How To Install Raspberry Pi OS On SD Card – Episode 2

27, Dec 2020 | Raspberry Pi Series | 3 comments

In Episode 2 of our Raspberry Pi series, we will be showing you how to install Raspberry Pi OS on SD card.

Choosing the best micro SD Card:

Please see our post THE BEST MICRO SD CARDS FOR RASPBERRY PI 4 to learn more about which Micro SD cards are the best to be used on the raspberry pi 4.

SD Cards are vulnerable to data corruption and can even die completely without any notice. This is why we recommend taking precautions by either:

Take regular SD card image backups which will ensure you have a drop-in replacement in case your SD card dies. This can be automated: Guide coming soon!

Or alternatively, you can boot your Raspberry Pi 4 from a USB device (HDD or SSD). Guide Coming Soon!

Both the above options are optional and won’t affect following the rest of this tutorial.

Downloading and Installing the Raspberry Pi OS using the Raspberry Pi Imager:

Please insert your Micro SD card into your adapter and plug it into an available port on your computer. Also, make sure you don’t have any other SD Cards or USB storage devices attached.

Download and install the Raspberry Pi Imager for your Operating system using the official website link below:

Download the Raspberry Pi Imager

Now locate the Raspberry Pi Imager Icon and run the application.

You should be welcomed by the Splash screen.

From here click “Choose OS“.

In the OS selection menu click “Raspberry Pi OS (other)“.

As we plan to install Openmedia vault 5 due to it being the only stable release as of 24th December 2021 we will want to use the legacy version of Raspberry Pi Os which runs on Debian Buster.

This is very important! as the OMV script, we use in episode 5 will install Openmediavault 6 (OMV 6) on the latest Raspberry Pi Os version based on Debian Bullseye.

For now, until OMV 6 is stable we want to use OMV 5. We will update this post as soon as we have any updates on this.

However, if you like to live your life on the bleeding edge, by all means, install the latest Raspberry Pi OS based on Bullseye and use OMV 6 all other guides in our Episodes should work absolutely fine. If you have any problems please let us know in the comments below to help others in our community :).

Select “Raspberry Pi OS Lite (Legacy)“.

You should now have returned to the Splash Screen.

Now you can press “Choose SD Card” and select your SD card from the menu.

For the final time you should be returned to the Splash menu from here you can click on “Write“.

Be careful as once you click “Write” all data on the SD card will be overwritten.

The Imager will download the chosen OS and install it onto the SD card.

It will then verify the write to the SD card.

Once finished hit the “Continue” button and close the application. But do not remove the SD card.

Enabling SSH:

We now have to enable SSH so we can connect to the Raspberry Pi 4 over the network from another device.

This is done by going to your list of drives on Windows this can be located from “This PC” then double-clicking on the SD Card device boot drive.

From here create a blank file called SSH. It should have no file extension.

Tip: If you are unsure how to do this you can right-click the file start.elf

Then click copy

Right-click in a blank area now paste the file back in. Windows will create a new file name:

You now need to right-click the new file and click rename:

Rename it ssh

You will receive a prompt on Windows asking you if you are sure you want to remove the file extension just press “Yes”.

Ejecting the SD card the safe way:

From here you need to eject your SD card using the correct method for your operating system.

Important Tip! Never just pull the SD card out of your device without ejecting it as this can corrupt the data that applies to all operating systems including Android 🙂 ).

Connecting SD card to your Raspberry Pi 4:

With your Raspberry Pi 4 powered off. You can now safely insert your SD card into your Raspberry Pi slot and connect the power supply:

How did you get on?.

Do you know any better ways to install Raspberry Pi OS on an SD card?.

Let us know in the comments below.


  1. John Nichols

    With the Raspberry Pi Imager it is easy to set up a passwordless SSH connection, as well as WiFi and Time etc. Open the imager software and press Ctrl+Shift+x and you will bring up the advanced set up features.

    From there you can:
    – rename the local host (so you don’t have to enter the ip address, instead using [email protected]),
    – set up either with a password or using a SSH key, which as long as you do the steps below before hand will be auto-generated for you by the imager
    – Open command prompt (windows) or terminal (linux) and type ssh-keygen and press Enter.
    – Accept the default location for where to save the keys and press Enter.
    – Choose whether to add a passphrase or leave blank and hit Enter, repeat this once more and you are done.
    – Set the time location
    – Press OK

    Choose the operating system you wish to use which as you say, for this set up is the lite version, and choose your SD card then Write. Click yes that you understand the card will be wiped of all data, then sit back and wait for the imager to do it’s job. Once it has, take the card (again, like you said, it auto ejects) and put it into the Pi you are using. Plug in the power and you are away!

    No need to use passwords to access the Pi as you long as the PC you are using has your private key on it (my advice is to save it to a thumb drive and possibly print out a hard copy to be kept in a safe etc).

    On a side note, thanks for this series it is amazing. I don’t have much in the way of spare cash right now so instead every time I need something from Amazon I am first using one of your affiliate links so you get commision on all my purchases (the affiliate link still lasts 24 hours doesn’t it?).

    Looking forward to further videos.

    • Addicted2Tech

      Thank you for adding this. It will help others. Also thank you for your support it is greatly appreciated.

  2. Vincent

    Love your videos on the how to…it’s what gave me the motivation to purchase the PI4.

    I used the PI Image app to write the OS to a USB stick and am able to boot from the USB but to say that it is slow would be an upgrade. Trying to run the os update and upgrade is still running more than 3 hours whereas on the scared it ran in 3 minutes.

    I am not thinking this is normal. Any ideas?


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