Formatting an SD card ready to use

Compare SD

The Raspberry Pi is at heart a fully functional computer, similar to a laptop or smart phone, and as with any computer it needs somewhere to store its information. Everything on the Raspberry Pi is stored on the SD card, this is effectively the Hard Drive. Take care of the SD card, if it gets lost or damaged there is no way to save your work that is done on the Pi.

These instructions will work with both a standard sized SD card and Micro SD cards.

The use of an SD card adaptor is required if your computer/laptop doesn’t have one built in.

What kind of SD card?

It is recommended to use a card that is 8GB or more as Raspbian has grown with additional software and updates that a 4GB card will leave next to no available space to store your own files.

There is a Class rating on SD cards to show their performance, typically the higher the Class rating the faster the card. To the normal user this won’t make any difference, it is typically needed when using the cards in high performance environments such as digital cameras and mobile phones.

Prepare the SD card

Windows

What we need

Installing SD Formatter

Download the latest version of SD Formatter for Windows, after accepting their End User License Agreement (click I Agree).

You’ll see a box asking to download a file to your computer, click Open and OK. This will take a minute or so depending on your connection

Double click on setup.exe to start the install and confirm you wish to run this file by clicking Run. Follow the instructions to continue the installation.

Using SD Formatter

SDFormatter
Click Start, then All Programs, find SDFormatter and click on SDFormatter. Click Yes to open the program.

You see a box like the one on the right. In the Drive box you should see the Drive Letter of you SD Card. Click refresh if you put the card in to your computer after you opened SDFormatter.

SDFormatter-SizeAdjust

We want to make sure we use all the space available on the SD card. Click Options, and change the box FORMAT SIZE ADJUST to ON.

Press OK to close the box, and click Format, and then OK on the box to continue with Quick Format.

Now you can move on to Installing Raspbian from an image

Mac OS

What we need

  • An Apple Computer
  • An SD/MicroSD card
  • SD card reader
  • SD Formatter

Installing SD Formatter

Download the latest version of SD Formatter for Mac, after accepting their End User License Agreement (click I Agree).

You’ll see a box asking to download a file to your computer, click Open and OK. This will take a minute or so depending on your connection

Open the SDFormatter_4.00B.pkg file to start the install and click continue, selecting your destination for the install and entering your system administrator password if required.

Using SD Formatter

SDformatter_mac

From Applications, find and click on SDFormatter to open the application. You maybe asked to enter your administrator password again.

Insert your SD Card to your Mac and SDFormatter will automatically detect the card for formatting.

1. Your first option is to select the SD Card you wish to format.

2. Then select which format option you would like. ‘Quick Format’ is normally best.

3. Naming the SD Card is not required.

Finally click on the format button and wait for the formatting process to complete.

Remember to eject your SD Card before physically removing it from your Mac

Now you can move on to Installing Raspbian from an image