Here's a fantastic question for everyone, how can we overwrite a corrupted SD card and re flash the NOOBS image on the card? I find it very irritating there aren't 10 million resources on google about this already. Maybe someone has done this before, on a mac?

P.S. I have SD Formatter downloaded already

  • 1
    There must be 10,000 questions like this, but just follow the official guide raspberrypi.org/help/noobs-setup There is no such thing as a NOOBS image just a set of files to copy to an empty card.
    – Milliways
    Jul 10 '16 at 5:03

There aren't any special instructions for this because starting from scratch is starting from scratch. Installing an image onto the card is the same regardless of whether the card is "blank" because it is new (actually, I've never seen one come truly blank; they are usually pre-formatted with one big vfat partition -- you can make them truly blank but there's not much purpose to it), has been used for some other purpose previously, or contains a corrupted filesystem and/or partition table.

However, if the card is physically damaged or worn out then obviously it will not work and there is nothing you can do. This is not normally what "corruption" refers to though.


On a Mac, the official Raspberry Pi Foundation instructions work fine for installing and reinstalling the OS. But, two suggestions:

  1. Use the official, full, Raspbian release instead of NOOBS (use Raspbian until it becomes clear that one of the other available OS's would be better suited to your needs, because nearly all the help/documentation out there is based on using Raspbian, and it's the most thoroughly tested and will be supported by the most software); and

  2. If you suspect any kind of corruption on the card, run screaming away from it, and spend $10 on a new card - "saving" the $10 by using a card that is suspect is looking for heartache somewhere down the road when the card dies.

  • 1
    +1 For observing that the same instructions work for installing and re-installing. WRT suggestion #2, generally the card is not to blame for data corruption and you can spend as much money as you want and it will not prevent it. The most likely cause on the pi is misuse (yanking the cord while the pi is busy), but in any case it is something the user should attempt to pin down first, otherwise you may just be recommending someone go out and buy a new card an infinite number of times, while continuously throwing perfectly good hardware in the trash.
    – goldilocks
    Jul 10 '16 at 21:12
  • Depends on the meaning of "corruption". If simply "bits have been arranged in a displeasing pattern" then by all means reformat the card and continue from there. But I have seen MicroSD cards become physically corrupted by power outages and that is worth replacing the card for. I'm certainly not recommending "buying a new card an infinite number of times". That would be foolish.
    – CarlRJ
    Jul 10 '16 at 21:39

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