when your sd card won’t format

I wanted to reclaim my Kingston 4GB SD card that had two partitions on it (70MB and 3.6GB), for use as a boot disc for my Raspberry Pi, but using the built-in partition manager (Disk Management) in Windows 7 and the SDFormatter that rPi.org recommends only enabled me to format or delete the smaller of the two partitions.

UPDATE: SDFormatter was version 4.0, and is actually the tool distributed by the SD Card Association. Official, but useless for this task.

I still don’t know why this was the case, and since I’ve now found a fix I don’t really care enough to figure out what the issue was (especially considering my searching for an answer brought me to many other people with the same problem, and not always reasons or reproducible results).

Frustrated with the lack of ability to completely wipe the card, I remembered the way I most commonly format SD cards — my camera. I had no idea if the internal “format” option would wipe all partitions on the card, but I figured it was a good hunch.

When I popped the card into the camera, it only showed space available for three photos — which tells me it was reading the 70MB partition. After formatting the card via the camera’s internal menus, the entire 4GB was available for photos.

I put the card back in my computer and confirmed that yes, there was now only one partition on the card, and it was alloted the entire space on the card.

So, a quick fix for the SD card partition problem: use your camera to format the card.

Apparently this is my answer to every SD card problem…

[FWIW, it was a Pentax K-x DSLR.]

Changing languages on a foreign computer with Windows 7

I just bought a new Asus Eee PC with Windows 7 installed, and while the vendor was nice enough to set the default language to English instead of the local Thai, there were still some programs where Thai was the only language displayed.

One example was a photo program that came pre-installed. Another was the Asus LiveUpdate installer, which I downloaded for checking on firmware updates for the netbook. These programs offered no option for changing the language, so this was obviously a system setting within Windows.

All Thai, no idea.

If you’re using Windows 7, there are six simple steps you can follow to fix this problem.

Note: If you have any documents open, save them now, as you’ll be asked to restart the computer in the final step.

  1. Press the Windows key on your keyboard OR click the Windows logo at the bottom-left of your screen

  2. type “Region and Language” in the search bar and select that menu item. This window should open:

    Region and Language settings in Windows 7

  3. Click on “Administrative” on the top-right

  4. Click on “Change system locale…” (as seen below)

    Change system locale settings in Windows 7

  5. Choose the language of your choice and click “OK”

  6. When asked, click “Restart now” (you can still go and save things at this point before clicking the button)

Presto-chango it’s legible again!

English Menus