An easier way to create the bootable SD card with Windows

This post follows on from yesterdays one where we explained how to create the bootable SD card using diskpart and windd through the administrator command prompt.  We have now found a much quicker way to do the same thing and you don’t need to delete any partitions first.  Win32DiskImager is a program you can download for free which has a nice and simple GUI.

Simply select the image file, choose the drive letter of your SD card and press the Write button.  It will give you a warning that writing to a physical drive could corrupt the device, but just say Yes to this.  You can then watch the progress bar slowly move to the right.  When it’s finished the progress bar will disappear and you can press Exit.

Most of the SD card images that you can download from the internet are made for 2GB SD cards.  If you have a larger SD card than this there are a couple of extra steps you’ll need to do in order to use the extra space.  If you don’t perform them then your Pi will only ever see 2GB of disk space and you’ll be wasting the rest.

If you’re using Raspbian then all you need to do is select one thing during the first boot configuration stage.  When you first boot the SD card image up you’ll get the configuration screen shown below.  All you need to do is select the second option down from the top and press enter.  This will now expand the file system to fill the SD card.

If you’re using another operating system then you may need to change the size of the file system partitions manually.  There are instructions on how to do this using a tool called GParted on a previous post on this blog.

Anyway, I hope this helps.  I will probably use this tool in future as it does save a bit of time.

7 thoughts on “An easier way to create the bootable SD card with Windows

  1. Just a heads up everyone. I have found that sometimes when I run Wind32DiskImager the Device drop down box does not populate. If you close it and run the program again a few times, that usually fixes it.

  2. Is there a version of this that will work on 64 bit Windows 7? The version I downloaded tells me “Access is denied: cannot lock device” when I try to write to it. thanks

  3. I have copy the NOOBS files to a sd card (4gb) ,after formatting it by Win32DiskImager.But my Rpi is not boting the os .I have connected a touch tft display to rpi
    can you guide me to load an os to Rpi

    • Try a normal screen using a HDMI cable – tft display drivers don’t seem to be installed by default on Raspbarian.

  4. Hi, my son and I are pi novices.i suspect we have corrupted the sd card memory by shutting down power incorrectly I.e. Not using the shutdown -h command. How do we reinstall the os correctly please?
    Thanks, roger

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