MagPi video tutorials: installing an operating system with Etcher

Hi folks, Rob from The MagPi here again. I’ve dropped by the blog a bit early this month to present to you our very first tutorial video: installing Raspbian (and other operating systems) with Etcher.

You might remember that I hosted a video about the Raspberry Pi Zero W launch, telling you all about it and why it’s amazing. That was the first in a series of videos we’ll be bringing you, including guides and tutorials like Lucy’s video today.

Our job at The MagPi is to serve the Raspberry Pi community, so this is where I turn to you, blog readers and community-at-large: what sort of tutorials would you like to see in our videos? Whether you’ve done a few Pi projects or are just starting out, we want to hear from you about what you’d like to learn.

Let us know what you’d like us to show you next. Fill up the comments!


Dougie Lawson avatar

Is it now time to replace the Carrie-Anne Philbin video on with your shiny new Etcher video?

Radix avatar

I would think so, based on my experience with Etcher for several months now, and on different platforms, Linux and Windows. Etcher just works, has a clear and concise UI, and does useful sanity checks. I especially like the feature to directly write from a compressed image file. It is the image flasher I would have liked to have all the years before.

Stevie avatar

Here’s a request for a tutorial: How to set up a Minecraft server on a Pi for a local network so that a group of students can join in from their individual Minecraft Pi. Then have the students only be able to use Python to interact in the world and each other.

Doug Marshall avatar

I would appreciate a tutorial on how to backup a Raspbian SD card. I have tried several methods but would like to learn about one that works.

Simon Long avatar

There is an application for just this purpose included in the PIXEL image – launch “SD Card Copier” from the main menu, under “Accessories”. Insert a blank SD card into a USB SD card adapter, connect it to the Pi, choose it as the target device and off you go.

Stuart avatar

If this is to save newcomers from unzipping a file and writing the image to a card shouldn’t you explain installing it? A zip from Git is hardly obvious if you are new to Linux.
It would be much better to push it to the repos. Debian and all it’s variants will, I imagine, cover 99% of users.
Keep up the good work, this is NOT criticism.

Simon Long avatar

I’m not sure what you are saying here – when you say “explain installing it”, what is the “it” to which you refer? Etcher itself?

Etcher is a cross-platform tool for flashing Raspbian or other OSes to an SD card – you just download the application from for Windows, Mac or Linux, and it then installs by standard methods on any of them. There’s no need to go to Git for it.

Etcher is not currently available as a Debian package from the repos, and because it is a third-party tool (albeit one we recommend) rather than something we publish ourselves, we can’t put it on there.

Oh, and in terms of host machines to run Etcher on, far from covering 99% of users, Debian and variants would only cover a fairly small proportion of Pi users – many more people will use the Windows and Mac versions.

karan avatar

A lot of organisations and people(including me) run fedora, red hat, centOS and other RPM distros. Debian and it’s derivatives cover no where near 99% of all GNU/Linux distro users. It is also way easier to develop one package for all distros rather than specific ones for each distro.

Derrick avatar

Wonderful video, thank you!

What is that device on the right-hand side of the screen?

Simon Long avatar

It’s a pi-top CEED –

SamVimes avatar

Moved from YouTube comments section :

Does Etcher make tools like SDFormatter obsolete? Especially if previously an image was installed on the sd card and file system doesn’t use the cards full size!? I used to use win32diskimager wich seems a lot more responsive…

This video is of course fine but etcher is so easy to use that a short written tutorial with two screenshots would have also done the job.

Videos tutorials make more sense for programs with a complex gui (like Photoshop). Just my opinion.

If there wouldn’t already exist so many of them, a Node-RED tutorial showing software and hardware steps would be nice.

SimonG avatar

My Ubuntu system doesn’t recognize an ‘AppImage’ file, I had to search to find out how to install and run it. Basically you just unzip it to your home-directory make it executable the it will run. Not very user-friendly as previously commented.
Also, the latest Raspbian images download without the .zip extension so Etcher doesn’t recognise them as OS images. They need to be re-named to add the .zip then Etcher works fine. Etcher probably needs a fix to look for file type=zipfile as well as files with the .zip (& other) extension.
Also not a criticism, just trying to assist others with the same issues…

Phineas avatar

Perfect timing! Just started looking into the sense hat so would love for a beginner’s video guide on how to use it with Scratch. For example a quick explanation on how to light up the LEDs and set each color to draw something simple like a square. Also how to pull data from a sensor. But that would greatly help for someone like me to start making sense (pun intended) of this new exciting physical computing, and start getting my daughter involved.

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