This is quick post to show how you can choose and write an Operating System to a SD card for use on a Raspberry PI computer.
A Raspberry Pi is a wonderful 5V mini computer that you can use in IoT projects, Programming, Retro Gaming or as a desktop replacement.
View all Raspberry Pi computers here: https://www.raspberrypi.org/products/
The Raspberry Pi has an official Operating system called Raspian.
Many other 3rd party Operations system exist
Raspian comes with a Windows like desktop that you can use.
You can even install a Retro Pi image to allow you to play old arcade and Console games in an emulator.
Raspberry Pi Zero W
For this post I will be using the older Raspberry Pi Zero W to setup an operating system.
I have a few Raspberry PI Zero W’s (v1.1) laying around
Closer look at one of them
It’s only has 1x CPU Core and 512MB of memory. It had Micro USM keyboard and power in plugs.
I have added a small eBay heat sink to the CPU to help limit thermal throttling when the CPU is working hard.
The good thing about the Raspberry Pi is you can add a fan from the supplied 5V pin. Read more about available pin’s here: https://raspberrypi.stackexchange.com/questions/83610/gpio-pinout-orientation-raspberypi-zero-w or here https://www.raspberrypi.org/documentation/usage/gpio/
Obviously I would mount it better than this when I turn it on.
You can buy inexpensive drop on references boards to help remind ytou of each pin.
The reference board just pops over the pins
Please visit this page to compare all Raspberry Pi Model Specifications: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raspberry_Pi#Specifications
SD Card (Required)
The Raspberry Pi does not have a Hard Drive (Magnetic, SSD or NVME) and you will need a Micro SD card. An operating system will need to be written to the SD card and inserted into the MicroSD slot on the Raspberry Pi.
I would not put a cheap/slow MicroSD card in the Raspberry PI, aim for a UHS (1) or UHS (3) speed SD card for best bang for buck.
Make sure you SD card is not write protected (if it is inserted into an old SD card adapter). My computer does not have a MicroSD card slot.
I have 2x SD card adopters that my MicroSD card inserts into. Then the SD card inserts into my PC.
Make sure the write lock is not on.
SD Image Writing Software
I want to setup a new Pi for use as a PiHole Ad Blocker on my home network.
I can see the PiHole software needs Rasbian Operating System on the Raspberry Pi (ARM CPU)
Now that I know what Operating System I need to install I need to grab the SD Imager software from https://www.raspberrypi.org/downloads/
I downloaded the software and open it to install it.
I clicked Install
I clicked Next
After the software was installed I clicked Finish to open the software
In the background I formatted (as FAT32) my 32GB MicroSD Card (that was in the SD card adapter).
I will not do a quick format so every sector on the card is tested and formatted.
This may take 30 minutes to format buy it is worth while. I don’t want a bad SD card making its way to the Raspberry PI.
Open the Raspberry Pi Imager program that you installed earlier.
I clicked “CHOOSE OS“
I can choose an operating system to download and write to the SD card
I chose “Raspian (other)” then “Raspian Full“
Raspian is now the selected operating system
I clicked “CHOOSE SD CARD” and selected my 32GB SD card.
The Operating System and SD Card have been selected
I clicked “WRITE” and within 5 seconds noticed my WiFi was download the Operating System, Nice.
The write process will take at least 30 minutes (depending on your internet speed).
When it’s complete a Verify will be performed and hopefully will have a SD card ready for use in a Raspberry Pi computer.
The write completed and files are on the SD card.
I will prepare 3x MicroSD cards I have ready for My PiHole adventures. Blog post coming.