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I get this error "Error formatting memory stick". I format my Memory Stick Pro Duo 8gb and after few shoots I get this error all over again and again. My camera is Sony CyberShot DSC-W220. I go to vacation in a few hours, please tell me what should I do to fix this problem and never get it again? Or it's damaged card?

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migrated from Jun 18 '10 at 21:57

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You get that error in the camera or on your computer? – Alerty Jun 18 '10 at 21:55
camera ...................................... – hey Jun 18 '10 at 21:58
Where did you format the stick and is this the stick that originally came with the camera? – Alerty Jun 18 '10 at 22:00
no, i bought it separately. and i format it on the camera. – hey Jun 18 '10 at 22:15
up vote 0 down vote accepted

Where did you get the Memory Stick from? There are a lot of fake Memory Sticks and SD cards floating around. Flash memory cards are favored by counterfeiters in general because they're cheap to manufacture and have high returns. This is compounded when you can make a 512MB card and sell it as an 8GB or 16GB card (it will even show up as a 16GB card on the computer/camera/media player). And Memory Stick is especially popular because of their relatively high retail price while costing the same to make as SD cards.

If you bought the Memory Stick from any of these sources, there is a very high chance that it's a counterfeit (especially if you got it at a really low price):

  • eBay
  • Craigslist
  • Amazon Marketplace (not to be confused with Amazon Merchants, which are generally legitimate retailers)
  • somewhere in China/HK and a few Southeast Asian countries
  • pawn shop (I've heard of pawn shops knowingly buying fake memory sticks from people)

You generally want to stick with larger and more reputable retailer when it comes to memory cards since there's no way to tell the fakes from the real ones until you start get errors when writing to them past their actual capacity. If it's a small mom & pop brick and mortar retail store in your area, then it's probably safe. But online shopping is like the wild west since it costs relatively little to put up a professional-looking storefront and hard to pick out the fly-by-night retailers. Buying SD cards from auction- or classifieds-type sites is just asking to be ripped off.


When it comes to legit Memory Sticks, bigger brands aren't necessarily better. As long as you purchase from a legit retailer, it's perfectly alright to buy the non-Sony Memory Sticks. In fact, if you look up BlackSPEED Memory Stick benchmark results (performed on the PSP), you can see that the non-Sony brands are actually faster for the same size and class of cards. Generally, the ranking is:

  1. SanDisk Ultra II
  2. Lexar Platinum II
  3. SanDisk Gamer GX-whatever (only writes faster than regular cards)
  4. Sony PRO Duo Mark II
  5. Sony PRO-HG Duo / HX
  6. SanDisk PRO Duo
  7. Lexar PRO Duo
  8. Sony PRO Duo (may be discontinued)

After you take pricing into account, unless there's a huge discount, there's almost no reason to buy a Sony-brand MS card. Lastly, a good reputable supplier that has very competitive prices is Adorama, which also sells on Amazon as an Amazon Merchant.

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It sounds like either the reader or the memory stick are bad. Most likely the memory stick, but you can test by seeing if the reader will read any other memory sticks. If it does then it's the stick, go buy yourself a new one.

Unlikely issue: If your formatting settings aren't valid for the media type you are trying to format (such as an incorrect capacity, unsupported filesystem, etc).

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