I'm currently trying to use 'Minitool Partimage Image' on Windows 10 - this works with all standard hard drive duplication. After a lot of testing of various size microSD cards, why when you perform a sector by sector copy of a know working and fully configured RPi4 microSD card (holds standard 2 partitions of FAT32 and Ext4) in windows does the microSD card fail to boot?

If the new 'backup' microSD card is placed in the RPi4 and turned on, classic repeating 4x green LED flashes are observed i.e. can't find a valid 'start.elf' file?

The only thing I've read somewhere was about filesystem guids as apposed to labels being used and that's something to do with why the duplicates don't boot?

I'm trying to understand why standard partition imaging and copying tools appear to fail with RPi4 microSD cards?

For reference: -

  • The 'working' microSD card is a standard created with 'Raspbian Buster Lite' (2019-09-26 version 4.19)
  • RPi4 booted and configured asdesired Now trying to create a physical 'backup' microSD card using a windows 10 PC Both cards are the same type/size (Transcend 8GB microSD card)
  • If the 'backup' microSD card is created from scratch using 'Ethcer' and the original downloaded image - it boots 1st time without issues - try duplicating it again - still fails?
  • Both original and 'backup' microSD cards seem to be identical i.e. 2x partitions (FAT32 and Ext4)
  • RPi4 is a headless / keyboard less system with access when running via SSH to commandline only - gui desktop not installed so 'SD card copier' can't be used.
  • Standard windows SD card copier programs referenced on various forums appear to fail when writing back a backup image that they take i.e. 2nd partition appears to not be copied back?
  • 1
    Is there any reason you would use 'MiniTool Partition Wizard' (whatever this may be) rather than the SD Card Copier included in Raspbian?
    – Milliways
    Nov 18, 2019 at 10:21
  • Sorry just updated - desktop isn't installed and system is installed as a headless setup with SSH commandline access. Nov 18, 2019 at 10:25
  • Your question is too vague, but ANY total image copy (by any means) is likely to fail, because even nominally identical devices may differ in size. There are numerous options (none of which work on Windows bacause it is not ext4 aware) of copying images to other devices.
    – Milliways
    Nov 18, 2019 at 10:33
  • I use raspberrypi.stackexchange.com/a/103991/8697 to image my Pi to any storage medium (which can be on Windows) which produces images which can be used to create new SD Cards.
    – Milliways
    Nov 18, 2019 at 10:38
  • Thanks Milliways I'll take a look at that. Nov 18, 2019 at 10:46

1 Answer 1


After further testing, before moving onto more efficient methods (i.e. 'dd' command piped gzip for example), 2x total image copiers have been found and tested working (both freeware solutions): -

Both the above utilities work without any issues observed with the RPi4 microSD card format i.e. 2x partitions (FAT32 and Ext4).

The 1st solution was used to confirm the principle of sector duplicating a microSD card is possible - especially under linux as a combination of FAT32 and Ext4 formated partitions are fully supported.

The 2nd solution (the Windows 10 answer to the question posed) has been confirmed as able to handle the sector by sector duplication of a microSD card with both Fat32 and Ext4 partitions present, even under Windows 10 that doesn't recognise the Ext4 partiton at all.

Why 'MiniTool Partition Wizard' is not able to create a successfully bootable duplicate microSD card is still a mystery as on examination the destination card contains both the FAT32 and Ext4 formated partitions - just like if a Windows/Linux dual boot hard disk was imaged (a task that has been successfully completed many times.....)

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