My model b pi runs raspbian since half a year. The pi hosts an apache webserver, file server and other programs. A cron job is performing apt-get update / upgrade on a regular basic.

The latest upgrade (~monday) broke the pi. After restart, the green led flashes just once, indicating that no firmware was found (as written in several posts).

Is there a way to keep my files on the SD and to fix the firmware or boot section only?

3 Answers 3


Try flashing the raspbian image on a spare sd card and copying over all files in the FAT32 partition.

  • 1
    Great hint! I downloaded the latest .img, opened it using 7-zip in MS Windows, went into 0.fat, and extracted all files onto the SDD root directory (only viewable part of the SDD in windows). Put the SDD back into the PI, re-powered, and everything worked.
    – Tob
    Jun 12, 2014 at 15:51
  • Due to the fact that the copied firmware did not fit to the one previously installed, an update was neccessary: 1) sudo apt-get update 2) sudo apt-get rpi-update 3) sudo SKIP_BACKUP=1 rpi-update
    – Tob
    Jun 13, 2014 at 4:30

What I did when my boot was trashed:

  • Use another SD (I'll refer to it as SD2) card to install Raspbian
  • Copy the /boot folder from the new installation to a USB device
  • Put the SD without the /boot folder (SD1) into a computer
  • Copy the /boot files from your flash drive to the /boot drive that appears on your PC after putting in the SD1 card.

That should help.

  • I know this was a little late, but it is good reference for others.
    – dominic03
    Dec 25, 2018 at 2:57
  • 1
    The system has flagged your answer for review (because it's an old question), and asked me to have a look. As I read through your answer, I get a bit muddled by your use of the word boot. This due, I think, to the fact that boot is both an action (verb) and the name of a folder on the SD card. So here's my suggestion: Edit your answer; use /boot when you're referring to the folder, and just plain boot when you're referring to the activity/verb. It might also improve clarity if you referred to the 2 SD cards as SD1 and SD2, SD-original and SD-new, or something along those lines.
    – Seamus
    Dec 25, 2018 at 11:33

Firstly backup the SD Card. If the data is important you should do this routinely. The method depends on what other systems you have, and it is possible to use the Pi to backup to an external HD.

On any computer Linux/Mac/Windows you can just use your normal copy methods to restore the files on the /boot partition. How you get these, if you don't have a copy, varies by system. On Linux/OS X you can mount the partition in a downloaded image.

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