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Date:      Tue, 3 Feb 2009 07:32:26 -0500
From:      William Bulley <>
To:        Warren Block <>
Cc:        Jerry McAllister <>, Mel <>,
Subject:   Re: short-changed on SD card?
Message-ID:  <20090203123226.GB6430@dell1>

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According to Warren Block <> on Mon, 02/02/09 at 15:29:
> newfs_msdos(8)

Learned something new there.  Thanks!

> It's generally not useful to slice/partition a small SD card.  Without a 
> slice table, the whole device is just one slice.

Agreed.  I just want a big chuck of storage (in this case the 2.0 GB that
I paid for, sigh...) and I don't care what format it is in.  As I said, I
am happy with FAT16 as long as I can use all (approximately) 2.0 GB of it.

> Offhand I don't know if you can overwrite an existing slice table (boot 
> block) with just a 'newfs_msdos /dev/da1'.  Probably.

This is something I will try.

> If not, you can just 'dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/da1 bs=512 cnt=1' and then 
> do the newfs_msdos.

Okay.  This is worth a try.

> If you plan to use that card in a camera, you are a little safer doing a 
> "full" or "low-level" format with the card in the camera.  Some cameras 
> create and like not-quite-right filesystems.  Older Canon cameras, for 
> instance.

This is not for use in a camera.  It is just a quick and dirty way for me
to grab (about) 2.0 GB from one FreeBSD system and plop it onto another.

> Finally, there are more than a few reports of SD cards with false 
> capacities bought on ebay.

This SD card was purchased from a reputable firm in New York whose name
you would recognize were I to mention it.  I have had nothing but good
experiences buying from them in the past (many years > four).



William Bulley                     Email:

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