I'm trying to make a system image for a backup of my rpi3 microSD, but when I try to restore it do not works. First method I've tried is dd on Linux with this well known commands:

sudo dd bs=4M if=/dev/mmcblk0 of=raspbian.img


sudo dd bs=4M if=raspbian.img of=/dev/mmcblk0

I've tested 2 different microSD card and with both I got Kernel Panic.

kernel panic-not syncing: VFS: unable to mount root fs on

With Windows I used Win32 disk imager and SDformat tool First I've made an img file and tried to restore it but I got

Waiting for SD card (settings partition)

When I open Win32 disk manager I can see 3 partitions (D:\, E:\ and F:) but I've made the image file out of the first partition D:\ and seems that the program create an image file that contains only one partition not the other 2. How can I make the image of the whole SD and not of a single partition?

Third method I've tried is using Clonezilla. With this method I have no errors, the rpi is working, because I'm able to access it via web but I can only see a flashing underscore (top left corner) on a completely black screen.

To add more confusion to my situation I've made a last try:

Downloaded NOOBS

installed a system on a microSD

copied a file on the desktop

make an image of the microSD with Win32di

restored on another microSD


I think that the problem is the microSD where actually is installed the system that I want to back up. The system is working perfectly, is It possible that ther's something wrong with that microSD and I'm not able to create a working image?

UPDATE: This the fdisk of the microSD I want to backup

Disk /dev/mmcblk0: 14,9 GiB, 15986589696 bytes, 31223808 sectors
Units: sectors of 1 * 512 = 512 bytes
Sector size (logical/physical): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
I/O size (minimum/optimal): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
Disklabel type: dos
Disk identifier: 0x000d2fee

Dispositivo    Avvio   Start     Fine  Settori  Size Id Tipo
/dev/mmcblk0p1          8192  3275390  3267199  1,6G  e W95 FAT16 (LBA)
/dev/mmcblk0p2       3275391 31223807 27948417 13,3G  5 Esteso
/dev/mmcblk0p5       3276800  3342333    65534   32M 83 Linux
/dev/mmcblk0p6       3342336  3483647   141312   69M  c W95 FAT32 (LBA)
/dev/mmcblk0p7       3489792 31223807 27734016 13,2G 83 Linux
  • 1
    It seems unlikely that /dev/mmcblk0 would actually be the location of a mounted SD (except on the Pi itself). Obviously you CANNOT image a SD Card to itself.
    – Milliways
    Jan 13, 2018 at 0:16
  • What Linux distribution are you using?
    – user96931
    Feb 13, 2020 at 3:41

2 Answers 2


to perform SD card backup:

  1. shutdown the Raspberry Pi

  2. remove the SD card

  3. insert SD card into the card reader of your linux pc (do not mount the SD card - unmount the SD card in case it got mounted automatically)

  4. run sudo dd bs=4M if=INPUT of=OUTPUT status=progress conv=fsync; sync (replace INPUT and OUTPUT according to your setup, i.e. /dev/sdX or /path/to/your/backup.img)

  5. after step 4 has finished, you can remove the SD card

You can find a very detailed guide here and here.

  • and for restoring the same or simply sudo dd bs=4M if=raspbian.img of=/dev/mmcblk0 ? Jan 13, 2018 at 0:12
  • Didn't work. I got "Waiting for SD (settings partition)" message Jan 13, 2018 at 0:21
  • Yes, pi is off and I've put the microSD in my laptop. I have a news to report: I succesfully restored an image on a new microSD using Clonezilla. The first try was not so good but this time worked 100%. I can feel satisfied now but I'm very curious to understand why I can not use dd or Win32di Jan 13, 2018 at 20:02
  • Sorry. For "new" microSD I mean another microSD. One of the 2 I've tested before. Anyway I can try Jan 14, 2018 at 11:19

In case your OS is Raspbian, I'm wondering why you just don't use the built-in copier?

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