How to reformat SmartMedia cards for Olympus cameras after Dazzle?
August 18, 2005 9:23 AM   Subscribe

How can I reformat a SmartMedia card (or several) that are unreadable and unformattable by my Olympus D40 camera? This happened after I deleted pictures off of them on a Dazzle USB reader (using WinXP).

Google has failed me as all I find are instructions for changing SMPREP, and that only works with Win98. I did this with 3 cards before I realized they were all trashed as far as the camera goes (they work in all other devices).
posted by genefinder to Computers & Internet (11 answers total)
You should be able to format the card in the camera... I believe the Olympus call it Card Setup or something similar to that....
posted by kashmir772 at 9:30 AM on August 18, 2005

have you tried reformatting the cards on the computer (through your dazzle reader)? you just right-click on the drive name for the card and select 'format'...a friend brought me SmartMedia cards with problems a while back, and this is how i have fixed them
posted by troybob at 9:43 AM on August 18, 2005

Response by poster: Kashmir, normally that is true (reformatting with the camera), but now I only get a card error with cards I have used with the Dazzle Card Reader, and deleted pictures while they were in the card reader. The Dazzle reader reformats them so the Olympus camera can no longer recognize them. Other cards still work fine (will format etc...) with the Olympus so my camera isn't acting up. It is only these cards which cannot be formatted now. I have tried right clicking and formatting in XP (using FAT and FAT32) but nothing helps.
posted by genefinder at 9:47 AM on August 18, 2005

it might be a long shot, but this page describes a detailed recovery process:
posted by troybob at 10:01 AM on August 18, 2005

I'd suggest that you try formatting the card with different Olympus camera still accepting the SmartMedia. Different hardware and firmware versions might help in just ignoring what upsets your D40.

I've had bad luck with the Dazzle and SmartMedia (but I never had any problems with CF cards)

> (they work in all other devices).

Are these devices able to format cards? Can they delete content?
The other devices might be able to alter the card in such a way that the Olympus won't be confused anymore.
posted by NewBornHippy at 10:08 AM on August 18, 2005

hmm...i'm curious about this, as I use smartmedia cards also...and the ones i fixed were formatted on a win98 computer...from what i am reading, apparently some cameras format the cards using a FAT12 file system, and when XP formats it, it formats in FAT(16?) or FAT32, thus making the card unreadable by the camera...the searches show that this is a widespread problem for people using cardreaders on winxp (and shame on olympus if they don't address it)...i thought i might find something about reformatting back to FAT12, but google searching is getting me nothing on that (perhaps it is not possible using software?)...anyway, it looks like a lot of the stuff i find online indicates that the card cannot be recovered back to FAT12...if the camera cannot format it back to FAT12, I wonder if it could be done if you get to a win98 machine with your card reader...
posted by troybob at 10:24 AM on August 18, 2005

on the olympus site: Windows XP formatted media cannot be used on these products.
posted by troybob at 10:33 AM on August 18, 2005

umm...sorry for so many posts...a fuller description (with files to download) on the olympus smartmedia fix that might work for you...
posted by troybob at 10:38 AM on August 18, 2005

Response by poster: troybob, thanks but these linked fixes rely on you having Win98 drivers for the dazzle reader. WinXP doesn't need any drivers, and doesn't have the smprep.exe executable that these fixes are exploiting. I have tried them anyway, and they don't work. I should try and track down a Win98 computer, but no one I know has one.

I wouldn't mind if WinXP formatted media wouldn't work as long as the camera could then format them. But all I get is a card error when trying to format using the Olympus. I agree, shame on Olympus.
posted by genefinder at 10:54 AM on August 18, 2005

yeah, apparently the winxp formatting makes it unreadable and unformattable by the camera...and xp doesn't at all include the ability to format in FAT12 (so the command line thing wouldn't work there)...good luck on the win98 search...believe it or not, they're still around if you ask people!
posted by troybob at 11:25 AM on August 18, 2005

You should contact Dazzle about it:

I had the same problem - it's a bug in the Dazzle 6-in-1 reader. They eventually sent me a firmware upgrade for the Dazzle 6-in-1 and a reformatter for the card(s) - however the latter only works on Win 98.

If you find a 98 machine, and trust me, and have the same reader you can grab the firmware and formatter from me. The instructions I was given are as follows:
There was an issue with a small batch of readers that causes the problem you are having. The good news is that it is fixable. It is a 2 pronged attack

Upgrading the firmware will keep the issue from ever happening again.The next step would be to then use a format utility to recover your cards to their original state.

1) The firmware update and format utility are attached to this email [above]. Unzip the firmware update and open the instruction text file inside the unzipped folder for firmware update instructions.

2) Remember that when running the sm format utility to recover your card, it must be done on Windows 98. Please have your installation cd with you to install the drivers to Windows 98 and restart the computer before plugging in the reader. Once the reader is plugged in after reboot, simply double click on the smformat.exe file to start the formatting process.
posted by Auz at 12:28 PM on August 18, 2005

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