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SD card "shrunk" after writing Raspbian image to it?

Posted: Mon Dec 31, 2012 5:42 am
by mpalomer
I followed this guide to installing Raspbian onto an SD card. Once I formatted the SD card to FAT32, it had ~3.6GB free. Then I used Win32DiskImager to install the ~1.8GB Rasbian .img file to the SD card. After that, it had only about 55.9MB of space, and 16.4MB of files inside it. When trying to format it again, the largest size I can allocate for it is 55.9MB, and I can't format it in FAT32 format any more. Does anyone know why this happened and how to get back to formatting it so I can use all the space of the card instead of just 55.9MB of it?

Re: SD card "shrunk" after writing Raspbian image to it?

Posted: Mon Dec 31, 2012 6:29 am
by rpdom
This is normal and is exactly what is supposed to happen.

The Raspian Image writes just under 2GB of data to your card. This consists of a small disk image of about 66MB which can be seen unders Windows (this contains the Pi's boot code), and a large Linux disk image of nearly 2GB which Windows ignores as it doesn't understand it.

So, you have about half of your 4GB card allocated so far...

The next step is to start up your Pi with the card in. One of the first things you will see is the configuration menu. One option on there is to resize the system to use the whole card - this will take some time, then ask for a reboot. It will complete after the reboot (that will take a bit of time too, and may slow your Pi down while it is doing that).

Re: SD card "shrunk" after writing Raspbian image to it?

Posted: Mon Dec 31, 2012 6:47 am
by mpalomer
rpdom wrote:This is normal and is exactly what is supposed to happen.

The Raspian Image writes just under 2GB of data to your card. This consists of a small disk image of about 66MB which can be seen unders Windows (this contains the Pi's boot code), and a large Linux disk image of nearly 2GB which Windows ignores as it doesn't understand it.

So, you have about half of your 4GB card allocated so far...

The next step is to start up your Pi with the card in. One of the first things you will see is the configuration menu. One option on there is to resize the system to use the whole card - this will take some time, then ask for a reboot. It will complete after the reboot (that will take a bit of time too, and may slow your Pi down while it is doing that).

Ah that makes sense... thanks.

Oh and it's sort of an off topic question that I wanted to ask in the original post (I forgot to), but what is the difference between quick format and regular format in Windows, and which should I choose to format SD cards? I chose regular format for this one.

Re: SD card "shrunk" after writing Raspbian image to it?

Posted: Mon Dec 31, 2012 7:24 am
by efflandt
Quick format just marks all files and directories deleted, but does no actual formatting. Regular formatting probably clears the root directory entries (instead of just marking files deleted) and checks the entire partition for errors.

However, Windows knows nothing about Linux file systems. So if you want to erase Raspian or other Pi OS from an SD card to use it with Windows, the simplest and quickest way to reformat the whole SD card back to FAT32 would be in a camera.

Re: SD card "shrunk" after writing Raspbian image to it?

Posted: Wed Apr 24, 2013 4:42 pm
by TheChilledGamer
hi im really worried i have a 16gb sd card and after writing the image it says i have a maximum sd card space of 55mb instead of the previous 16gb. i can understand the total amount of space free decreasing but not the maximum of memory on the sd card decreasing. plz help :(

Re: SD card "shrunk" after writing Raspbian image to it?

Posted: Wed Apr 24, 2013 6:01 pm
by rpdom
TheChilledGamer wrote:hi im really worried i have a 16gb sd card and after writing the image it says i have a maximum sd card space of 55mb instead of the previous 16gb. i can understand the total amount of space free decreasing but not the maximum of memory on the sd card decreasing. plz help :(
Have you read the replies above? They explain why this is the case.

That is normal.

Windows cannot see the Linux part of the card.

It only shows the little bit that is used for starting the Pi.

The Pi can see the whole card, but initially is only able to use about 1.7GB of it.

The expand option on the raspi-config will allow Linux/Raspbian to use the whole card.

Re: SD card "shrunk" after writing Raspbian image to it?

Posted: Fri Mar 28, 2014 8:25 pm
by Tochimo
So I realize this posting has been inactive for about a year, but it's the closest things to my issue that I could find.

I have a 16gb SD Card which I was using to run Raspian on a Pi. I want to start over, with a fresh install of Raspian, but when I go to reformat my SD card it only recognizes 1.33gb of space. I've tried reformatting a number of different way, using a number of different programs, and even used partition programs to try to detect and remove the partitions. None of it will detect any space beyond the 1.33gb. I have a second 16gb SD card I was running a different Pi OS on, and I'd like to completely recover it for my camera. When I put either card in the camera, the camera will make a folder for pictures, but it doesn't actually reformat or recover the whole card.

SD formatter - using the full formatting tool (not quick) with size adjustment turned on gives me 1.33gb. Beyond that, it doesn't really provide many tools/options for formatting.....
EaseUS Partition Master - can't do anything with the trial version, not paying $100 for $10 SD cards....
Minitool Partition Wizard - can't find any way to do a full reformat as some other forum posts have suggested. Pretty much seems like EaseUS Partition Master without as many restrictions in the trial version.

The explanation above makes sense, I'm just not having any luck with getting the full size of my SD cards back. I know they're able to hold that much space because I used them to swap some media files when I first got them.....

Re: SD card "shrunk" after writing Raspbian image to it?

Posted: Fri Mar 28, 2014 9:22 pm
by Tochimo
So I managed to remove the partition from the SD card using Minitool Wizard - but now my computer (VAIO) doesn't recognize the card at all. Minitool Wizard now says it's a bad card.

But when I plug it into my camera, it formatted fine and saved pictures to it. When I plug the SD card into my ASUS, it detects it fine, shows the full 16gb, was able to format using SD format software... but even after the format, my original computer won't detect the SD card...

If I throw the 2nd SD card into my VAIO, it detects it fine, reads and writes to card no problem. So the card docking bay is working.

Anyone know what I did to my first SD Card that has my VAIO ignoring it, but my ASUS seeing it fine?

Re: SD card "shrunk" after writing Raspbian image to it?

Posted: Fri Mar 28, 2014 9:31 pm
by DougieLawson
Try formatting it in your camera.

Re: SD card "shrunk" after writing Raspbian image to it?

Posted: Sat Mar 29, 2014 12:43 am
by Tarcas
Tochimo wrote:But when I plug it into my camera, it formatted fine and saved pictures to it. When I plug the SD card into my ASUS, it detects it fine, shows the full 16gb, was able to format using SD format software... but even after the format, my original computer won't detect the SD card...

If I throw the 2nd SD card into my VAIO, it detects it fine, reads and writes to card no problem. So the card docking bay is working.

Anyone know what I did to my first SD Card that has my VAIO ignoring it, but my ASUS seeing it fine?
Sounds like the card itself is fine since it works in two different devices. You may have hardware or software that's not recognizing the SDHC card. How old is the computer and card reader, and will it read other cards over 4 GB?