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Pi Operating Systems

Choose the right foundation for the type of system you deploy.

The Raspberry Pi Imager helps you choose and flash your media:

sudo apt install rpi-imager
sudo apt install rpi-imager

Flash the image

Alternative ways to flash the image if the above rpi-imager does not suit your needs

Balena Etcher

Download and run Etcher:

This has been adopted by Rasperry Pi and rebranded and expanded. At least the overall process feels the same.

Some good interesting projects shown during write phase.
balenaEtcher - Flash OS images to SD cards & USB drives

Backing up

Before you re-use an SD card for a new device, be sure to back them up. Make an image. Ideally there may be a way to run it as a virtual machine if needed? At least a way to mount it as a file system and extract necessary information from the device.

On linux, dd is a great option that's always available.

  1. Plug in card via card reader
sudo fdisk -l
sudo dd bs=4M if=/dev/sde of=~/MyImage.img
sudo fdisk -l
sudo dd bs=4M if=/dev/sde of=~/MyImage.img

Ideally you'd try recreating the image in reverse to make sure everything works as expected. And use a different SD card.

If you don't have one available for testing, try mounting the image and browsing the filesystem. [Ubuntu allows double-clicking the .img file to mount read-only?]
How to Create an Image of a Raspberry Pi SD Card? (Win/Linux/Mac) – RaspberryTips
linux mount dd image at DuckDuckGo
How to mount sd-card image created with dd? - Ask Ubuntu
create an image of an sd card at DuckDuckGo


Run df -h to see what devices are currently mounted. Connect Card. Run df -h again. (dmesg and mount are also useful commands to hone in on the correct device)

umount /dev/sdi1

sudo dd bs=4M if=/c/out-data/2015-05-05-raspbian-wheezy.img of=/dev/sdi

Via this guide for using dd to create images: Installing Operating System Images - Raspberry Pi Documentation

Install SD to Pi

After the flash is complete, insert the SD card into the Pi and connect all the peripherals. Power on the Pi.

See also

Once the base OS has been installed, explore details about how you want to configure the system:

Linux Notes

Guide for the timetrack project that covers many similar 'getting started' topics