Burning Raspbian


Short Tutorial on Burning the Raspbian OS to a micro SD card

The main operating system used for all Raspberry Pis is Raspbian. This is an operating system based on Debian Linux that was built specifically for the Raspberry Pi line of products. This tutorial will explain how to burn that OS onto a micro SD card in the fastest and most efficient way possible.


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Step 1: Load the micro SD card into the adapter and insert into the card reader on your computer

Step 2: Download and install Etcher (this is the software recommended by the Raspberry Pi Foundation)

Step 3: Download the latest version of Raspbian OS

I recommend getting Raspbian Stretch Lite for Raspberry Pi Zero W and Raspbian Stretch with Desktop for Raspberry Pi 3 and up.

Step 4: Burn

Open Etcher and click the Select Image button and choose the Raspbian OS file you downloaded in step 3. Click Select Drive and choose your micro SD card. Click Flash. The OS will be written to your SD card. It will take 5-10 minutes depending on your computer and SD card write speed. It will verify the image is written correctly and then tell you it was successful.

Step 5 (optional): Enable SSH

SSH is disabled by default on Raspbian. If you don’t enable it now, you will have to connect a monitor, keyboard, and mouse to the Raspberry Pi later before you can SSH in later. To enable SSH before the first boot, drop a file named ssh into the boot partition of the Pi. The file should have no extension and be all lowercase like the picture shows. When the Pi boots the first time, it will see this file and enable SSH.

HINT: If the icon next to the ssh file is anything but a blank white page, you probably have extensions hidden. Make sure you unhide file extensions.


Step 6 (optional*): Supply network credentials

This step is optional, sort of. If you want to connect to a Raspberry Pi over WiFi instead of a network cable, you’re going to have to do this step. You need to specify the network for the Pi to connect to the first time it boots, and you also need to provide the password for that network. This is done using a wpa_supplicant.conf file. A sample wpa_supplicant file can be found here. Open this file with a text editor and replace <Your SSID> with the SSID of your home network and replace <Your Password> with the password to that network. Save that file as wpa_supplicant.conf and drop it into the boot partition of the SD card with your ssh file.

When the Pi boots for the first time, it will see this file and use the credentials found inside to connect to that WiFi network.