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Raspberry Pi For Dummies by Mike Cook, Sean McManus

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Flashing Your SD Card

You should now have an SD card (see Chapter 1 for tips on buying compatible SD cards) and the Linux distribution you have downloaded. Unfortunately, copying your Linux distribution to your SD card isn’t as simple as just copying the file across. The Linux distribution is in a special format (an image file) that describes all the different files that need to be created on the SD card. To convert the image file into an SD card that will work on the Raspberry Pi, you need to flash the SD card.

The way you do this varies depending on what kind of computer you’re using, so we’ve provided instructions for Windows, Mac, and Linux in this section.

warning_bomb.eps Whichever computer you’re using, you need to be extremely careful in doing this. When an SD card is flashed, its previous contents are completely erased, so make sure you’ve made copies of any files or photos you might need from the card before you begin flashing.

Take care with the instructions too: If you’re going to erase a disk, make sure it’s your SD card and not your main computer hard drive!

Flashing an SD card in Windows

To flash an SD card in Windows, you’ll need to download and install a small program that does the job. Image Writer for Windows (see Figure 2-1) is available for free download and makes the job easy.

This software is alpha software, which means it’s still in a fairly early stage of development, so ...

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