To begin, I've downloaded "Raspbian Wheezy" on an SD card using Win32 Disk Imager on Windows 7. Once I "added" the Raspbian .img file onto my SD card, I noticed my SD card had dropped from the original capacity of 8GB to a meer 55MB. I thought that this was normal until I couldn't add any more directories into my Pi's SD card.

I know how to put my SD card back into it's original capacity (using this SD Formatter), but is there a way to download Raspbian onto my SD card without having any significant capacity loss? Thanks!

  • Hey guys I am in exactly the same situation and I am still confused. Are you saying this unallocated space is actually writable and can be used on the pi? In disk management I see two partitions, a 56 MB one and a 2.93 GB one, and 26.84 GB of unallocated space. When I try to install the gnome GUI (using command 'aptitude install gnome-desktop-environment') it errors out because it does not have enough space but a 32gb card should be enough, right? Thanks for any help!
    – user4388
    Commented Jan 11, 2013 at 23:08
  • 2
    You can run sudo raspi-config and choose the expand_rootfs option to expand your 2.93GB root partition to include all that currently unallocated space. After a reboot, you'll be able to use the rest of your SD card.
    – Day
    Commented Jan 11, 2013 at 23:48

2 Answers 2


Under Windows, all you will be able to see is the /boot partition, which is in the MS-DOS VFAT format. Raspbian uses a different file system format for its system files. Here's the (edited) output of df -h on my Raspberry Pi:

Filesystem      Size  Used Avail Use% Mounted on
rootfs           30G   13G   15G  47% /
/dev/root        30G   13G   15G  47% /
/dev/mmcblk0p1   56M   17M   39M  31% /boot

Windows would only find the 56 MB /boot partition. It doesn't know how to write to the other part. If you really want to write to the rest of the card under Windows, take a look at Ext2Fsd. I wouldn't recommend using your Raspbian system card as a general SD card on other computers, though.


To really see what's going on with the card in Windows go to disk management. You should find it in start menu administrative tools or by typing diskmgmt.msc in run box. You'll be able to see there exactly which partitions exist on the card.

Unfortunately, Windows assumes that USB flash drives and memory cards will only have one partition and will usually only display the first one, which is in this case the 56 MiB one.

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