Getting Started with the Raspberry Pi: Load up the SD Card

There are several options on what to use your Raspberry Pi for.

If you are not sure on what to do, load a SD Card up with NOOBS, the new out of box software. If you want to run Linux computer, you are opt to load an image of Raspbian onto a SD Card. If you want a simple media centre, either OpenELEC or OSMC are good. On top of the one mentioned, there are many more images that you can run you Raspberry with. Please note: A Raspberry Pi requires a microSD card with a pre-installed image to run. Without it, all you’ll see is a blank screen. There is no boot screen or anything.

Some of the officially recommended images can be found here:

Step 1: You’ll need a microSD card.

We recommend a Class 10 (FAST) SD card but even a Class 2 will run (SOMEWHAT). You can find a list of user tested compatible SD Cards here: Just get one that’s good on the list and try not to be the one going into uncharted water. Alternatively, you can purchase this from Canada Robotix. This is the one we use to play around here.

Step 2: Format your SD card.

If your SD card is not new, most likely, there will be some files on it. It is best to format it.

Visit the SD Association’s website and download SD Formatter 4.0 ( for either Windows or Mac.

Follow the instructions to install the software.

Insert your SD card into the computer or laptop’s SD card reader and make a note of the drive letter allocated to it, e.g. G:/

In SD Formatter, select the drive letter for your SD card and format it. Under option, use “FULL (Erase)” and “ON” for size adjustment for best result (in our opinions).

Step 3: Download Raspberry Pi Image

Download the image that you want to load onto your SD card from or wherever you want to download your image from. Note: for some image, there is a difference in version between Raspberry Pi A/A+B/B+ and B2 because a different processor was used.

Step 4: Load the image.

For NOOBS, all you have to do and unzip the downloaded zip file and copy everything in the NOOBS folder onto the root of the SD card. Note: Not the folder onto the SD card, everything in the folder onto the SD card. After a few minutes of transfer, you are good.

For other images that have a .img file, if you are a Windows user, you can use the Win32DiskImager to load your image. Remember to select Run as administrator. Select the image you downloaded when the program opens and select the driver letter of the SD card then press Write. For more details:

If you are using:

Step 5: Power Up

Put the SD card into your Raspberry Pi, plug in a 5V microUSB power supply and start it up and you should see something on screen. From here, refer to our OS specific tutorial for more guides.

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