Raspberry Pi: Write SD Card Images Using Etcher

Goal: Learn how to install an operating system image on an SD card (e.g. Raspbian Lite, MODEP).

Difficulty: Easy

Required Hardware:

  • Micro SD card
  • Windows, macOS or Linux computer w/ micro SD card reader

Required Software:

Step 01: Install Etcher

  • Windows
    Download Etcher from https://etcher.io/. Double-click the *.exe file in Windows and follow the Etcher setup wizard. Run Etcher in Administrator Mode: right-click on Etcher and choose ‘Run as administrator’.

  • macOS
    Download Etcher from https://etcher.io/. Drag the Etcher app to your Applications folder on a Mac and double-click to open it.

  • Linux
    Download the AppImage file from https://etcher.io/. App Images are self-contained runtimes that do not require manual installation or root. They will run on pretty much every distro out there. After the download is complete, double-click the image to run it.

Step 02: Download your OS image

Download a copy of the OS image you want to install. If the image comes in *.zip format, unzip the file after it has downloaded. Double-click the file in Mac or Linux (or use unzip in a terminal window). In Windows, right-click the file and choose Extract All.

Step 03: Select the image

Launch Etcher. Click Select Image button. Use the file manager window and locate the image you unzipped in the previous step. Click Open. The image will appear under Select Image, and Connect a drive will highlight red.

Step 04: Insert your SD card

Attach your SD card to the computer. Etcher will select it automatically. Etcher won’t write to your hard drives by default, but check that the SD card is listed correctly. Now click Flash! to write the image file to the SD card.

Step 05: Writing the image

Etcher will format the SD card, before writing and verifying the image; this is shown by a progress bar. When done, remove the SD card, insert it into your Raspberry Pi, and power it up. If you want to flash another SD card with the same image, insert it and click Use Same Image.