Forgive me if this is basic, because I'm used to writing CD images, I'm not sure how this works. The Raspbian image is about 440MB (zipped at least). If I write the image onto a 16GB card, will all the remaining space on the card be usable for data?

2 Answers 2


Yes, you can repartition your card to reclaim the unused space. If you are using Raspbian then you have the option to do this as part of the initial boot. Otherwise you can refer to "How can I resize my / (root) partition?" for more information.

  • Thanks. So the Pi can simultaneously be booting from one partition while reading data from another?
    – Sputnik
    Commented Aug 2, 2012 at 20:05
  • Steve I thought Debian image resized it self on first boot.. but I cannot remember where I read it.
    – Piotr Kula
    Commented Aug 2, 2012 at 20:06
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    @ppumkin it does not auto resize, but it does have a startup option to do so. I will edit my answer to reflect that. Commented Aug 2, 2012 at 20:13
  • The link to the other question was correct, and an extra answer should be added there. Commented Aug 2, 2012 at 20:17
  • 2
    @Spütnik the default image you load on the card already has two partitions a boot partition and a root partition. What the startup script does is expand the root partition to utilise the entire disk capacity. As for accessing two partitions simultaneously I am not familiar enough with the low level details of SD Card access to answer. To clarify do you want to create a separate data partition? Commented Aug 2, 2012 at 20:19

Raspbian images do resize themselves after boot , so that the second partition including filesystem take up all space on the card. You would need a GParted live CD and an SD card reader to reverse that. Don't forget that Windows refuses to autodetect multiple partitions on removable drives and does not support Raspbian Linux' ext4 format at all.

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