I've been using the following SD card:

PNY - 8GB High Performance Secure Digital High Capacity (SDHC) Class 10 Memory Card

All of a sudden, my Pi will not boot. So I throw in another card and the Pi boots up. So the card is corrupt. I reformat it, and try again. Nothing. So now I want to know if the card is really bad, I reformat it and try storing some files and retrieving them from a PC. I am able to store data on the card.

My question is, if I can store and retrieve data why cant the Pi boot?

  • once SD card fails, i'd throw it in the bin. who really cares why did it fail and when the next time happens? SD cards are expendable, "replace and forget" works quite well for me.
    – lenik
    Jun 7, 2014 at 9:57
  • 1
    @lenik - I disagree. SD cards are expensive (at least in the US they are). Its hard to get a 2 or 4gb any more. Most are 8gb and higher and can cost at least 10$ (US). That's about 33% of the cost of the Pi. To be honest, I can live with losing 10$ but its the lost of data and work. Even though I do backup of my images, there is some data and work lost.
    – PhillyNJ
    Jun 7, 2014 at 10:49

2 Answers 2


I have about a dozen Rpis, and have had nothing but trouble with the SD cards. There are quite a few tutorials around for doing almost all of the booting from a USB flash or hard drive. An SD card is still necessary, but it is only read from, not written to. I have yet to lose one of these. Also, they are much faster.

If you need another USB port or two, you can get a dongle that lets you put two USB lines into a port. I have had no luck with memory devices on a powered hub, though other devices are fine.

Interestingly enough I have had no trouble with an SD card on a UDOO.


You have two problems here:


When you shut down the pi, make sure sure you are shutting down pi fully via the desktop shut down option or by running sudo shutdown -h now before unplugging the power. Simply unplugging the power will corrupt the sd card. See here for info.

Note: The pi is only fully shut down once all LEDs except the red power LED turn off.

Unable to reformat

The Windows Explorer formatter (and some other basic SD card formatters) don't take into account that the sd card has several partitions. To format completely, use a more advanced tool. See here for instructions.

  • I always shut my pi down with sudo shutdown -h now. I'll try your suggestions to use DISKPART or 'fdisk`
    – PhillyNJ
    Jun 6, 2014 at 20:44

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