How to install an operating system onto a Raspberry Pi SD card

Whether you are installing Linux, Raspbian or BiBli operating systems to your Raspberry Pi’s SD card the process is always the same. It does involve opening up the command line but it’s actually a great way to learn the basics of Linux.

1. The image, or compiled source code is going to be called filename.img. I like to put the image right in my root directory but it typically would be in /Downloads if you found it online.

2. You will first need to make sure the SD card is formatted. We’re not going to get into partitioning however for advanced users you may want to pre-format your SD card into different sizes. For most people simply insert the SD card into your computer using an SD card reader.

Important: This is for advanced users only. Using ‘sudo’ will allow you to completely erase a drive with no warning.

3. You can find the name of your SD card by typing:

sudo diskutil list

4. Your computer should detect it, however you may need to first unmount the disk as it becomes ‘busy’ when you plug it into the reader. This command simply involves typing:

sudo diskutil unmountDisk /dev/disk2

5. Start copying. This is going to take a while and you won’t see any log or response until it’s done. We use ‘dd’ which is a command and it’s pretty easy to rember. The ‘if’ stands for input file and the ‘of’ stands for output file. Your directory, file and disk names may very.

sudo dd if=biblios2.0.img of=/dev/disk2

6. Check the status by opening a new window and running this command.

sudo kill -INFO $(pgrep ^dd)