Memory cards are used in many of today's cameras, digital music players, and other portable devices. But like anything else, there are a few things you should know to keep your memory card in tip-top condition.

memorycards.jpgThe first thing to know about memory cards is that each device uses a specific card. Be sure to check the user's manual to make sure you are using the proper card.

In the case of a camera or MP3 player, you should never remove a card while the device is powered on, as this can cause data corruption. If your cell phone has a memory card, you don't need to turn the phone off to remove the card, but you will want to make sure that the phone is not accessing any data on the card before you remove it.

You will also want to keep the battery on your portable device charged. Data corruption can also occur if the device runs out of power when it is in the middle of writing a file to the card.

You can reformat a memory card. While this is not usually necessary, it can make the card work more efficiently if you are constantly adding or deleting the files on the card.

If you put your memory card into a Windows computer, you should always use the Safely Remove Hardware icon in the system tray before you remove the card from the computer. This will ensure that the card is not being used in the background. Further instructions on this can be found in my article entitles Safely Remove USB Drives & Hardware.