View Full Version : Pocket PC & Compact Flash Problems

James Kirk
25-05-2003, 03:53 PM
I have a Dell AXIM handheld (PDA) just delivered; this uses the Pocket PC operating system.

I have downloaded files from my desktop to a compact flash card (CF) inserted in a USB read-write unit. When inserted in the PDA, the files are read OK from the card. However, when re-inserted in the read-write unit attached to the PC, the files are not found by Windows Explorer, the system hangs, and a hard reboot is necessary. This happens 9 times in 10. When rebooted, the PC system finds the card and says it needs to be formatted.

And If the card is removed from the PDA and immediately re-inserted (in the PDA), a message pops up telling me that the CF requires formatting, (and so the files have become invisible).

The PDA is new. The CF card is new. The USB card R/W unit is new. I don't know where to turn to resolve this problem.

Any advice please?

Graham L
25-05-2003, 04:19 PM
Isn't it fun? :D

I've just got a cheap (second-hand) palmtop (using Palm OS 3.5.1) which has a CF socket. Once I determined that it worked, and was going to be useful ... :D ... I went to DSE and picked up an 8MB CF ($15) and a PC card - CF adaptor card.

I was amazed when it all worked ... my elderly laptop recognised the CF as an IDE device (after loading the drivers for the PC Card) and would copy files to and from it. I didn't even have to format the CF ... I used it in the palm computer first, and it happily did backups to the CF, and would fetch individual files back.

Try using the palm machine to explicitly format the CF, and try again. Obviously it's disconcerting, when it's all new and different, but the technology has been around for a while, so it should all work. (:O).
If it doesn't like a CF formatted on the palm, try formatting on the other...

James Kirk
25-05-2003, 04:42 PM
Thanks. You were prompt.
Like you, I bought an 8MB card and a read/write USB reader from Dick Smiths, and everything seemd to work. Then lock-up.
However, my PDA system is Pocket PC (Microsoft) rather than Palm like yours.
Nevertheless, I'll try formatting in the PDA first, but I think I've done this already as part of trying everyting, anything.

Graham L
25-05-2003, 04:48 PM
I suspect that formatting on one of them will get it going. What file system does the Windows see the CF as?

James Kirk
25-05-2003, 04:53 PM
I don't know; Windows 98 on the PC won't read the card.
I formatted the card in the PDA, put it in the R/W unit attached to the PC, but Windows explorer said the port was empty.
I have formatted the card while in the R/W unit and loaded files from the PC. The PDA reads these OK, but when the card is removed, it cannot then be read by either the PDA or the PC again; it locks up the PC, while the PDA lists the files but says they aren't there.
Horrible thing! I'm going to try a Secure Digital (SD) card once I buy one (tomorrow).

Graham L
27-05-2003, 05:00 PM
I came across an advertisement in an American magazine for a USB multiformat card reader which said it worked with Windows ME, 2k, XP without any drivers, but needed a driver for 98. Perhaps that is the problem.

This will bump the thread, maybe the people discussing the 256MB USB device may have some ideas.

27-05-2003, 06:44 PM
I have a pocket PC, which uses both CF and SD cards.

Only ever tried a CF card, which works fine in a card reader (Win XP) but NOT in a USB hub, only from a USB port on the PC itself.

Same with SmartMedia cards, not always successful from a hub, always fine from the PC though (and it has 6 USB sockets anyway).

I have never needed to format a CF to make it work, however I often perform a format when using a CF in my camera, which obviously uses FAT format.

Works fine on both 256 MB and 1 GB CF cards

Cards are reported to be using FAT format under XP.

Graham L
28-05-2003, 02:03 PM
Yes, I had a look at my CF 8MB with NU. It's FAT12, (with the boot sector saying it was formatted with MSDOS 5.0 :D). I've been bouncing files back and forth through the PC Card interface with no trouble. A DOS DIR /V even gave the W95 style filenames (with spaces) written by Palm OS. A .WAV file copied across from the laptop played OK on the Palm OS.

I wonder if it's a USB problem, though I can't see how it would cause the OS to say the module needs formatting ... even not "stopping" the PC Card device before removing it does that.


James Kirk
28-05-2003, 03:51 PM
Thanks guys. I appreciate the advice. I spent 2 hours on the phone to Dell (India!) yesterday. Naturally thay said it wasn't the Axim (but certainly after we had done lots of trials). But we uninstalled the synch program, and reinstalled it; downloaded and uploaded files to/from the PC via the synch cradle (which is connected to a USB hub); and via the USB port card reader (which failed of course). We uninstalled and reinstalled the card reader's software (connected to the same USB hub), and it has since failed only once. I've just got a 128MB Secure Digial card which I'll try later today. Regards, Jim