SanDisk SD card Formatter alternatives

by William / Wed Dec 05 2018

Table of contents:

SD card readers sometimes won’t compatible with SDHC and SDXC cards, so SanDisk released a program to format these types of cards to their initial state and make sure the operating system shows full capacity of these cards instead of seeing 64GB card only displayed 32G when the reader device has a maximum support limitation. Besides, this tool always capable of overwriting cards

SanDisk SD Card Formatter
SanDisk SD Card Formatter

Download this tool from the official site

Steps of formatting SD card are easy to follow in this utility, the screeshot shows how to perform, just plug in the reader, select the card in the main window, leave the formatting option as Quick format, click the Format button, and confirm this operation when prompted, then you’ll have no problem to read from and write to this device

1. The Format option in Disk Management

Disk Management is the built-in disk manager in Windows, it’s now easy to access in Windows 10, the entrance is in the right-click menu of the Start button, so go ahead and click the option to open Disk Management, in the disk map, the connected drives (both internal and external) will be listed there, if the SD card is showing the right capacity, right-click on it and choose the Format… option, then Windows will pop-up the warning message says: Formatting this volume will erase all data on it. Backup up any data you want to keep before formatting. Do you want to continue?, click Yes to continue if you had a backup of important stuff, otherwise you can Cancel out this operation.

Windows 10 Disk Management Format option
Windows 10 Disk Management Format option

Then in the format window, you can specify the following items:

  • Volume label (optional, default value: New Volume)
  • File system (NTFS or exFat, default: NTFS)
  • Allocation unit size (from 512b to 2048k, default value: 4k)
  • Perform a quick format (default checked)
  • Enable file and folder compression (default unchecked)

The default setting is OK to go with, but as for external storage device, the exFat File system is better, you can use this instead of NTFS (also acceptable)

2. The Format command in diskpart

Diskpart is the command prompt tool to manage disk partitions, we can run diskpart from the CMD tool or directly run it from the dialog box (to invoke this tool press Win+R and type diskpart and press enter), if this is the first you run this tool, you can type diskpart list to see all the available commands there to manage disk and partitions, basically all the operations you found in Disk Management can be found in the list of commands too, so here are the screenshot and commands for formatting a partition:

The Format command in diskpart

  • list disk
  • select disk 1 (or the disk number that external drive shows)
  • list partition
  • select partition x (the drive letter of the external disk)
  • format fs=exFat quick

Alternatively, you can directly type the list volume command to list all the volumes and select one to format

3. The Format option in File Explorer

The format option not only exists in Disk Management or the diskpart command prompt but also in the File Explorer Volume right-click menu. Press Win+E to open it or just double-click This PC on the desktop, to visually check how much free space left on the drive, or how much space had used, we can click the Properties option and check the diagram, when the diagram is not showing the full capacity of the SD card, we can use the format option, click on it and you’ll see the screenshot below

the Format window of File Explorer

Options in this window:

  • Capacity (the size of this drive, drop-down menu has no other values)
  • File system (NTFS, FAT32, and exFAT)
  • Allocation unit size (512b ~ 2048k, default value: 4k)
  • Restore device defaults (click this button to set the file system to FAT32)
  • Volume label (no default value or placeholder)
  • Quick Format (default checked)

Click Start to format, again, exFAT is the best option for external hard drives or USB devices

4. The Format function in third-party Partition Manager

Not sure if you’re using some partition software or not, but the Format function is the basic feature in any third-party partition managers, take the Partition Expert program as an example, you can easily perform the format operation within the following steps:

  1. Click on the target partition
  2. Choose the Format Volume function
  3. Confirm and Commit
the Format function in Partition Expert

or check the video guide below:

Format is aiming for getting a new partition ready, setting the file system, partition table and meanwhile empty previous data, its main purpose is to use the partition, data recovery software is able to pick data up and restore it. Wipe, on the other hand, is focusing on removing data, permanently, main purpose is to get rid of data so that no data recovery programs can get back anything

Both FORMAT and WIPE will delete previous data, the difference is that DELETE only removes the header instead of the content of data, more importantly, it sets the essential info to the new partition, WIPE, however, is the overwrite process on each sector, making sectors clean and nothing meaningful in them.

Windows has no wiping programs, but if you’d like to remove something from the disk for good, Data Wiper is recommended, another program from Macrorit, specially designed for data managing, removing, to be more precise.

Data Wiper Main Interface

Learn more about Data Wiper