I've downloaded my raspian disk image, and I'm going to write it to my micro sd card for use with my raspberry pi. I'm going to use Partition Image 0.6.8 to write the disk image to the card. Is this all I need to do?

Using GParted, I've noticed the card is in FAT32. I absolutely hate FAT32 because of its 4gb file limit. Should I format the card as ext2 or ext3 or ext4? Which is the best format for the raspberry pi? Or does writing the image to the card take care of all of this?

I know some of these questions may be nooby but this is my first question x)


It's even lower level than what @Milliways describes, the entire card including all partition information is not erased but overwritten. It doesn't matter if the card used to be FAT32 or NTFS or ext4 or just gobbledygook from /dev/random, afterwards it will contain the image data in whatever partition is used.

Any data that is on the card after the size of the Raspbian disk image, will be retained BUT you'll have difficulties to access it because a) there is no more partition that contains it b) there is no more filesystem with inodes that point to the actual data.

That's why the first step after writing a disk image, is to expand the partition and file system, so it can reclaim the data that comes after the disk image.


The first step in putting an OS on the Pi effectively erases the card and installs new partitions. All OS use a small FAT as boot partition ~100MB, and most use the remainder as EXT4.


I believe the FAT32 format is just the format of that partition, but windows recognises it as 'the card'

In short, it does not matter what file system is on it pre-mounting.

Some more information here.

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