Our old SanDisk CompactFlash 256MB card died recently, during a photo session. My wife was taking photos with it - sometimes in humid environment -, then as she was browsing through the results on her laptop via a card reader, all of a sudden the next picture just came out a small rectangle in the middle of the screen. And then the next didn't come at all, and after that neither the laptop nor the camera could recognize the memory card anymore.
Luckily I found PhotoRec via a couple of posts here, and it saved our weekend - I could backup most of the (over 200) pictures from the card, but my wife says some of the earliest are missing. Then I tried to reformat the card, but it failed.
To me this looks like somehow the first sectors on the card got permanently damaged. All this makes me wonder, what could be the reason? As memory cards contain no moving parts, I always assumed they could live practically forever. Can anyone make a guess about this particular case, or give an explanation about the typical causes and ways of memory card failures?
Update: I forgot to mention that the card was not heavily used and it is approx. 8 years old, so I don't think it could have been written to more than maybe a couple of thousands of times.
"Humid environment" meant being in a sauna for a couple of minutes, not underwater :-)