Very new to Raspberry Pi and don't know much about how it works but very interested and excited to learn how. Part of why I purchased one.

I have a Raspberry Pi 3 and have RetroPie installed (that I know how to do. Lol) However, I don't know how to get to Raspbian from RetroPie. I've seen others with multiple OS's on the same card and can switch between them. I've read about 'partitioning' and other language that is above me.

So again, my question is how do I get to Raspbian from RetroPie and vice versa?

2 Answers 2


You have 2 options:

Separate SD cards: this is always my recommendation. Repeat the process you went through to install RetroPi, instead install Raspbian on a new SD card. SD cards are both inexpensive and prone to failure. Having everything on the one SD card makes it likely that when the card goes bust, you just may lose everything from both OS's. Separate SD cards is simpler and safer.

Multiple OS's on the same SD card: my least favoured option. To make this work, you would need to:

  • create separate partitions on the SD card: Think of a partition as a "drive". Your SD card currently only has 1 partition (because you are using the entire thing), but you could use a partition utility (on your PC or Mac) like fdisk to create more than one.
  • install each OS in a different partition: I don't think NOOBS has that option, this would have to be done as an "advanced user."
  • install and use a boot manager: For the Raspberry Pi, your best bet for a boot manager is probably BerryBoot. It would detect all the OS you have in the different partitions and give you a selection menu every time you turn the Pi on for which OS to boot. You can set a default OS and a specified length of time to wait for a selection.
  • Appreciate the response tlhIngan!
    – NerDian87
    Dec 28, 2016 at 2:31
  • I was already thinking about the first option before the post but wasn't sure if it would be easier to have all OS's on one card and have it be something to help my learning and understanding of using Raspberry Pi. Your response answered my question clearly! Thanks! highfive
    – NerDian87
    Dec 28, 2016 at 2:37

RetroPie is not actually a distro, and the pre-made images are just RetroPie installed on top of Raspbian Lite. So if you are running RetroPie you are already running Raspbian. If you want the desktop, you can install it manually or via RetroPie-Setup (Configuration / Tools -> Raspbian Tools).

You don't need to worry about dual booting etc (Unless you really want two separate installs).


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