My SD Card originally was plugged in Android Phone for years with no problems. Recently I bought a Raspberry Pi 3, so I formatted my SD card and installed Raspbian.

Several times after upgrading the system or installing some new software and restarting it, Pi reported ELF file system error. At those times I could not shutdown the Pi with command line and I had to cut off the power. Later I found this action totally damaged my SD card (it's always write protected).

Is there way to shutdown gracefully in case of the system error?

Like in Android I can always press power button for several seconds to close it. But Raspberry Pi does not have such mechanism.

  • 1
    Buy a new SD Card! It is probably faulty/past its prime. You should always shut down properly, but if you remove power when there is no activity you won't have any problems. The experienced users on this site have all done this. PS The Pi is no different to any other computer, it is just that most won't let you turn power off until you have shut down.
    – Milliways
    Dec 13, 2016 at 11:13
  • How to tell there is no action? Judging from one of the light in Raspberry Pi?
    – Audison
    Dec 14, 2016 at 1:15
  • green led (next to the red one) means read/write from/to sdcard, when it is off for few seconds that usually mean that you can reset it safely
    – rav_kr
    Dec 14, 2016 at 23:40
  • This is not clear. What prevents you from doing a proper sudo reboot or sudo halt after installing the software? What is this mysterious system error you're talking about? Jan 16, 2017 at 15:05

1 Answer 1


Like what @milliways is saying , Raspberry Pi can be picky on the SD cards allthough after the 1st version it's getting better and better, if your SD-card is getting corrupt time after time,

I would run to the shop and buy a new one if I where you.

On the new Raspbian and Pi there's an option to skip using a SD card (probably after booting) and use a USB device, so if you don't want the risk of getting your new card corrupt you can go with this solution.


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