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

27, Dec 2020 | Raspberry Pi 4 Series | 7 comments

In Episode 2 of our Raspberry Pi series, we will be showing you how to install Raspberry Pi OS on a Micro SD card. This is episode 2 of our Raspberry Pi Series.

**This post was updated on 15th July 2022

Choosing the best micro SD Card:

Lexar High-Performance 32GB MicroSD Card with SD AdapterSanDisk 16GB Ultra microSD Card with Adapter
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Please see our posts 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.

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 Raspberry Pi Imager On Windows

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.

Raspberry Pi Imager Choose Image

From here click “Choose OS“.

Raspberry Pi Imager Other

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

Raspberry Pi OS Lite

Important!.. Select the lite version of Raspberry Pi OS. This version doesn’t contain a desktop environment and is the image needed in order to create a headless server environment.

Select “Raspberry Pi OS Lite (32-bit)

Raspberry Pi OS Choose Storage

Back at the main splash screen click on “Choose Storage“.

Raspberry Pi Imager Choose Storage Device

Select your storage device from the list. Make sure it is the correct storage device as all data will be overwritten.

Raspberry Pi Imager Advanced Options

Click on the cog icon to set the “Advanced options“.

Raspberry Pi Imager set hostname

Under “Set hostname” tick the selection box and add a hostname. This will be the name of your server and used to identify and connect to it on your network.

Raspberry Pi Imager Enable SSH

Under “Enable SSH” tick the selection box to enable SSH. You will also need to set a new password for the pi user.

Raspberry Pi Imager add a password

Set a New password under “Password:

Important: Make sure you have set this password correctly. There is no confirmation and a wrong password will mean you will have to install the operating system from scratch again.

Raspberry Pi Imager Advanced Options Save

Now click on “Save” to finish setting the Advanced options.

Raspberry Pi OS Write Image To Sd Card

Once back at the main splash screen click on “Write“.

Raspberry Imager Yes To Write

Click “Yes” to write the Raspberry lite OS image to the SD card.

Raspberry Pi OS Writing To SD Card

The Imager will download the chosen Operating System and write it onto the SD card.

Raspberry Pi OS Verifying Image

Raspberry Pi Imager will now verify the integrity of the written image.

Raspberry Pi Imager has finished continue prompt

Once finished hit the “Continue” button.

Exit Raspberry Pi Imager

To close the application press the cross icon in the top right. You can now remove the SD card from your computer.

Connect The Micro SD card to your Raspberry Pi 4:

With your Raspberry Pi 4 powered off. You can now safely insert your Micro SD card into your Raspberry Pi’s Micro SD Card slot located underneath the Raspberry Pi towards the back. Then you connect the power supply.

You can now boot into Raspberry Pi OS.

How to find your Raspberry Pi’s address on your local network.

In order to connect to your Raspberry Pi over the network you will need to know your Raspberry Pi’s IP address. Please follow the guide below on how to find it.

How did you get on?. Let us know in the comments below.

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  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?

  3. Fabian

    Great job on the tutorials!
    Just one addition: Please consider to either update this guide and directly rename the main user account from Pi to USERNAME or include some warning / downsides on why you should not change the default user’s name (if this should be the case).

  4. Jeff

    So why 32-bit as opposed to 64-bit?

    • Addicted2Tech

      At the time of recording this series 64-bit was not stable. However now it is I would recommend using 64-bit.


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