The only computer I have right now is a Raspberry Pi 3 Model B running Raspbian. I have a second MicroSD card that I want to install RetroPie on. I'm a complete noob and all the installation guides are for windows.

How would I go about imaging the SD card on Raspbian? Would ROM transfer be any different than it is on Windows? Would any other steps be different?

  • Realistically you need a USB SD card adaptor so you can put the card you are going to install to first. – goldilocks Feb 18 '18 at 21:43
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    @goldilocks Already got one! :) – Anonym Feb 18 '18 at 21:43
  • There are instructions for linux here: github.com/RetroPie/RetroPie-Setup/wiki/… ("use dd or etcher"). Raspbian is a normative linux distro. I think Etcher is proprietary though; I see no source downloads on their site and the linux versions are x86(-64), which won't work on the pi. So you'll have to use dd, which is bulletproof and simple enough anyway. – goldilocks Feb 18 '18 at 21:48
  • @goldilocks Yeah, I tried Etcher but discovered that it didn't work on the Pi. Being new to Linux, I'm not good at all with the terminal. Is there a foolproof guide to imaging an SD card with dd? – Anonym Feb 18 '18 at 21:51

To write an image to an SD card with dd, use:

sudo dd if=the.image.file.path of=/dev/sda bs=4M status=progress

The thing most likely to get confused about and screw up here is that the device node should not include a partition number -- e.g., /dev/sda1, which refers to the first partition on the sda device. Instead you want the whole device, which is just /dev/sda. If you use sda1, the card won't work.

Pretty sure a card in a USB adapter will get labelled exactly that, unless you have other drives attached in which case it could be /dev/sdb, etc. Have a look at ls /dev with the adapter and card in. If sda isn't there, it might have ended up as mmcblk1 (but I don't think so). The trick with the partitions is that unless the card has been messed up or formatted in an unusual way, it will have at least one partition on it, meaning there will be an sda and and sda1 or a mmcblk1 and mmcblk1p1. Again, you want the first one.

Just don't use mmcblk0. That's the system card in the Pi.

The Retropie github refers you to the Pi Foundation page about creating a card with linux, which talks about dd and device nodes some more. Their invocation is a bit different than mine but either one should be fine.

  • Thank you! This has worked perfectly, even for someone who knows nothing about the terminal. – Anonym Feb 18 '18 at 22:47
  • Just a quick warning. Don't use dd if you don't know what you are doing. – user81004 Feb 20 '18 at 19:23
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    As long as you can read and are sane, it is not hard to understand what you are doing with it. When in doubt, consult the manual (man dd). – goldilocks Feb 20 '18 at 20:05

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