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RaspberryPi 101 - Writing the Image to the Memory Card (Windows)

posted Oct 7, 2015, 4:46 PM by Joshua S   [ updated Nov 10, 2015, 7:27 AM ]
This tutorial will explore completing this task using Windows 7.

This post focuses on writing an image from Windows to the RaspberryPi memory card.  We'll do this using the Win32 Disk Imager utility.

This is useful both for initially writing the image of the downloaded Operating System onto the memory card (installing the OS), but also for restoring a backup image in the event this is necessary.

Note -- the latest version of Raspbian (Jessie), as of the writing of this tutorial, requires a minimum memory card of at least 4 GB.

With any of the Dabbles on this site, if you have questions, suggestions, or thoughts, please feel free to send me an eMail (I'm still working to figure out how to enable comments on Google Sites -- suggestions would be appreciated)!

Parallel Dabbles:

Supply List:
  • SDHC Card or MicroSD Card  A digital memory card, initially designed for media (think a camera) but which will serve as the hard drive for the RaspberryPi.  The older RaspberryPi models leveraged the SDHC form factor while the newer versions leverage the MicroSD form factor.
  • RaspberryPi  The actual RaspberryPi hardware this will all be built around.  
  • Raspbian  The Debian Linux based Operating System (OS) designed for the RaspberryPi.  Download the latest version from the website.  Note, other OS's are also on this page, including a version of Fedora and a port of XBMC, but my projects all work with the Raspbian distro.
  • Win32 Disk Imager  A Free Open Source Software (FOSS) utility to write of image (.IMG) files to various flash card media (SD, MicroSD, etc.).  Download the software from the website.

  • I know I said this guide was going to be comprehensive and not skip any steps, so what better way to start this off than by skipping steps.  I am not writing out instructions for the following (and illustrating from XKCD):
    • Buying a MicroSD Card
    • Buying a RaspberryPi 
    • Downloading & Extracting Raspbian
    • Downloading & Extracting Win32 Disk Imager
  • Insert the memory card into your computer's reader (or adapter if you do not have a reader built in).  
  • Run Win32 Disk Imager and select the Raspbian image file (downloaded & extracted).  Ensure the drive letter selected is that of the memory card and select the "Write" button.
  • Remove the freshly written card from your computer's reader and insert it into the RaspberryPi.  
  • Mission accomplished!  You wrote the operating system image to your RaspberryPi!