How to Create an Image of a Raspberry Pi SD Card? (Win/Linux/Mac)

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Card Readers

You’ll find nearly as many SD card readers as SD playing cards however there actually aren’t that many variations. Your native laptop retailer, and even conveinence retailer will most certainly have at the very least one USB adapters. In case your laptop does not have one there are many selections obtainable for adapters, for essentially the most half these will hook up with your laptop over USB. Some will do exactly uSD, uSD and SD or, a complete bunch of various card varieties. Any of those ought to work positive for our examples.

A number of completely different SD and uSD card readers

Most laptops and even some desktops now have direct slots in them to learn and write SD playing cards. Typically these are immediately linked to the USB port inside your machine, making them the identical because the USB adapters, however not at all times. These ought to work simply positive for our examples, however if you’re having issues attempt a USB adapter.

Most cameras now use SD playing cards and might be plugged into your laptop through a USB cable. For essentially the most half the information goes by way of the digicam and never being learn immediately from the pc. For that motive this won’t work for our examples, that is true for telephones and different gadgets as properly. Principally in case your system has a reputation aside from “SD adapter” it most likely will not work.

For this tutorial, you have to both an SD slot in your laptop or a USB adapter. Ensure it matches the scale card you may have or you may have the suitable adapter. In any other case, seize the microSD USB reader from the SparkFun catalog.

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Making the picture

First begin a Home windows command line as Administrator (hit the beginning button, sort cmd then proper click on on the cmd.exe that seems and choose Run as Administrator). Subsequent change listing to wherever you unzipped the DD software.

To repeat the SD card to a picture file (on this case c:tempmyimage.img) use the next command line:

On this case we’re utilizing DD with 3 easy arguments:

  1. Enter file (if) is the SD card system
  2. Output file (of) is the picture file we’re creating
  3. Block measurement (bs) is 1 megabyte

How you can Make an Picture of an SD Card in Home windows

First, obtain AOMEI Backupper Customary in your laptop, set up and launch it. In case you are a Home windows Server consumer, please flip to AOMEI Backpuper Server. Then join your SD card to your laptop and ensure it may be detected.

Safe Obtain

Step 1. Click on Backup and select Disk Backup.

Step 2. Title the duty and click on Add Disk to decide on your SD card.

Step 3. Choose the vacation spot path and click on Begin Backup to start out.


  • You’ll be able to click on backup Choices > Compression to decide on the compression stage. It’s additionally attainable to encrypt the picture to guard your knowledge from unauthorized entry. In the event you want encryption, you may upgrade to the Skilled version with a reduction.

  • When you should restore the picture, you may go to Dwelling > discover the backup picture > click on Restore to make it.

  • To revive a picture file with out booting Home windows, you could create recovery environment with AOMEI Backupper upfront.

Create a picture on Linux

In case you are a Linux consumer, let’s see how to do that in your favourite system!I’ll present you on Ubuntu, however the software is identical on any distribution.

The dd command

“dd” is a base command on Unix. The purpose is to supply a software to handle recordsdata.You need to use it to erase a partition (filling it with zeros), generate a random file, but in addition to handle disk pictures!I’m additionally utilizing it for benchmarks (like in this post about SD cards).

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As dd can do an entire backup of any disk, it’s actually helpful for this.Let’s see the best way to use it!

Are you a bit misplaced within the Linux command line? Check this article first, for a very powerful instructions to recollect, and a free downloadable cheat sheet so you may have the instructions at your fingertips.

Discover the system title

In search of the drive letter on Home windows is fairly simple, however on Linux it’s a bit extra hidden.A tool title on Linux is one thing like /dev/sdX (when you use an USB adapter), or /dev/mmcblkX (in case your laptop has an SD card reader).

On Ubuntu, you need to use the Disk Utility to search out this info:

I’m using a 16 GB SD card for this test, so this i

I’m utilizing a 16 GB SD card for this take a look at, so that is this one (/dev/sde).In the event you aren’t on Ubuntu and might’t discover a comparable software, you may also soar to the terminal and use the next command:sudo fdisk -l

It’ll present you an inventory of drives in your laptop. You simply must discover the one comparable to your SD card.In my case, it seems to be like this:

So, we have a disk named /dev/sde, with two partit

So, we’ve a disk named /dev/sde, with two partitions (/dev/sde1 and /dev/sde2).

Create the picture with dd

As soon as we all know the system title, we’d like the right command to create the picture of this system:

  • Open a terminal.
  • Kind the next command:sudo dd bs=4M if=/dev/sde of=/house/username/MyImage.img
  • Don’t overlook to interchange the system title (if for enter file) and the file vacation spot (of for output file).
  • You’ll get one thing like this:
Anticipate at the very least quarter-hour to create the picture (relying on the SD card measurement).

Word: In any command I offer you with “dd”, you may add the choice standing=progress to see the switch statistics. Instance:sudo dd bs=4M if=/dev/sde of=/house/username/MyImage.img standing=progress

Picture restoration to the SD card

Copying again the picture to a different SD card is nearly the identical factor.I like to recommend attempting this at the very least one time, simply to make certain that your picture is working (don’t attempt on the identical SD card!).

To repeat a picture to a brand new SD card, there are two methods you need to use:

  • The primary one is to make use of dd once more, within the reverse order:
    • The command is one thing like:sudo dd bs=4M if=/house/username/MyImage.img of=/dev/sde
    • For the primary time, you should edit this command with the right path, picture title and system title.
  • The second approach, that I at all times suggest is to make use of Etcher:
    • Etcher is a free software you may download here.The excellent news is that it’s a graphical software and really intuitive.The dd command appears easy now since you simply used it to create the picture, however in 6 months, you most likely gained’t keep in mind the right choices.
    • The software seems to be like this:
Simply choose your backup picture, your drive (automated in concept), and click on on “Flash!” to start out the copy.

Regardless of the technique you utilize, it ought to create an actual reproduction of the unique SD card.As soon as executed, insert it in your Raspberry Pi and verify that all the pieces is working appropriately.


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You may additionally like: 25 superior Raspberry Pi undertaking concepts at house 15 greatest working programs for Raspberry Pi (with photos) My e book: Grasp your Raspberry Pi in 30 days

4. Creating your personal laborious drive / detachable drive pictures (to initialize, edit or simply as a backup)

The steps I observe when utilizing DD to create the drive picture from a bodily drive / card:

  1. If I’m utilizing home windows, download dd for windows
  2. I connect or insert the laborious drive, detachable drive (Zip Drive, Jazz Disk and so forth), reminiscence card (SD, Compact Flash and so forth.) that I wish to picture (see options 6 to 8 from my blog entry for Setting up your vintage (classic) 68k Macintosh for a list of connection methods)
  3. open the terminal / command line window
  4. Kind dd --list (home windows), diskutil record (linux and mac OS) and press return
  5. You must see an inventory of all hooked up drives on your system with their names, it is best to see the title or your micro SD, SD or CF card, you need the identifier of the floppy drive eg.
    • for linux or mac OS one thing like /dev/disk2
    • for home windows one thing like .Quantity{bc8eb0e4-a23d-11e8-9982-00e18c7bb83e}
  6. Use dd with the right enter and output choices, “dd if=INPUTFILE of=OUTPUTFILE bs=BLOCKSIZE”:
    • INPUTFILE = {identifier from step 5}, e.g. /dev/disk2 or .Quantity{GUID}
    • OUTPUTFILE =  the situation and title of the picture you want to create.
    • BLOCKSIZE, if dd is taking a very long time, you may set the block size to speed things up, however what you set it at relies on the pace of the system you’re working with, and the scale of the system you’re working with,  if you’re working with an SD card attempt setting it to bs=1M (as a substitute of the default of 512).
    • e.g:
      • linux or mac OS sort “sudo dd if=/dev/disk2 of=OS_755_2GB.dsk bs=1M
      • for home windows sort “dd if=.Quantity{bc8eb0e4-a23d-11e8-9982-00e18c7bb83e} of=OS_755_2GB.dsk bs=1M --progress
    • press return
    • wait…. when you’ve linked through SCSI 1, USB 1 or USB 2, this might take a while for bigger drives

If I simply wish to create a “clean” file that I’ll use an emulator to initialize, then write to a portion of an SD/CF card:

dd if=/dev/zero of=my.img bs=1M depend=1880 leads to an ~ 2GB picture.

Utilizing Mac OS X

This walks you thru the method of writing the Embedded Plex Media Participant disk picture to your USB stick or SD Card utilizing Mac OS X.

Tip!: In the event you’re planning to write down the picture to SD Card on your Raspberry Pi 2 you need to use a easy app referred to as ApplePi-Baker which lets you put together an SD-Card, and write the Plex Media Participant Embedded disk picture to an SD-Card.

Associated Web page: ApplePi-Baker Download Page

Utilizing the GUI

Merely double click on on the PlexMediaPlayer-version-build.platform-architecture.img.gz file within the finder to let the OS X archive utility extract it for you.

Utilizing the CLI (Command Line Interface)

Open the OS X Terminal utility.

Change to the folder the place you downloaded the discharge archive (let’s assume the Downloads folder in your house listing):

Extract the archive. Will probably be named PlexMediaPlayer-version-build.platform-architecture.img.gz. We have to use gunzip to extract the archive.

Writing the Disk Picture

Warning!: Your USB Stick or SD Card shall be erased by this process because it installs Embedded Plex Media Participant onto it. Please guarantee you realize the right /dev/disk on your SD Card or USB Stick and that there’s nothing essential on it.

First, insert your USB stick and open a terminal window and run the next:

It will output one thing like this:

Now discover your SD Card or USB Stick within the record (on this case it’s disk1)

You then want to make use of diskutil to unmount the disk

Subsequent we have to zero out the partition map, OSX has a problem when you don’t do that

Now we have to write the disk picture. You’ll want superuser privileges to do that, whether or not you utilize the foundation consumer or sudo. Both approach, you have to to execute the next command:

Word: We have to use the OSX particular /dev/rdisk1

Lastly, to make sure the modifications are synced to the SD Card or USB Stick earlier than eradicating it, execute the next command in Terminal:

Now you can safely take away your SD Card or USB Stick and hook up with your Embedded Machine

Writing Your Raspberry Pi Disk Picture to a Card

 When you’re executed, you’ll have a file with the extension .img.gz and you may write or “burn” it to a microSD card the identical approach you’ll any .img file you obtain from the online. The simplest solution to burn a customized picture is to: 

1.  Launch Raspberry Pi Imager in your PC. You’ll be able to download Raspberry Pi Imager when you don’t have it already. 

(Picture credit score: Tom’s {Hardware})

2.  Choose Use customized from the Select OS menu. 

(Picture credit score: Tom’s {Hardware})

3.  Choose your .img.gz file

4.  Choose the microSD card you want to burn it to. 

(Picture credit score: Tom’s {Hardware})

5.  Click on Write

(Picture credit score: Tom’s {Hardware})


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