I have a Raspberry Pi that is going to be put in situations where the intended user (a person with an unfortunate bout of brain damage) can't be expected to repair the device.

I was working with it one night; I accidentally shorted some GPIO pins and - probably corrupted the file system! It never got past INIT: entering runlevel 2 again on boot.

Now, for me, this is no big deal. But to the poor chap the device is intended for this kind of thing could be very unfortunate.

For the sake of the file system, can/should one run with the SD card locked? Is there anything I should do to prepare the system for this?

(This would also prevent the card from failing over the matter of a few weeks.)

I have no preference for the operating system.


  • When you mean running with the SD card locked, do you mean that you want it to boot and work, but no changes can be made, files saved etc? The pi will need to read from the card to use it, and to write to the card to store cache, temporary data etc. Are you planning on using the GUI (Graphical user Interface) or command-line (just typing in commands)?
    – Wilf
    Nov 22, 2013 at 14:22
  • I should not have to use the GUI in this mode. In fact, it's going to automatically execute a program to interact with some hardware - no commands required. I understand no changes could be saved... Nov 22, 2013 at 14:24
  • I would recommend a hardware fix in addition to software. If you were able to short out those pins, then the enduser will be able to.
    – scld
    Nov 22, 2013 at 14:49
  • Well, the Pi itself is going in a box. He shouldn't have physical access to it, not without trying. The software I can deal with - I expect he may accidentally cut power, suddenly, that's all Nov 22, 2013 at 15:23
  • Along as the Pi is suitably boxed up, it should be fine. Sorry about my earlier comment, I thought you meant locking the filesystem (software) not the hardware SD card switch. If you back an image of the SD card when it has all the software set to how you want it, if the SD card is corrupted, you can restore to the SD card or to another (the same size though).
    – Wilf
    Nov 22, 2013 at 21:05

1 Answer 1


Assuming that by locked you mean the SD card has the write-protect switch activated, then be aware that the switch isn't connected in the RPi - SD Card interface.

This is given in an answer to the earlier question Running on read-only SD card

  • Additional benefit is, that you can just yank out the power to shut it down. No need for proper shutdown procedures.
    – Gerben
    Nov 22, 2013 at 20:20

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