Preparing the SD card

September 7, 2012 // Raspberry Pi 101

Video guide

Text Guide

Project time : 20 minutes

Required items : Raspberry Pi, Windows (XP or 7) computer with an internet connection.


Installing an operating system to an SD card, then getting the Pi up and running.


Your Raspberry Pi is a computer and all computers need an operating system. The Raspberry Pi currently supports a number of Linux based operating systems; however, the official OS is called Raspbian; a version of Debian “wheezy” with modifications for the Pi.

Step 1 – Download your operating system image

Select a mirror, it doesn’t matter which one.

Once downloaded extract (unzip) the image from the zip file.

Step 2 – Download imaging software

You need some software to prepare the SD card. Note: you cannot just copy the raw image file onto the SD card like you would an image or movie.

Download software called “Win32 Disk Imager”

The best place I’ve found to get this software is “Softpedia”

Once this software has downloaded, unzip the file. Then double click on the “Win32Disklmager.exe” software icon.


Step 3 – Using Win32DiskImager

Click the select image button

You will be asked to locate your image file, select your file and click save.

Now you have selected the image you want to write, you need to select your SD card.

Simple select the drive letter that matches your SD card.

*IMPORTANT* Make sure you select the SD card and not any other storage device.

Click “Write” and wait for it to finish.

When successful, plug that SD card into your Pi and watch it boot.