also like to read: Cleaning the Camera Matrix: When and How to Do It?

It was all about formatting a memory card using your camera, Windows and Mac. Happy photography, see you tomorrow with a new topic. Don’t forget to subscribe to my blog for such helpful information and photography tips.

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