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What format do you use to reformat a 4GB microdrive?

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I've seen quite a few posts in here about using 4GB microdrives in the S2 camera which many have had formatting problems with resulting in an initialization error. This happens because the microdrive is most likely pre-formatted as FAT32 vs FAT16 or just FAT. The S2 will not recognize FAT32.
Here's a way to format it that I've found works every time when running Windows XP Pro service pack 2 as your operating system.
A few things to mention first.
As you know a microdrive tends to use a bit more battery power than flash type CF's. Therefore I highly recommend connecting the AC power supply to your camera before attempting any of this! Your batteries may not last long enough for the format process to complete as it does take a while for 4GB. If they should go dead while formatting I don't know what will happen. Suffice to say whatever does happen probably would not be good.
Ok, here we go.
Open "my computer" or whatever you have it called on your machine so that you can see all your drives. Install the 4GB CF Microdrive into your S2. Connect your firewire and the AC adaptor to your camera and then turn it on. The function screen on your S2 should say "I394 DOWNLOADING" .
Now look a the drives you have on your computer, a new one should appear. Write this down as you will need it later. On my machine it shows up at "Removeable Disk (K:)"
If you turn your camera off it will no longer show up so you can double check this if you wish simply by turnign your camera on and off. Write this drive letter down, you will need it later in these directions.
Ok, once you're all hooked up, camera is turned on, and know what drive the camera is showing up as go to "start" on your toolbar. Select he following: start / programs / accessories / command prompt
When the command prompt window appears type cd\ and hit the enter key.
You should be seeing the prompt C:\> at this point.
Now type cd windows\system32 and press enter.
The prompt should now be C:\WINDOWS\system32>
Here's where you MUST be careful!!!!! I can not stess this enough!
You're going to be using the dos format command. If you tell it to format the incorrect drive YOU WILL have a serious problem on your hands!!!
Once a format process has started whatever drive you have selected will be trashed for all practial purposes. Needless to say if you format your boot drive your machine (typically drive C:\) it will be rendered completely usless and a total reinstall of the OS will be required. make no mistake, ALL DATA WILL BE LOST!!!
ok, continuing on...
Remember what drive your camera was?
Mine was K: - substiture the drive letter that yours is in place of the K below.
Type format K: and hit the enter key.
You will be prompted with the folllwing message "Insert new disk for drive K: and press enter"
press enter.
The next prompt you will see is "The type of the file system is FAT verifying 3905M" and then followed by "??% complete"
Once it has formatted 100% of the drive you will see this prompt. "WARNING! the cluster size for this volume, 64K bytes, may cause application compatibility problems particularly with setup applications. The volume must be lass than 2048MB in size to change this if the default cluster is used. Proceed with format using 64K cluster Y/N?"
Type Y for yes and hit enter.
The next prompt will get is "Initializing the file allocation table "
"Volume label ?"
Here you can give your drive a name, if you do not wish one press enter, if you want one, type it in and then press enter.
I used MDR4GB so that when I hook my camera up I can easily tell what drive I have in it at that point.
Anway, after you do or do not give it a label and press enter you
you should be prompted with this;
"Format complete.
4,094,885,888 bytes total disk space.
4,094,885,888 bytes total available on disk.
65,536 bytes in each allocation unit.
65,483 allocation units available on disk.
16 bytes in each FAT entry.
Volume serial number is whatever your computer assigns to it
c:\WINDOWS\system32> "
Type the word exit and hit enter to close the command prompt window.
****************
Your microdrive is now formatted with a capacity of 4GB for use in your S2. The only issue you will have is that the counter will not function. Sequencial file numbering will not be effected. I do not know of any way around this but the added file capacity is well worth the inconvience of not knowing how many images remain before the card is full. If you have a typical setting that you're used to you can get a feel for how many images you have left in time. Some say, why bother? I say why not. I just picked up this Hitachi 4GB drive from circuit city for $70 after rebates. That's darn cheap memory folks!!!! I can live with no counter for now.
If anyone knows how to get the counter back using a 4GB microdrive I would certainly be interested in how to do it. To bad Fuji does not offer firmware upgrades to solve this issue with the S2.
Oh yea, one other thing. DO NOT attempt to format this drive in your camera. It will not work and you will get an error of some sort. Just delete the images after you have downloaded to your computer and then go back out and snap away.
Have fun shooting, hope you have found this information helpful.

Posted on Oct 22, 2013

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