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How to Install Raspberry Pi Operating System on SD Card

Updated on Dec 06, 2018 by Jean to Partition Master

Walk through the indepth tutorial for how to install Raspberry Pi operating system on SD card, within which two essential tools are introduced for a trouble-free Raspberry Pi OS installation on SD card.

Since your Raspberry Pi comes with no operating system, you can opt to fill it with 100% customized OS, which is usually done by burning an operating system image file you've downloaded to an SD card.

Here's Raspberry Pi operating system list:

  • Raspbian
  • OSMC

Full Guide to Install Raspberry Pi OS on SD Card

This guide mainly focuses on how to accomplish the OS installation on a Windows PC. To start with you're given two necessary tools, which assist the whole process to be done free from trouble.

The Software You Need to Install on Pc in Advance

1. SD card formatter

Download source: EaseUS free partition manager

Download Now

 Windows 10 is supported

2. Win32DiskImager

Download source: https://www.raspberrypi.org/downloads/

First, Format SD Card to FAT16 or FAT32 for Raspberry Pi 1,2,3

Your SD card should be prepared in FAT files system, let it be either FAT16 or FAT32, not including large capacity SDHC or SDXC cards which with exFAT file system. To set up a fully compatible SD card for Raspberry Pi, use the recommended SD card formatter tool to format SD card large than 32GB to FAT32 or convert exFAT to FAT32 on Windows 10, 8, 7, XP or Vista.

Formatting will erase all data on the memory card. Be sure that all important data has been transferred to a safe spot.

Step 1: Open EaseUS Partition Master. Find your SD card and right-click the partition you want to format and choose "Format".

Format Hard Drive Partition - Step 1

Step 2: Set a new partition label, file system (NTFS/FAT32/EXT2/EXT3), and cluster size to the selected partition, then click "OK".

Format Hard Drive Partition - Step 2

Step 3: Click "OK" on the pop-up window to continue.

Format Hard Drive Partition - Step 3

Step 4: Click the "Execute Operation" button on the toolbar, then click "Apply" to start formatting your SD card.

Format Hard Drive Partition - Step 4

Second. Install Raspberry Pi Operating System on PC

Step 1. Insert your SD card into the computer by using a card reader or an adapter that is available to you. 

Step 2. Select the OS image file you extracted earlier.

Step 3. In the device box, select the correct drive letter of the SD card. (Please be very careful while choosing the drive because a single mistake will destroy data on the wrongly selected hard drive!)

Step 4. Click "Write" and wait for the write to complete.

Step 5. Exit the imager and eject the SD card.