Mounted phone memory card shows incorrect disk size.

Liam Proven lproven at
Wed May 9 16:37:19 UTC 2007

On 09/05/07, Johan Grönqvist <johan.gronqvist at> wrote:

> I started gparted again to repartition the memory stick to fat32, but
> gparted said that there was no filesystem* on the card. I do not
> understand this, but guess that my phone somehow does not let me control
> the partition, and instead displays something that is mountable, but
> seems to contain no partitions at all (not even a partition table if I
> understand things correctly).
> The internal memory of the phone presents itself as a disk with one
> partition (fat16) spanning most of the disk, but the memory stick
> presents itself as a totally empty disk (to gparted).
> I will now probably give up, and use it in the  semi-reliable way I used
> it so far.
> (Btw: Windows (XP) is also not reliably writing to the memory stick
> card.)

There seems to be a lot of well-intentioned misinformation in this thread!

For one thing, FAT16 is the common format for removable solid-state
media because a lot of embedded device OSs cannot handle FAT32.

I would recommend strongly that you stick to FAT16, even though it is
very inefficient on such a large volume.

The largest supported size on DOS and DOS-compatible OSs for FAT16 is
2GB, using 65,536 32kb clusters. (MS-DOS, PC DOS, DR DOS, Win95/98/ME

Old versions of Windows NT (before Windows 2000) can only handle FAT16
& can only format FAT volumes during setup. They can't format NTFS.
So, you must install onto FAT16 and then convert to NTFS. For this
reason, NT4 includes a special tweaked FAT16 with 64kb clusters, just
for installation, to allow you a 4GB C: drive. It's intended to be
immediately converted to NTFS.

FAT32 is used from 512MB up to 8TB but NT will intentionally only
format volumes of <32GB, because of its slow speed and inefficiency on
larger volumes. However, on FAT32, the maximum single *file* size is
still 2GB.

It may be that your card was not actually partitioned but just
formatted as a raw filesystem, in the same way that floppy disks are

I always advise using an OS which handles a given filesystem
*natively* to format that FS. Use DOS or NT to format FAT, NT for
NTFS, Linux for ext2/3 and so on.

I suggest you put your card in a card reader, boot the machine under
DOS or NT, partition it with one big primary FAT16 partition, format
that to FAT16, and use it as that alone. Once you have done that, it
should work on anything.

Liam Proven · Blog, homepage &c:
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