How to format an SD card to work with a SanDisk Sansa Clip+ using Linux

Get this MP3 player working without Windows

Anyone who owns a SanDisk Sansa Clip+ knows it’s one of the greatest MP3 players ever made. Cheap, rock solid & customisable - I love this thing.

One of the coolest features is that it takes an SD card of any size (at the time of writing, this can be 128GB!). However, due to some limitations with FAT32, these cards will not work out of the box.

Luckily for we Linux users, it’s dead easy to do with the command line, and a program called fdisk. This ships with most distributions.

You will need root access for this operation. You will also lose all data on the SD card, so back it up first if you need to.

Run the following commands as root:

lsblk

Then plug in your sd card

lsblk again.

See the new line? That’s the name of your SD card. On my system it has come up as /dev/sdg and has a partition of /dev/sdg1.

It will probably be a different letter for you. Sometimes for SD cards it comes up as /dev/mmblk0mdd or the like.

BE VERY CAREFUL YOU GET THE RIGHT DEVICE NAME you can lose all your data if you pick your local hard drive!

On some systems the card may have mounted itself. You can see if this is the case under MOUNTPOINT. If any directory is listed, then run

umount /dev/sdX1

With the device unmounted but still plugged in, run

fdisk /dev/sdX

This opens fdisk

Press d to delete partition. Keep pressing Enter until you are back to the ‘main’ menu. Repeat until there are no partitions left.

Press n to make a new partition. Again, keep pressing Enter to accept all the defaults.

Press t to change the partition type. Press c to set it to W95 FAT32 (LBA)

Press w to save your changes and exit.

Run mkdosfs -F 32 -I /dev/sdX

Done! Now you can mount your card, transfer music to it and your Sansa Clip+ will detect it just fine.