21st July 2015

Making a Raspberry Pi SDCard using Windows

If you’ve bought an sdcard with the operating system already installed on it, your Raspberry Pi should be up and running really quickly. If you didn’t, don’t worry can make one yourself.

It’s really easy and I’ll show you how to set up a standard Raspbian (the Raspberry Pi operating system) card now in 9 easy steps.

Step One
You’ll need to a copy of the digital image of the Raspbian software that we’re going to imprint on the SDCard.

Get this from the Official RaspBerry Pi Downloads Page, you’ll need to download the ZIP file containing the RASPBIAN digital image.

Step Two
While that’s downloading, get a copy of this OpenSource software** Win32DiskImager. This comes in ZIP format too.

Step Three
Expand both ZIP files, you should end up with a folder for each with the content in them. The Raspbian one should look something like this.


Step Four
The original Raspberry Pi board used full sized SDCards to hold the operating system software. Since many desktop computers and laptops these days have an SDCard slot, it meant that putting software onto a compatible card was easy.

MicroSD Card and Adapter

Newer Raspberry Pi boards use a MicroSD card instead but luckily the manufacturers often ship them with a full sized adapter, so you can still use them in the full sized slot on your computer.

Take your SDcard and insert it into the slot on your computer. Windows should recognise it and assign it a drive letter.


Step Five
Run the Win32diskimager software, you downloaded in step two and expanded into a folder in step three. When it starts, the software will show you a screen which is similar to this, with the drive letter of your SDCard shown.


Step Six
Tell the disk imager software which digital image you wish to write to your SDCard by clicking on the folder icon shown in blue in the previous image.


Step Seven
Check that you’ve got the correct drive letter selected in the Device option and press Write.

You’ll get the following warning pop-up to ask you to confirm whether you want to continue.


If you didn’t have the right drive letter selected, you will end up writing the Raspbian digital image to the wrong place. This could spell disaster if you get it wrong but it’s the only difficult part of this whole process.  Double check the letter is correct and the press Yes to continue.

Step Eight

The time you have to wait is dependent on your computer, your card slot & the class SDCard you’re using. Did you know some SDCards are faster than others?


Step Nine
Your patience will be rewarded when this message is shown.


You can now click OK get rid of the message, close your disk imager software and eject the SDCard from your computer.

It’s ready to put into your Raspberry Pi.