Hi I've owned a Raspberry Pi for about 1 hours. I'm reading through the NOOBS install instructions (http://www.raspberrypi.org/help/noobs-setup/). In the step "Format you SD Card" it says use some tool from some site on your Windows or MAC PC. I don't own a copy of either of those two operating systems. Anyway, I just want to know what file system can I format the SD Card as?! That is my question. can use ext3|4 or some other format?


P.S. There is a few other questions about formatting the SD Card, some mentioning dd. Others mentioning the Blah Associations Tool that only works with MAC/MS. All that is not relevant. I just want a straight answer about the allowed file formats for the SD Card.

  • What OS do you use, because if you are using Linux, it's pretty simple. Commented Jul 20, 2014 at 23:24
  • I don't think that is relevant to the question: "I just want to know what file system can I format the SD Card as?"
    – spinkus
    Commented Jul 21, 2014 at 3:14
  • BTW this question is not a duplicate of "How do I install an OS image onto an SD card?" at all.
    – spinkus
    Commented Jul 21, 2014 at 3:15
  • It is relevant, as you say you don't own a copy of either OS. Do you mean OS X/Windows or do you mean Raspbian/XBMC/Raspbmc/etc? Commented Jul 21, 2014 at 19:51
  • @RPi that was hyberbole on my part. Edited question to make it clearer what I am asking.
    – spinkus
    Commented Jul 22, 2014 at 10:39

1 Answer 1


For NOOBS, you should just format the SD card as fat32. NOOBs will take care of the rest of it for you.

The dd method is for "raw" Operating images that you can get off the Raspberry Foundation site, like Raspbian.
For those images, when you download the file, it will be in an .img format, which you then dd to the SD card like so - dd if=raspbian-img-file.img of=/dev/sdx bs=1M <-- where /dev/sdx is the device that corresponds to your SD Card.

  • OK Thanks Lawrence. Its funny, on the very next page of instructions for The NOOBS (raspberrypi.org/documentation/installation/noobs.md) it gives installation instructions again for some reason and says I should use FAT and parted which is exactly what I did. Looks like what ever the boot loader is its always looking for a fat filesystem in the first partition. Still interested ot know if it'll handle other file systems. Maybe I'll try later.
    – spinkus
    Commented Jul 11, 2014 at 4:01

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