How do I format a microSD/SD card?

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11/19/2014

Sometimes a microSD/SD card may require formatting before it can be used with a Garmin device.

NOTE: These instructions are only for formatting a microSD/SD card. It is not recommended to format any Garmin mass storage device unless otherwise directed by Garmin Product Support or these FAQs. It is important to avoid formatting the Garmin device as this may leave it in an unusable state.

To format a microSD/SD card:

Windows:

Format the microSD/SD card to a FAT or FAT32 format. A 2 GB or less card can be formatted in FAT or FAT32. Cards larger than 2 GB should be formatted in FAT32. Cards larger than 32 GB should be formatted exFAT2.

  1. Place the SD card into the SD card slot in the device3
  2. Press the Windows key + E on the keyboard to open Windows Explorer/File Explorer
  3. Locate the Removable Disk 1 icon representing the SD card
  4. Right-click on the Removable Disk icon
  5. Click on Format
  6. Change Allocation unit size to Default allocation size
  7. Ensure Quick Format is checked
  8. Click Start

Mac:

  1. Open Spotlight (CMD + SPACE on the keyboard)
  2. Type Disk Utility (in Spotlight search box)
  3. Press Return on the keyboard
  4. Click the parent icon for the SD card in the sidebar on the left (the parent icon is the one that is not indented)
  5. Click on the Erase option on the right
  6. In the Format drop down menu, select MS-DOS (FAT)
  7. In the Name field, type a name/title for the SD card (Do not leave the name as "Untitled")
  8. Click Erase

These steps will format the microSD/SD card to be readable by the Garmin device.

1The majority of microSD/SD cards are identified by a PC as Removable Disk and Untitled or No Name by a Mac.

2It is standard practice for SD card manufacturers to format 64 GB MicroSD cards to exFAT. exFAT is supported by the following operating systems:

  • Windows XP will read exFAT if Microsoft update KB955704 is applied
  • Windows Vista with Service Pack 1
  • Windows 7 and higher
  • Mac OS X 10.6.5 (OS X Snow Leopard) or higher
  • If the operating system does not support exFAT, a 32 GB (or smaller) MicroSD card will be needed

3For devices that connect to the computer in MTP mode, a separate memory card reader must be used. MTP devices can be identified by the orange computer connection icon on the screen of the device while it is plugged into a computer.

Referenced Link:

(KB955704) http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=19364

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