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Department of Computer Science

Creating a Bootable Image for Raspberry Pis

The Raspberry Pi is a small computer that runs on an operating system, just like a regular desktop or laptop computer. The most commonly used OS for Raspberry Pi is called “Raspbian,” which is a version of the Linux operating system. If you want to keep track of your pi setup, one of the best things you can do is to make your pi bootable drive. 

Things needed:

  1. USB drive or sd card with at least 8GB of capacity 
  2. Access to one of the pi stations
  3. some knowledge of the command line


Step One

Opening raspberry pi imager.

Open the command terminal and type in the following command. When entered the raspberry pi imager GUI should open up.

If the command doesn’t exist on the pis please inform one of the iLabs or technicians.

hackerspace@raspberrypi: rpi-imager

Step Two

Raspberry pi Imager

The Raspberry Pi Imager is a powerful software tool that enables users to create and flash operating system images to USB drives or SD cards. With its user-friendly interface, the Raspberry Pi Imager makes it easy for individuals to set up and configure their Raspberry Pi devices with a variety of different operating systems.

Choosing the right Image

When creating an image for a Raspberry Pi device, it is important to select the appropriate version of the operating system depending on the specific model you are working with. For instance, if you are creating an image for a Raspberry Pi 3 or earlier model, it is recommended that you select the 32-bit version of the operating system. This is because these models do not support 64-bit architecture, and attempting to install a 64-bit operating system may result in compatibility issues.

On the other hand, if you are creating an image for a Raspberry Pi 4, it is important to select the 64-bit version of the operating system to take advantage of the improved performance and memory capabilities of the device. However, it’s worth noting that the 32-bit version of the operating system will also work on the Raspberry Pi 4.



Configuring the Image

Before clicking write, there’s a little gear icon for configuring the settings. You can edit the network settings, what’s the pi’s hostname and password, and also SSH. And a bunch of other settings. Make sure to take a look at this before flashing the os. It’s important to ensure you can connect to your after its boots. 

The imaging process will take some time, so make sure to keep your storage device plugged into the computer as the os is flashed on. 


Step Three

After you flash the os onto a storage device, Insert the sd card or USB into the pi and turn it on the pi. You should see a colorful square on the screen.  Then the raspberry pi bootloader. If successful you should end up at the os main screen. Remember that some operating systems don’t have a desktop and can only be accessed through SSH.