I have seen posts and tutorials dealing with updating the kernel, such as this one, but they all expect you to remove the SD card, rewrite it outside with a card reader and then plug it back in. Is it possible to update the kernel without removing the sd card? And if not, why not?

I guess a bootloader such as U-boot could be used for this but I would like to use the native raspberry bootloader if possible. My end goal is to cross compile the kernel in my main computer and send the compiled kernel to my raspberry pi through the network. Are there any alternatives for this? Any help would be immensely appreciated.

1 Answer 1


It is possible. Raspberry Pi OS does this when an upgrade installs new kernel & firmware.

If all you want to do is install your own kernel you can use the kernel option in config.txt.

  • what config.txt file are you referring to? And how exactly would I go about installing my own kernel without removing the sd card?
    – barzilay
    Commented Apr 9, 2021 at 23:11
  • /boot/config.txt which is documented here and you'll want to check out the boot options, linked here Commented Apr 10, 2021 at 0:02

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