Preparing your SD card for the Raspberry Pi

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Your typical computer is running an operating system, such as Windows, OS X, or Linux. It’s what starts up when you turn your computer on and it provides your applications access to hardware functions of your computer. For instance, if you’re writing a application that accesses the Internet, you can use the operating system’s functions to do so. You don’t need to understand and write code for every single type of Ethernet or WiFi hardware out there. Like any other computer, the Raspberry Pi also uses an operating system and the “stock” OS is a flavor of Linux called Raspbian. Linux is a great match for Raspberry Pi because it’s free and open source. On one hand, it keeps the price of the platform low, and on the other, it makes it more hackable.

The SD card is important because this is where the Raspberry Pi keeps its operating system and is also where you will store your documents and programs.  The Raspberry Pi will not start without a properly formatted SD Card, containing the bootloader and a suitable operating system.This is very different from most computers and it is what many people find the most daunting part of setting up their Raspberry Pi. It is actually very straightforward—just different!

Warning! When you write the Raspberry Pi image to your SD card you will lose all data that was on the card.

 

The following instructions are for Windows users.Linux and Mac users can find instructions at : www.raspberrypi.org/downloads

1. Download the Raspberry Pi operating system
The recommended OS is called Raspbian. Download it here

2. Unzip the file that you just downloaded
a) Right click on the file and choose “Extract all”.
b) Follow the instructions—you will end up with a file ending in .img .This .img file can only be written to your SD card by special disk imaging software, so…

3. Download the Win32DiskImager software
a) Download win32diskimager-binary.zip (currently version 0.6) from: https://launchpad.net/win32-image-writer/+download
b) Unzip it in the same way you did the Raspbian .zip file
c) You now have a new folder called win32diskimager-binary . You are now ready to write the Raspbian image to your SD card.

4. Writing Raspbian to the SD card
a) Plug your SD card into your PC
b) In the folder you made in step 3(b), run the file named Win32DiskImager.exe
(in Windows Vista, 7 and 8 we recommend that you right-click this file and choose “Run as administrator”). You will see something like this:

win32diskimager

c) If the SD card (Device) you are using isn’t found automatically then click on the drop down box and select it

d) In the Image File box, choose the Raspbian .img file that you downloaded

imager2

e) Click Write
f) After a few minutes you will have an SD card that you can use in your Raspberry Pi

5. Booting your Raspberry Pi for the first time
a) Follow the Quick start guide on page 1
b) On first boot you will come to the Raspi-config window
c) Change settings such as timezone and locale if you want
d) Finally, select the second choice: expand_rootfs and say ‘yes’ to a reboot
e) The Raspberry Pi will reboot and you will see raspberrypi login:
f) Type: pi
g) You will be asked for your Password
h) Type: raspberry
i) You will then see the prompt: pi@raspberry ~ $
j) Start the desktop by typing: startx
k) You will find yourself in a familiar-but-different desktop environment.
l) Experiment, explore and have fun!

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