I have just ordered my Raspberry Pi, and I want to prepare my SD card. How do I install an OS image onto an SD card?
The process is pretty simple.
Download the image
First, go to the Raspberry Pi Foundation's Download page and download the image you want.
I suggest the Debian Squeeze image if you are an absolute beginner, but watch out for the Raspbian image soon as it should run faster. The Arch Linux image is great if you want a minimal install or if you've had a bit of experience with Linux before.
Verify the Download
The Raspberry Pi Foundaton provide the SHA-1 hash of the download, which we can use to verify the file was downloaded correctly and wasn't tampered with on the way.
Extract the img file
I will assume your
You can use
The installation differs depending on whether you are using a Linux or a Windows host to flash the image onto the card.
Once you have installed the OS eject the SD card properly and insert it into the Raspberry Pi. Attach power and enjoy.
Modifications to above Linux process if using
I found myself doing this more often than I thought, and got tired of doing these steps manually and wrote a script that does the heavy lifting...
If you're on a Mac, you could try MakeMyPi which downloads, if necessary, a Wheezy image and writes it for you, then configures the Pi according to your liking (and any custom provisioning scripts), while filling the SD card with the root file system (so you're not limited to the default ≈2GB space). It even sets up wifi if you want.
The only things you have to do are set the configuration settings before you run it, insert the SD card, follow the instructions, and just a few minutes later you should have a working Raspberry Pi.
(I'm still learning, though, and I know this script can be improved. Feel free to contribute...)