We just setup our raspberry pi as a server. We started with NOOBS 1.2 and installed Raspbian. I just realized that NOOBS 1.2 can't automatically boot into Raspbian.

Is there a way to clone just the OS portion of the SD card and make a bootable disc image that I could use to reformat the SD card with so that it boots directly into Raspbian?

2 Answers 2


NOTE: This doesn't answer the OP's question as it is posted. This is merely a work-around.

Check on the GitHub NOOBS page. While it doesn't actually allow you to clone the installation, you can just bypass the splashscreen and boot automatically into the selected partition.

From the page:

How to bypass the Recovery splashscreen and boot directly into a fixed partition

After you have installed your chosen OSes, add the following file to the root directory of NOOBS to force the indicated partition to be booted at power-on.

  • Add a text file named autoboot.txt to the root directory of NOOBS.

  • Add boot_partition=[PARTITION NUMBER] to the file and save it to disk.

This will also prevent the splashscreen from being displayed at boot.

As for the partition you are going to be using, my guess is that it will be /dev/mmcblk0p1, though I can't be certain, as your installation is going to be different than mine. To find out which partition you are on run sudo parted, then run print. This is example output for print within parted:

Model: SD SDC (sd/mmc)
Disk /dev/mmcblk0: 8069MB
Sector size (logical/physical): 512B/512B
Partition Table: msdos

Number  Start   End     Size    Type     File system  Flags
 1      4194kB  62.9MB  58.7MB  primary  fat16        lba
 2      62.9MB  8069MB  8006MB  primary  ext4

The smaller partition is going to be your boot partition. In Raspbian it is anyways. I have yet to use NOOBS very much, so it may be different. The first is also most likely the boot partition, so just take the Disk name (Disk /dev/mmcblk0:...) and then tack on p and the partition Number (marked below):

Number  Start   End     Size    Type     File system  Flags
 --->1      4194kB  62.9MB  58.7MB  primary  fat16        lba
     2      62.9MB  8069MB  8006MB  primary  ext4

of the first partition. In this case it will be /dev/mmcblk0p1. Thus, your autoboot.txt file would look like this:


I could be wrong, so if that fails, try boot_partition=/dev/mmcblk0p1 though 1 is the boot partition number in my case and thus would be what it looks like should go in that file.

  • If I remember correctly, the version of NOOBs I have doesn't have this feature :( Which is why I wanted to clone my os and reflash just the os to a card. Jan 27, 2014 at 17:03
  • Ah. Well, it is just a work-around. It's worth a shot anyways. Jan 27, 2014 at 17:05

if i were you, i'd download clean raspbian image, copy it to the SD card and use it and forget about NOOBS.

actually, that't exactly what i did with my several PIs =)

  • I'd like to keep my complete working setup, just without the NOOBS. I'm aware I can start over without NOOBS but the idea is to not lose the work already done. Nov 28, 2013 at 22:05
  • are you familiar with the concept of backups? save your files into the svn/git/hg or just a different hdd/network drive and restore 'em back after OS reinstall.
    – lenik
    Nov 28, 2013 at 23:44
  • Yes we have backups. It's just I'd have to flash a new SD Card, install the needed packages, move the files I need to the card via usb, re-license the server software, etc. I can do all of that. I just wondered if I could flash a new SD card with a clone of the current OS partition, without the NOOBS partition. Or if I could somehow upgrade NOOBS or skip the NOOBS boot sequence. Nov 29, 2013 at 13:55

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