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Article ID: 898456 - Last Review: August 29, 2007 - Revision: 2.1

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Consider the following scenario. You use Windows Explorer to run the Microsoft Windows XP Format utility to reformat a removable media device such as any one of the following:
  • Secure Digital (SD) card
  • Compact Flash card
  • ATA Flash card
  • Memory Stick
  • SmartMedia card
  • Multimedia Card (MMC)
However, you then discover that the removable media device is no longer recognized by a digital camera or by some other electronic device.

Note This problem does not occur if you use the command-line format utility to reformat the removable media device.


This problem may occur if the following conditions are true:
  • The Format utility uses the FAT32 file system to reformat the removable media device.
  • FAT32 is not supported by the digital camera or by the other electronic device in question.
This problem most frequently occurs with earlier models of digital cameras. For example, a particular digital camera may require that its memory card (the removable media device) be formatted as FAT, not as FAT32.

  • When you start the Format utility, you see the Format Local Disk dialog box. In this dialog box, there is a File system list. By default, the File system setting is FAT32 on a volume for which the following conditions are true:
    • The volume has been previously formatted by the FAT file system.
    • The volume contains less than 2 gigabytes (GB) of data.
    However, you can change this setting to FAT, for example.
  • The volume that is referred to in the previous bullet is the removable media device or the memory card that you removed from your digital camera or from some other electronic device.
  • The FAT file system is also known as the FAT16 file system.


To resolve this problem, install the following hotfix. This hotfix forces Windows XP to preserve the existing file system on the removable media device when you use the Windows XP Format utility to reformat the device. For example, if you reformat a device that is currently formatted as FAT, the device will be formatted as FAT. Or, if you reformat a device that is currently formatted as FAT32, the device will be formatted as FAT32.

Hotfix information

A supported hotfix is available from Microsoft. However, this hotfix is intended to correct only the problem that is described in this article. Apply this hotfix only to systems that are experiencing this specific problem. This hotfix might receive additional testing. Therefore, if you are not severely affected by this problem, we recommend that you wait for the next software update that contains this hotfix.

If the hotfix is available for download, there is a "Hotfix download available" section at the top of this Knowledge Base article. If this section does not appear, contact Microsoft Customer Service and Support to obtain the hotfix.

Note If additional issues occur or if any troubleshooting is required, you might have to create a separate service request. The usual support costs will apply to additional support questions and issues that do not qualify for this specific hotfix. For a complete list of Microsoft Customer Service and Support telephone numbers or to create a separate service request, visit the following Microsoft Web site: (
Note The "Hotfix download available" form displays the languages for which the hotfix is available. If you do not see your language, it is because a hotfix is not available for that language. The English version of this hotfix has the file attributes (or later file attributes) that are listed in the following table. The dates and times for these files are listed in Coordinated Universal Time (UTC). When you view the file information, it is converted to local time. To find the difference between UTC and local time, use the Time Zone tab in the Date and Time tool in Control Panel.
Windows XP, 32-bit versions
   Date         Time   Version            Size    File name
   20-Aug-2004  22:01  6.0.2800.1579      82,432  Fldrclnr.dll     
   11-May-2005  06:48  6.0.2800.1684   8,348,672  Shell32.dll      
   20-Aug-2004  22:01  5.1.2600.1579     700,928  Sxs.dll          
   11-May-2005  00:13  5.1.2600.1684     594,432  Xpsp2res.dll     
   11-May-2005  06:48  6.0.2800.1684     925,184  Comctl32.dll   
   11-May-2005  06:28  6.0.2900.2674   8,452,096  Shell32.dll      
   25-Feb-2005  03:53          371,936  Updspapi.dll     
Windows XP, IA-64 versions
   Date         Time   Version            Size    File name    Platform
   20-Aug-2004  21:52  6.0.2800.1579     130,560  Fldrclnr.dll     IA-64
   11-May-2005  06:48  6.0.2800.1684  14,396,928  Shell32.dll      IA-64
   20-Aug-2004  21:52  5.1.2600.1579   2,034,176  Sxs.dll          IA-64
   11-May-2005  00:27  5.1.2600.1684     593,920  Xpsp2res.dll     IA-64
   11-May-2005  06:48  6.0.2800.1684   2,649,088  Comctl32.dll     IA-64
   11-May-2005  06:48  6.0.2800.1684     925,184  Comctl32.dll     x86
   20-Aug-2004  22:01  6.0.2800.1579      82,432  Wfldrclnr.dll    x86
   11-May-2005  06:48  6.0.2800.1684   8,348,672  Wshell32.dll     x86
   20-Aug-2004  22:01  5.1.2600.1579     700,928  Wsxs.dll         x86
   11-May-2005  00:13  5.1.2600.1684     594,432  Wxpsp2res.dll    x86
   25-Feb-2005  03:50          639,712  Updspapi.dll     IA-64


To work around this problem, use the software that was provided with the electronic device in question to reformat the removable media device. For example, if the removable media device is used with a digital camera, use the camera software to reformat the removable media device. For more information about how to do this, see the operating manual that came with your electronic device.

Warning When you reformat a device, all data on the device is lost.


To prevent this problem, use the FAT file system to reformat the removable media device in Windows XP. To do this, follow these steps:
  1. Open My Computer.
  2. Right-click the device, and then click Format.
  3. In the File system box, click FAT.

    Note The default setting in the File system box is FAT32.


Microsoft has confirmed that this is a problem in the Microsoft products that are listed in the "Applies to" section.


For more information, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
824684  ( ) Description of the standard terminology that is used to describe Microsoft software updates

  • Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition
  • Microsoft Windows XP Professional
  • Microsoft Windows XP Professional 64-Bit Edition (Itanium)
kbautohotfix kbqfe kbhotfixserver KB898456
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