Raspberry Pi Imager from Raspberry supplied SD Card


Question #1
How can I use the Raspberry supplied SD Card with Raspberry Pi Imager which is required to install the required OS onto the working Boot SD card while running Debian Buster (latest)?

I have already downloaded and installed ‘imager_1.5_amd64.deb’ using ‘sudo dpkg -i rpi-imager’, as the method outlined on the web site (‘sudo apt install imager_1.5_amd64.deb’) didn’t work?

Question #2
Which version of the Raspberry OS would be suitable for a SMB/CIFS/NFS headless Network Storage Server?

Thanks and regards

  1. you cannot do that; the OS won’t write an image to the same card that it is currently running from. Instead, you have to use another method. You might, for example, get a second SD card, and a USB adapter. Plug the second card into the adapter, plug the adapter into the Raspberry Pi, then you can boot from the first card, and use the OS to write an image to the second card. Or you might use another computer instead. That’s what I do.

  2. the latest version of Raspberry Pi OS would be the most suitable.

Hi quozi,

Thanks for that.

I realize that I cannot install to the same SD card. I was wanting to use a second card to write the boot image onto it from the Raspberry supplied SD Card, and was wondering if the relevant files are all on the original 32GB card?

Unfortunately we are on a very stingy max download budget, so I would prefer to not have to download an entire OS from the web.

That said, I would probably be far more comfortable with an ISO install file, and would have to sacrifice some other downloads that may have been interesting - so much interesting going on in our current mad, mad ,mad world! :wink:


Oh, okay. Yes, some of the files are the same. When I was on a particularly low budget for downloads, I learned how to use a remote shell account or virtual machine to unpack and loop-mount an image and thereby use rsync to copy only the changes from my virtual machine to my home computer.

Otherwise you need to download the whole OS. It is not as bad as it looks through, because the filesystem image is trimmed to within a few percent of minimum size, and then placed within a ZIP file. My last two downloads of Raspberry Pi OS in the past year were 435 MB for the lite version, and 1.2 GB for the full version. Once I had written these images to a 32 GB or 256 GB SD card and booted, the filesystems are automatically grown to the size of the card.

Edit. Which method to use depends on the relative cost of your time versus download quota. Learning and practicing the skills to save data may cost more than going to some place with free WiFi and using resumable download techniques. Years ago I maintained an article explaining how to safely interrupt and resume downloads of images.

Thank you again.

You have again given an excellent advice, and a link to a VERY useful article - some of which I knew, but some not. You really are a treasure trove of very good information.

When it comes to large downloads I use UGet, which I find very good.

Are you aware if Raspberry are considering getting Jigdo for their OS (is it available?)?


Thanks. Yes, sorry, I’ve had lots of practice.

I’ve seen a discussion about Jigdo for Raspberry Pi OS, but I don’t think it is a good match, and they concluded it wasn’t available. In my experience, Jigdo works best with ISO9660 installer images that contain a lot of large package files, rather than the tiny files in their installed state. Jigdo is also really difficult to explain, so the investment would not be returned.

However, I don’t see why it couldn’t be attempted, using (again) a remote virtual machine on the internet side of your expensive internet link.

You could try talking to the Raspberry Pi Foundation about it. But most people resourceful enough to get a Raspberry Pi are also able to get images, even if they are preloaded SD cards by post, or through friends with bandwidth.

(I wondered if rdiff could also be useful. I just tried it for the transition from the Raspberry Pi OS Lite image from 20th August to 2nd December; the signature was 10 MB, compressed to 6.6 MB, the delta was 343 MB, compressed to 128 MB, the original file 438 MB, so the saving was 303 MB, or 69%. I ended up with exactly the same .img file on my side of the network link, at a “cost” of 138 MB.)

Thanks once again for the lesson on rdiff - I had not come across that one yet, but will investigate it further, as this looks useful.

I can see that jigdo would be a ‘trial’ as the two philosophies are very different - Raspberry to miniaturize and most others don’t really care, since we are no longer working within the constraints that old 4- and 8-bit architectures imposed. It is quite refreshing to find an organization dedicated to miniaturize both hardware and OS / software. I thought that this was a forgotten art. :slight_smile:

Thanks once again and keep well