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Memory Stick FAQ

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Posted by whizkidd


I have come across many people still asking about memory sticks and the confusion regarding memory sticks, memory stick duos, Memory stick pro and Memory Stick pro duos.
Here's an answer to some of your doubts in FAQ style. This has been compiled from various resources I came across on the Internet. Please do update me if you come across anything new that needs to be added here.

Hope this topic helps clear some long standing doubts.

Memory Stick General FAQs

Q1. What is Memory Stick?
A: Memory Stick is a removable flash memory card format, launched by Sony in October 1998, and is also used in general to describe the whole family of Memory Sticks.

Q2. What types of Memory Stick media are currently available?
A:The current types of Memory sticks are:

Q3:Which brand of MS-Media should i buy?
A: As of now three brands namely Sony, Sandisk and Lexar make Ms-media.
This thread
Sony vs Sandisk should be of help in deciding what brand to choose.
Also see the Lexar Website for prices and more info.

Q4: What is the maximum storage capacity of memory stick and memory stick duos?
The maximum memory capacity supported by memory stick and memory stick duo is 128mb only.
Products supporting memory stick and memory stick duos only won't support newer higher capacities of memory stick pro and pro duo.
But do note that the older Memory Stick will work on newer devices which support pro duos since they are backward compatible.

Q5. What are the dimensions of Memory Stick media?
A: Standard-size Memory Stick media:
50.0 x 21.5 x 2.8mm (1.97x 0.85 x0.11 in).
Memory Stick Duo media:
31.0 x 20.0x 1.6mm (1.22 x 0.79x 0.06 in).
Memory Stick Micro:
15.0 mm (H) × 12.5 mm (W) × 1.2 mm (D)

Q6: What is Memory Stick media's access speed?
A: The maximum theoretical access speed of Memory Stick PRO and Memory Stick (with MagicGate) media is 160Mbps. The actual speed may vary and is dependent upon the design of the host device.

Q7:. When was Memory Stick media first introduced?
A: The first shipment was made in October 1998.

Q8: Where can I obtain answers to questions regarding Memory Stick media?
A: Please contact the customer support center of the manufacturer or post in this thread itself.
Please check if your query has been already answered.
This is to avoid multiple threads discussing same stuff.

Q9:My PC only supports standard-size Memory Stick media. Is it possible to access data stored on Memory Stick Duo media?
A: By using a Memory Stick Duo adaptor, such as Sony's MSAC-M2 or MSAC-M2/O, Memory Stick Duo media can be used in PCs with standard-size Memory Stick media slots.

Q10:My computer does not have a Memory Stick slot. How can I copy data to my PC?
A: For Windows OS: Use a commercially available adaptor to enable the transfer of data. For all types of data, including music files, it is necessary to use a MagicGate-compatible device, such as Sony's MSAC-US30 Memory Stick USB reader/writer.
For Mac OS: Use an appropriate commercially available Memory Stick USB reader/writer.

Q11. How can I format (initialize) Memory Stick media?
A11. All Memory Stick media are pre-formatted for optimal performance before leaving the factory. You can use your newly purchased Memory Stick media immediately. If you wish to re-format a Memory Stick at a later date, follow the formatting directions for the device with which you are using Memory Stick media.

When re-formatting Memory Stick media, all previously stored data will be erased. To prevent the loss of valuable data, be sure to make back-up copies before re-formatting.

Q12. Can i "Defragment" my Memory stick?
A: This Thread might be of help regarding your doubts about defragmenting your MS-Media.
Thanks to our inhouse pc expert Cycovision!

Q13. Is the Memory Stick media capacity given on the package equal to the usable capacity?
A. No. Media capacity indicated on the packaging differs from actual usable capacity since a portion of the memory is used for data management file functions. (The minimum guaranteed capacity of Sony Memory Stick media is always specified on the back side of the packaging.) So don't be surprised if your 512mb Ms shows only around 460mb when you check it on a pc!

Q14. Can I put a label on Memory Stick media?
A. Standard-size Memory Stick media come supplied with labels. However, please do not put any labels or stickers on the smaller Duo-size Memory Stick media. It could come off when the Memory Stick Duo media is inserted into the slot of the host device or Memory Stick Duo adaptor.


Q1: What is Memory Stick PRO?
A: The original Memory Sticks were approximately the size and thickness of a stick of chewing gum, and came in sizes from 4 MB up to and including 128 MB. This size limitation became limiting fairly quickly.

The Memory Stick Pro would be the longer-lasting solution to this problem. Memory Stick Pros have a somewhat higher transfer speed and a maximum theoretical capacity of 32 GB. (As of June 2005 they are available in sizes up to 4 gigabytes.) High Speed Memory Stick Pros are available, and newer devices support this High Speed mode, allowing for faster file transfers. (Check This Thread to find out more about actual data transfer speeds with high speed and other memory stick media.)

All Memory Stick Pros larger than 1 GB support this High Speed mode, and High Speed Memory Stick Pros are backwards-compatible with devices that don't support the High Speed mode. High capacity memory sticks such as the 2 and 4 gigabyte versions are usually extremely expensive compared to other types of flash memory such as SD Cards and Compact Flash.

Q2. Is the Memory Stick PRO format a proprietary Sony technology?
A2. The Memory Stick PRO media format was developed jointly by SanDisk and Sony Corporation.

Q3. What is the access speed of Memory Stick PRO media?
A3. Memory Stick PRO (High Speed) media is designed to support access speeds up to 80Mbps. Also, a minimum write speed of 15Mbps* is specified (by the format) to allow real-time recording of high-quality moving images. Actual read and write speeds may vary and are dependent upon the combination of the compatible device and media used.

* When the host device supports a write speed of 15Mbps or higher.
SeeThis Thread too.

Q4. How much content can a 1GB Memory Stick PRO media hold?
A4. A single 1GB (940MB available) Memory Stick PRO media can contain any of the following examples.

Actual figures may vary according to the recorded content and the device used for recording.
The Memory Stick capacity is composed of the actual usable capacity (user capacity) and system files.

Q5. Do Memory Stick PRO media work in all Memory Stick compatible products?

A5. Memory Stick PRO media can be used with Memory Stick PRO compatible devices only. PCs can accept this media through the use of a Memory Stick PRO compatible PC card adaptor or USB reader/writer. Compatibility with this media can also be implemented in products in some categories through firmware or software upgrades.

Q6. What will happen if a Memory Stick PRO media is inserted into a non-Memory Stick PRO compatible device?
A6. Depending on the hardware, an error message may appear.

MEMORY STICK (with Magic Gate)

Q1. What is Memory Stick (with MagicGate) media?
The MagicGate standard for Memory Sticks is an encryption system to allow music to be downloaded to the card and played back by an authorized device, but not shared. Certain standard Memory Stick and all Pro sticks are MagicGate compatible.

Q2. Which products can be used with Memory Stick (with MagicGate) media?
A2. Almost all Memory Stick-compatible products, including Memory Stick PRO compatible devices can be used with both standard- and Duo-size* Memory Stick (with MagicGate) media.

* Requires an adaptor for use in standard-size slots. Some products have media slots that can accommodate either standard- or Duo-size media without using an adaptor.

Memory Stick Media Formats
Official FAQ Page
Sony's official Memory Stick Development site



LAST UPDATED: 21/11/06

[ This Message was edited by: whizkidd on 2006-11-21 04:36 ]

Posted by Salisbury_Steak
Excellent post.
ehem. sticky. ehem...

Posted by Krubach
Great job whizzkid!

Posted by gothic_miloud
i got a memory stick pro duo 512MB for my SE K750i recently, but it won´t work.... the photne does not detect the memory stick, it keeps saying i dont have any memory stick in. please help, is there something i don´t know ?

Posted by whizkidd
Was it malfunctioning since the beginning or after you started using it?
I wonder if Ms-media are covered by warranty?

Posted by Salisbury_Steak
mem sticks SHOULD be covered by warranty. I have 6 months warranty on mine. Maybe you should bring it back to the shop where you bought it.

Posted by yofaye
It seems you know about memory...
please help me
regarding my problem I posted it on the forum. "1gb..insufficient for SEP910?"
I hope you'll find time to help me. I'll really would appreciate it.

Yes, it seems there are a lot of Filipinos here. I like it and I feel at home.


Posted by marlonski
Nice post mate

Posted by Xrob23X
u gt any help on the memory stick adapters as i do not know where to place the adapter in my k750i! any suggestions?

Posted by senninha
anyone know when the 4gb duo pro will be released?

Posted by bobsprout
"u gt any help on the memory stick adapters as i do not know where to place the adapter in my k750i! any suggestions?"

hahahaha, wedge it as hard as you can in the memory card slot.

or just realise that the adaptor goes into a card reader for pc use

Posted by baste07
how does the psp branded ms duo pro compare with the oter models/brands? is it just like the regular sony ms duo pro?

Posted by whizkidd
On 2006-01-10 15:01:24, baste07 wrote: how does the psp branded ms duo pro compare with the oter models/brands? is it just like the regular sony ms duo pro?

I guess the psp branded duos are no different from the ones used on other platforms.

Posted by baste07
are they the same with highspeed pro duos? or just the regular ones?

Posted by mrao
methinks they're different...

Posted by *Jojo*
@whiz - Nice matey! I have a 'Q' though . . . I am planning to get me a 64 MB Sony Memory Stick Duo for my 'old' P800 . . . the guy is offering me the 'stock' 64 MB inserted on his K750i, will this work on my P800 then

As you have stated:


Q2. What types of Memory Stick media are currently available?
A:The current types of Memory sticks are:

Memory Stick

Memory Stick Duo (Used in P800, P900 and S700.)

Memory Stick Pro

Memory Stick Duo Pro or Pro Duo.(Used in newer phones like P910, K750 ,W800 and so on..)



Posted by whizkidd
jojo, the stock memory stick on the K750 wont work on the P8 coz its a memory stick "PRO" duo while the P800 uses the normal memory sticks.
The Memory Stck Duos.

Posted by *Jojo*
@whiz - Are you sure mate? As I am going to meet the seller 7 hours from now . . .

Posted by masseur
the 64mb memory stick that comes with the K750 is not a PRO and so it is compatible with the P800

Posted by *Jojo*
@masseur - Wheeeeeeeew Now what is what here . . . the Mods word against the Author of the thread I will be meeting the seller in 7 hours time . . . make up your minds mates I really wanted this one! Thanks!

Posted by masseur
I can only tell you what I and my son got in our box.

but also you need only look at the K750 product pages where you find the following image of a 64mb duo and the text describing it as such.

In fact the only time I have seen anything less than 128mb as a PRO duo is the 32mb card that came with the P910

Posted by whizkidd
masseur, i'm a bit surprised!
why would the k750 come with a memory stick duo when it doesnt support it??

And it comes inserted in the phone right?

Ah now i got it!!

I almost had a psychic girlfriend, thankfully, she left me before we met.

[ This Message was edited by: whizkidd on 2006-02-11 18:06 ]

Posted by masseur
perhaps there is a significant point missing in this FAQ

products that are compatible with memory stick PRO duo are backwards compatible with memory stick duo

hence the K750 quite happily uses the supplied 64mb memory stick duo

edit: ah! I see you got it and it just shows that a FAQ like this is a real neccessity given the confusion over memory sticks!

Unless I'm very much mistaken...
reviews: i-mate V800 K700

[ This Message was edited by: masseur on 2006-02-11 18:12 ]

Posted by whizkidd

And i had always thot mem stick pros cant be used in devices supporting mem stick pros..
What a glaring ommission...
I'm surprised no one noticed it!

Posted by *Jojo*
OK . . . sorry for the confusion back there mates . . . I will still meet my potential seller later . . . will insert his 64 MB stick to my P800 if it can detect the contents then it's a go for me . . . but if doesn't . . . I'll advise that guy to visit Esato and READ thoroughly Whizkidd's Thread - Memory Stick FAQ ! Thanks, Masseur and Whiz!

Posted by masseur
Ok I just grabbed my sons K750 64mb stick and my own P800

as you can see, in storage manager it shows as 61.6mb, pretty much as expected

Posted by *Jojo*
WOWOWEE . . . that's a Real Time report for Masseur ! OK, me convinced now . . . . . what if you insert a PRO Duo stick mate . . . can it still be detected by your P800 I was surprised that you still have your P800 up till now, is your T68i still there? Thanks!

Posted by masseur
if I insert a PRO duo then it is neither recognised, nor is an error issued, it is simply ignored... again as expected

Posted by whizkidd
So the conclusion is:
1: Memory Stick Duo CAN be used on the K750 and above but will be limited to 128mb.
2: Memory Stick PRO duo cannot be used on the P800 (and the P900 AND THE s700). We all knew that.
3:Sony needs to be kicked on their butt for making things sooo confusing!!

Jojo, if your seller is selling a memory stick pro duo, it wont work on the P8.

Posted by *Jojo*
@masseur - Thanks!

@whiz - I agree mate! makes so confusing cards Unlike with Nokia . . .et al, cards on 3650/3660/9210/9210i/6600/6230 etc. can be interchanged . . . not with the latest releases though as it is already supported by Reduced Sized Memory Cards !

Posted by *Jojo*
@masseur - Looks like what I got is 'exactly' what you have posted (pic) here. It does work with my P800. Thanks !

@whiz - Thanks for the advise too .. . not to get the PRO, if ever that will be offered.

Posted by crazyeighty8
I have a 1gb memory stick in my w900i, with videos, mp3's and pics. when I put the card in my psp it only recognises a handful of pics and the available free memory. what is the problem?.

Posted by abubakar
bought a brand new 128mb duo for my s700i but it doesnt work. when i put the card into my card reader on pc it was able to store pixs and 3gp vids but when i put it with the stored items into my phone it still didnt recognize the card. tried to reformat it, too. then i got a msg saying the card may be corrupt. what can i do to this card to make it work before i throw it into boiling oil?

Posted by max_wedge
is it a duo or duo pro card? If it's duo pro, then it won't work in your S700 (only compatible with DUO cards)

Posted by the KG
saw some more informative stuff in this site...


Posted by bustamo
hi ima long time reader 1st time writer so be a bit easy on me. newayz ive got a SE s700i n ive bought this 128mb memory stick duo (not pro) for it, but it doesnt evn work. It keeps coming out with 'memory stick error'. So ive formatted it to 'FAT' with windows and wiped everything off but it still didnt work. So i went to a phone n a camera shop n they formatted it but it still isnt working. The stick works on other fones but it doesnt work on mine. My s700's f/w is R3M008. Plz help...

Posted by kam27
@bustamo - Try formatting the memory card in your phone cos windows format system is totally different from that of the SE phones. I believe this should work. ( Insert into ur phone and format, ignore the shown error msg)

Posted by bustamo
thnx 4 ur reply. the s700 doesn't have memory stick format support. I tried it in a w800i and a w850i but it still doesn't work. i might just exchange it, after i cant fix it

Posted by joaobus
I have recently purchased a SE S700i, it originally came with a Mem Stick Duo with 32 MB, the card says Magic Gate also. Im looking fwd getting a new Mem Stick for 2G, so im wondering , will it be accepted on my phone??. If not, what`s the max capacity mem sitck i can get for it!?!?...
Thanx for the help!

Posted by bulti48
I have just bought a new Sony 2GB MS PRO Duo and when I check the available space it only shows 1390mb.

I understand space is required for data management etc but this seems quite high.

What do/did other people get? Should I try re-formatting the card as there is nothing on it anyway? will this help?

Posted by maryus51
Is this card reader supporting Memory Stick Pro Duos ? ... just see the pic.

Posted by max_wedge

On 2006-07-07 19:21:06, joaobus wrote:
I have recently purchased a SE S700i, it originally came with a Mem Stick Duo with 32 MB, the card says Magic Gate also. Im looking fwd getting a new Mem Stick for 2G, so im wondering , will it be accepted on my phone??. If not, what`s the max capacity mem sitck i can get for it!?!?...
Thanx for the help!

No it won't. S700 max capacity is 128MB memory stick duo only (not compatible with any card that says "pro")


@bustamo - Try formatting the memory card in your phone cos windows format system is totally different from that of the SE phones. I believe this should work. ( Insert into ur phone and format, ignore the shown error msg)

Actually, windows will format a 128MB memory stick using FAT, funnily enough, the exact same file system used by the S700 to format external memory. All SE phones use FAT or FAT32 for external memory. I format my memory with the pc and rarely use the phone.

When you post, check out your facts or make it clear you are posting an assumption only Computers and Phones are not as disparate as you have assumed. They have much in common.

Posted by biblebasher
thanks alot thats very helpful

Posted by happykhan
I want to buy a 1Gb MS Duo
I've heard that using 512 or 1Gb Memory Sticks on K750 will lead into high battery usage and the phone will very often hang.
Is it true?
Can anyone please confirm this(OR deny it)?

Posted by max_wedge
nah, it's complete bolloocks. Many peeps are using 1 and 2GB without any probs. I myself have used a 512MB for several months and my phone doesn't crash, period.

Posted by rrojas260

Yes, it works with MSD

Posted by whizkidd
So folks, can I add the entry "More memory does not mean a sluggish phone" on the first page?

Posted by cletus141
Does size of card and High Speed (or Ultra II in Sandisk) have any relationship to phone operation speed and/or battery usage?

I thought that I'd read somewhere that the faster sticks eat less battery and I'm considering upping my 2gb Sony MS Pro Duo High Speed to a 4GB stick for my w800.

For the record, I've noticed no appreciable sluggishness in my phone since going to the 2GB from the 64 mB card I had.


Posted by max_wedge

On 2006-08-14 11:09:00, whizkidd wrote:
So folks, can I add the entry "More memory does not mean a sluggish phone" on the first page?

Do it

Posted by Julidzg
Does the 4gb mspd works on W800, 'cause i've read of anyone who has it on the phone. I'm thinking of buying one but i have to be shure it's going to work on my w800. Also i'd like to know the best online deals on a genuine 4gb MSPD

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