We’ve made a simpler way to image your microSD card with Raspbian, the official Raspberry Pi operating system, and other operating systems. Introducing our new imaging utility, Raspberry Pi Imager.
Simplifying the Raspberry Pi experience
For me, one of the most important aspects of the Raspberry Pi experience is trying to make it as easy as possible to get started. To this end, since launching the first Raspberry Pi, we’ve added a GUI to our operating system, a wizard to help you set up your Raspberry Pi the first time you boot it, and lots of books and magazines to get people up and running. We’ve even developed the Raspberry Pi Desktop Kit to put all the things you need (yes, Alex, I know – except for a monitor) into a single box to make it as easy as possible!
SD cards can be a bit tricky
Despite all these moves towards more simplicity, when it comes to microSD cards, programming them with your favourite Raspberry Pi operating system has always been a little bit tricky.
The main problem comes from the differences between the operating systems that people’s main computers are likely to use: Windows, macOS, and Linux all use different methods of accessing the SD card, which doesn’t help matters. And, for some new Raspberry Pi users, understanding where to find the latest up-to-date image and how to get it onto the microSD card can be a bit confusing, unless you’ve had prior experience with image-flashing tools such as Etcher.
For that reason, we’ve always suggested that you should buy a pre-loaded NOOBS SD card from your Raspberry Pi Approved Reseller.
But what if you want to re-image an existing card?
Introducing the new Raspberry Pi Imager
From today, Raspberry Pi users will be able to download and use the new Raspberry Pi Imager, available for Windows, macOS and Ubuntu.
The utility is simple to use and super speedy, thanks to some shortcuts we’ve introduced into the mechanics.
Firstly, Raspberry Pi Imager downloads a .JSON file from our website with a list of all current download options, ensuring you are always installing the most up-to-date version.
Once you’ve selected an operating system from the available options, the utility reads the relevant file directly from our website and writes it straight to the SD card. This speeds up the process quite considerably compared to the standard process of reading it from the website, writing it to a file on your hard drive, and then, as a separate step, reading it back from the hard drive and writing it to the SD card.
During this process, Raspberry Pi Imager also caches the downloaded operating system image – that is to say, it saves a local copy on your computer, so you can program additional SD cards without having to download the file again.
Open source and ready to go!
Download the Raspberry Pi Imager from our downloads page today.
Raspberry Pi Imager is fully open source and was originally written as a modification of the PiBakery tool, later modified and finished by Floris Bos (the original writer of the NOOBS tool and the PiServer tool). You can see Floris’ other software, for data centres, here.