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Gary's picture
Joined: 2011 Jul 21
Formatting a CF card

I have a Lexar 8 GB CF card mounted to my desktop using a Lexar Firewire card reader that I want to use as a file transfer disk. It is currently formatted as a DOS disk.

I want to move a large number of small files (around 45,000 of them) between 2 Macs so I figured I'd reformat the card as Mac OS Extended.

But NO! None of my usual disk utilities are up to the job. None of them even show the card in the device list.

Can I do this or am I stuck with a DOS format CF card?



24bit's picture
Joined: 2010 Nov 19

I do not use CF much these days.
Anything with a valid file system should be re-formattable, unless its about to fail.
My Agfa 4GB SD could not be formatted in its last days.

Silverlining or Lido should do the trick, DiskUtility in OSX too, I would presume.
Which ones did you try already?

Gary's picture
Joined: 2011 Jul 21

Hard Disk Toolkit; FWD Utilities; Apple's Disk Utility (Mac OS 9 version).

MikeTomTom's picture
Joined: 2009 Dec 7

If your CF card currently mounts on a classic Mac Desktop, try using "Disk First Aid" to format it. If you don't have this installed on your system it will be on your OS 9.2.2 or earlier install disks/CD.

Have the Disk you want to format already mounted on the Desktop & start up "Disk First Aid". Its name should appear in DFA's window, select its icon in DFA's window to highlight it.

In the menu-bar click: "Options" menu, then "Erase Disk..." sub-menu.

You then get a choice of re-naming the mounted disk and formatting it. Usually the format choice will be "Mac OS Standard", "Mac OS Extended" (Mac OS 8.1 or later) and "DOS". Earlier Mac OS's may also offer Pro-DOS as a choice.

[Edit] Easier still, use the Finder. Select mounted disk icon, go "Special" menu, "Erase Disk..." sub-menu.

Gary's picture
Joined: 2011 Jul 21

>Easier still, use the Finder. Select mounted disk icon, go "Special" menu, "Erase Disk..." sub-menu

Finder is the usual way I do this sort of task. And Finder was the way I first discovered the anomaly.

Because Finder only listed the DOS option for erasing the card.

This morning I was going to give SilverLining a go. So I started the computer and inserted the card. When I did, I got a message saying that the disk needed to be initialized and the 3 options you listed showed up in the popup menu.

I selected the one I wanted. The card formatted just fine.

Go Figure.


Protocol 7's picture
Joined: 2010 Aug 7

Maybe it was a partition map thing. Finder might not offer the HFS options if the disk uses the MBR partition layout instead of Apple Partition Map.

themacmeister's picture
Joined: 2009 Oct 26

Yeah, the MBR/AFS/GUID thing can be a killer. Get access to a Mac OS X machine, and use disk util to reformat using Apple File System (with OS 9 drivers) and all should be sweet.

sfp1954's picture
Joined: 2013 Dec 29

I have been using CF cards with a PCMCIA adapter on Wallstreets running 8.6 and 9.2.2 without any problem. I think they initialize as HFS (not HFS+), but I just use the standard Mac Drive Setup.