Sony Reader – Exception Error – Invalid Format – Cannot Format

My wife’s PRS-600 sony reader crashed with a rectangular boxed area complaining of  exception error – do you want to format? – and when you say yes (actually a bad idea) – it says cannot format. Information on this was so sketchy I felt I had to write down what worked for me.

  • Chances are, this all started because a file became corrupted and is upsetting the sony reader. However, now you cannot access it because of the error. In my wife’s case, the charger “broke” and in a de-charged state maybe the error occurred.
  • A soft and hard reset did not work (you know about using a paper clip in the little hole to do a soft reset. The hard reset is not a good idea yet as you may lose everything.)
  • First thing is to charge the reader – do it through the computer connection overnight. It is possible you might need a new battery – you can get from amazon or ebay from Hong Kong – the latter is cheaper but took over 3 weeks to get to Canada.
  • What saved my bacon was instructions at a sony site (never saw it elsewhere)
    site here
  • To get access to the reader, you

1) Turn off the reader

2) Press the reset button in hole (I use a paper clip – they do not recommend a pin). You would not think it would work with the reader off but it did for me.

3)Be prepared to plug sony reader connection to computer

4)Turn sony reader on

5) As it is booting up, make the USB connection to computer. Miraculously, the reader boots and makes computer connection.

6) Either delete or copy off everything from your sony reader. I was surprised how much garbage was on – lots of books that are either no longer there, or you no longer have permission to read because you got it from library. Use your computer reader interface to go through books and delete garbage.

7) Many books could already be on computer in our case: (accessing them like accessing instructions for sony reader below)

C:\Documents and Settings\<your name>\My Documents\My Digital Editions\

C:\Documents and Settings\<your name>\My Documents\My Books\

othe people have suggested other locations.

For those not on your computer, you can access them easily enough:

  • You can use Start (in lower left hand corner) then
  • hit My Documents in left selection area, then
  •  hit “Folders” in near top bar. 
  • Clicking “my computer” in left side selection area should open up various drives you have access to – one should be sony reader if you make sure you have above connection. Click it and you should see where the books are and copy them over.
  • Remember where they were copied from, as you will want to copy back (the digital images of book covers are elsewhere so you can either look for them and copy them over or maybe do without digital image thereafter…

Books you have bought? – sorry – maybe you can copy, or if this does not work – talk to where you bought it from…

8) Once you have gotten everything off, do proper computer disconnect and turn off sony reader.

9) Turn it on – it will ask if you want to format – saying yes will remove everything from your sony reader, but it will work again after. Surprisingly, our reader formatted and we were left with a completely cleaned off sony reader. We were still able to connect to library so no functions were compromised.

If that does not work, you may need to use windows explorer to clean more off:

  • Start – lower left
  • All programs – accessories – windows explorer (occasionally not under accessories)
  • With explorer, you again can go to the drive your sony is in, as long as you have sony connected.
  • Go into subdirectories where there are .jpg or other picture files and delete the picture files. (maybe copy over the images you wish to save for books you still have) – remember where you copied them from. Maybe go to where there are notes and delete any of them too.
  • Once that is cleaned off, close windows explorer (will not be allowed to do a safe disconnect otherwise), reboot sony reader and see if you can get it to format then. 

If that doesn’t work – you may try a hard reboot which I got from here for the 600 reader (describes how to do others) here

Their instructions for the 600:


1. Power off the Reader.

2. On the bottom edge of the Reader, using the stylus, press the RESET button.

3. Turn on the Reader.

4. While the screen displays Opening book… , simultaneously press and hold down the Page Turn button (for my 600 this is the turn back button (<) and the VOL + button until the Reset All screen is displayed.

NOTE: If Opening book… does not display on the screen, charge the Reader’s battery for several hours before attempting the reset process again.
5. Touch YES to reset the Reader.


I got the last charger off… there are knock-offs of it on ebay – make sure it says it can handle the PRS-600, if that is what you have.

Good luck

 PS – the site I linked you to, suggested renaming a file. site here   They were not clear on what FULL name was (was there another extension on end?) I made  file both ways but it did not help. sacmichaelofficiel sacmichaelofficiel

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