Raspberry Pi SD Cards

Installing the OS for Raspberry Pi

Used equipment

  • Any raspberry pi (preferably >= Pi 2 or a Pi Zero)
  • Raspberry pi power supply
  • Micro SD card
  • (Micro) SD card reader for PC/laptop

Introduction to the Raspberry Pi OS

Raspberry Pi OS (formerly known as Raspbian) is the official OS created for all models of the Raspberry PI from 1 through 4, it often comes pre-installed on an SD with the purchase for an additional fee.

Since the end of 2019 Raspbian has been renamed to Raspberry Pi OS, this to make it more clear what the standard OS is.

However for those who do not have a pre-installed card we will walk you through how to install Raspbian and set up your PI for its first use.
There are 2 way’s to installing Raspbian on an SD card.
When you want a clean install Jump to the ISO installation.

Installing Raspbian using Noobs

Noobs is the Automatic multi-OS installer designed to provide a simple and easy method for new users to install Raspberry Pi OS on their device. There is no distinct benefit to using Noobs over a direct install apart from circumstances in which 2 distros are being installed, however for those users who wish to use this method the below will detail the exact steps to follow to guarantee a successful Raspberry pi OS Installation.

To install Raspbian using Noobs you first must have a micro SD card of 8Gb to 32Gb, this will need to be formatted to FAT(32).
To do this insert the micro SD card into a PC, locate the card then right-click and Format.

Format SD with windows Tool

If for some reason your card doesn’t show the correct size it has probably previously been used with a raspberry pi OS installation. You can use a 3th party format software to solve this problem. Go over to the SD Association website to download this tool.
Install and open the formatter and go ahead formatting.

SD Card Formatter

Back to our Windows formatting tool, ensure to change the options to FAT, with Default allocation Size, you may also take this opportunity to rename your OS.
Once the Format is complete and you have prepared your SD card, download the Noobs zip file from https://www.raspberrypi.org/downloads/noobs/

Noobs Download

Once downloaded unzip the contents, it is recommended to use the free 7zip software to minimize corruption. When the contents are unzipped copy them and paste them onto your recently formatted SD Card.

Copy files to SD card

Your Micro SD is now ready to continue the setup plug the card back into your Pi and connect all peripherals a screen and monitor.

Noobs installation

When Noobs has loaded check the box next to RASPBIAN/Raspberry Pi OS then click install, a confirmation box will pop up with a warning, simply click yes to continue.

A successful install will end with the above image.
Congratulations you’ve installed Raspbian OS

Installing Raspberry Pi OS through the ISO

Very much the same result as above but different ways suit different people.
There are multiple programs to do exactly the same, burning the ISO to the SD card.

We like to spend some time on 2 different programs. One of them only came online after the release of the RPi 4.

This new program (listed last, click here) is designed by the Raspberry Pi foundation. Now lets start:

Balena Etcher

To kick it off you need to download belenaEtcher , this is then followed by downloading the Raspberry_Pi_OS (.img or .zip).
Once this is complete we can begin preparing the SD Card.

Etcher startup

When you have belenaEtcher installed, run it then click the select image option, this will allow you to use the Raspberry_Pi_OS.img/.zip you downloaded previously.

Etcher image selected

Next use “select target” to select your SD Card for the OS installation.
Now you’re good to go…… Hit FLASH!

Etcher SD selected

Flashing takes a couple of minutes but when you see the following screen you’re golden…..

Etcher Flashing
Etcher Completing flashing

You’re good to go pop the SD card in your Pi and power it up.

Raspberry Pi Imager

Unlike the Balena Etcher, you don’t need an ISO when using the imager from the RPi foundation. The program is able to download the latest ISO directly from one of there mirrors, this way you always have the latest copy on your SD card.
You can download the RPI Imager here.
Once started you will find it is easy to use. You can use it without a network, in that case you do require a local copy of the ISO you like to burn to the SD-card.

Raspberry Pi Imager

First things first, lets begin with choosing our operating system.
Once you clicked Chose OS you will get the opportunity to not only chose for Raspbian, but also a local copy of any ISO, Ubuntu and LibreElec.
This will not say you have to be limited with these OS’s, you can download any OS from the internet (that is compatible with the PI) and burn it with this program.

Chosing The OS

Next we select the SD card. Be careful when you chose, as you can see my RAID 1 drive was also detected as a possibility (i have 2 more physical drives that are not recognized as a possible host).

Selecting SD card

Now that we have both selected the OS and the SD card all there is to do is press Write.
This will start the ‘Burning’ process, after writing it will also do a verification.

Finely we are here, the program told us the verification was successful.
All there is to do now is inset the SD card in the PI and boot it up.

writing done

All you really have to do is be patient while it is writing and verifying. Easy isn’t it?
Now Lets get started with the FUN!

Your Way to Burn

Now that we have shown you 3 ways to burn the image to the SD card, it’s up to you to find what’s best for you. Personally I prefer the Raspberry Pi Imager, it has an easy setup and gives more than enough options do select the OS you like.

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