SD card not being recognised

Q I have an Asus Eee PC 900, which is quite happily running Mandriva 2008.1. To give myself some extra storage space, I decided to purchase a 16GB SD card. This solution works well, but when I try a different operating system on the Eee or use my desktop, which is running Mandriva 2009.1, the card isn't recognised. I find I have to reinstall Mandriva 2008.1 to access the SD card. Do you know why this is, and is there any way you can you help me with this problem?

A The problem stems from the fact that your 16GB card isn't really an SD card - it's an SDHC card instead. These formats look identical from the outside, but they use different standards. SDHC is the high-capacity variant and can reach capacities up to 32GB, while standard SD cards are limited to 4GB of storage space.

Unfortunately, not all SD devices can handle SDHC cards, and this is particularly true of many card readers. This means that the inability of your desktop computer to read this card could well be down to your card reader. It's possible that it's a design that's simply too old to handle the newer format.

As for reading the card in the Eee PC 900 when trying a different OS, you've already determined that it works. There's a 16GB card permanently mounted in our Eee PC900 as well, so that rules out software compatibility. This means the issue probably boils down to whether the kernel of your chosen distro has SDHC support. You don't say which other distros you've tried on your Eee PC, but most of them should recognise an SDHC card, especially any distros that are designed for use on netbooks. However, we've found that recognising an SDHC card can take quite a few seconds on some distros. It may be that you just need to be patient for a bit longer and you'll find the operating systems will eventually do what you want.

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