Most regular readers of this blog will likely find flashing OS images on a MicroSD card to be a breeze. Just download the latest operating system image, install balenaEtcher, select the image, the MicroSD card and you’re done.
But people who have never used such tools may find it a little confusing, so the Raspberry Pi Foundation has a developer and has now released a tool – Raspberry Pi imager – work on Windows, macOS and Ubuntu which makes it even easier.
You will find the tool for the operating system of your choice on the download page of the Raspberry Pi website. I tried it in Ubuntu 18.04. Click Operating System to display a list of the latest supported operating systems, an option to completely erase the MicroSD card, and another to install your own custom image – already downloaded -.
I selected Raspbian 2020-02-13, inserted my SD card and selected it.
To get started, just click the Write button, and here, to my surprise, he just started writing immediately. This means that instead of downloading the image and then flashing, the utility will flash the image when receiving the data, which should save time.
The Raspberry Pi Foundation also explains that the utility caches the image, so the next time, the image will not need to be downloaded again. After a while, the write operation was successfully completed.
Note that there does not seem to be a verification step like in balenaEtcher to make sure there is no problem with the MicroSD card or the downloaded file.
The Raspberry Pi imager is based on PiBakery, but is supposed to be easier to use. The latter is intended for advanced users, and allows you to define the password, configure WiFi, SSH, a VNC server, etc. before flashing the image.
Raspberry Pi Imager is open-source and released under an Apache license. You can find the source code on Github. Based on the comments in the announcement message, the utility can also run on a Raspberry Pi card, but at the moment it must be compiled from the source, and there is no pre-built binary image to download.
Jean-Luc started CNX Software in 2010 as a part-time business, before leaving his position as Director of Software Engineering, and starting to write daily news, and revising full time later in 2011 .