A couple of days ago I received a new 32 GB SD card from Sandisk. Upon arrival, I flashed the Retropie 4.1 image for the Pi Zero onto it. I then put the card into my Pi, and plugged it in. Nothing. It would not boot.

I then took it out, and plugged it back into my laptop. The only thing Windows was able to discover was an unknown device, saying that it must be formatted to be used. Upon further inspection, I realized that Windows was seeing 32 MB of raw unallocated space.

I then tried some of the methods that I could find. A normal format does not work, diskpart does not work, and using SD Formatter 4 does not work. Upon doing some research, I realized that when you flash a Raspberry Pi OS onto a microSD card, it creates two partitions, one of which windows can't recognize, and the other Linux can (this however is weird, as in previous times where I flashed an OS, Windows saw two separate devices.

I figured this was because I was using a newer version of Retropie, and it somehow needed to be partitioned in a different way than older versions). So, I booted up Linux Mint on a Virtual Machine, and connected my card in hopes that using GParted I could format my card and start over. However, upon opening GParted and looking at the drive, I am greeted with what is shown below. As you can see, GParted only sees 32 MB device, instead of the two separate partitions which I was hoping to see. I could not interact with the space at all, as it said there was no partition table.

I then attempted to create a partition table, and it completes with no errors, but nothing is actually created. Am I screwed and I need to get a new card? Am I doing something stupid? I'm seriously at an absolute loss at what to do, and any help is greatly appreciated.

GParted Screen

  • While you have a valid question that provides good details, please remember to use paragraphs in the future. Giant walls of texts are difficult for humans to read, and hitting the enter key alleviates a lot of frustration. ;) – Jacobm001 Feb 13 '17 at 3:24
  • That's very true, I'll keep that in mind next time. :) – thatoneguy245 Feb 14 '17 at 3:16

This happened to me once, several years ago. I installed on a new 8GiB card, and it failed in a couple of days and was unformattable.

I contacted Sandisk, and was advised to return the card, to be replaced under warranty. I gather this is a known, but rare, problem.

See Raspberry breaks SD card -> 31 MB RAW

  • 1
    I agree, it's probably a dead card. – Jacobm001 Feb 13 '17 at 3:25
  • sigh That's what I was hoping I wouldn't have to hear. Alright, thank you! I'll let you guys know how it went in case anyone else here has the same problem. – thatoneguy245 Feb 14 '17 at 3:12

I have the same issue that @thatoneguy245 and test my 32 GB sd card on windows and Unix with all solutions found on Google. But, after many many many pull push SD card from different devices.

I found the issue : the strength of the card was broken and micro power cuts broke the links and create circuit breakages. I only saw it after returning the SD card black side and pressing lightly on both sides. Transformation of the card into a double card ... but not from 32 GB to 64 GB. Fragility of the current cards hoping that they are not even finer in 10 years!

Nostalgia of the time of ZIP cards and others 3/4 formats...

Not fix or warranty for this, finally. broken sd card

  • Are you sure that is related to the question? – RalfFriedl Sep 24 at 16:51
  • Perhaps not. Anyway, if user find this question, and not see that his sd card is broken actually, he continue to search computer solution instead of see electric problem due to this little first rift. I see this rift on this SD card only 2 days after search computer solutions on Google and found the same use case like this question, especially the showing 30 MB on a 32 GB SD card testing on Windows and several Unix OS. – Undigo Factory Sep 24 at 19:54

Windows has a hard time with Linux partitions. If you have access to an android phone with an SD slot just pop it in and format it there. When finished try it out in you windows machine and see if you have it back.

  • Unfortunately, no I do not have an Android phone, so that isn't an option for me. – thatoneguy245 Feb 14 '17 at 3:12

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