- Download the SD Association's Formatting Tool from
- Install and run the Formatting Tool on your machine
- Set "FORMAT SIZE ADJUSTMENT" option to "ON" in the "Options" menu
- Check that the SD card you inserted matches the one selected by the Tool
- Click the “Format” button
Using the Win32DiskImager program
- Download the distribution from the raspberrypi.org downloads page or from a mirror or torrent. Make sure the distribution is for the Raspberry Pi, as others will not work. Usually these are zipped (compressed) files ending in .zip or .gz (something like "distribution-name.zip").
- Extract the image file from the downloaded .zip file, so you now have "distribution-name.img".
- Insert the SD card into your SD card reader and check what drive letter it was assigned. You can easily see the drive letter (for example G by looking in the left column of Windows Explorer. You can use the SD Card slot (if you have one) or a cheap Adapter in a USB slot.
- Download the Win32DiskImager utility (it is also a zip file). You can run this from a USB drive.
- Extract the executable from the zip file and run the Win32DiskImager utility; you may need to run the utility as Administrator! Right-click on the file, and select 'Run as Administrator'
- Select the image file you extracted above.
- Select the drive letter of the SD card in the device box. Be careful to select the correct drive; if you get the wrong one you can destroy your data on the computer's hard disk! If you are using an SD Card slot in your computer (if you have one) and can't see the drive in the Win32DiskImager window, try using a cheap Adapter in a USB slot.
- Click Write and wait for the write to complete.
- Exit the imager and eject the SD card.
- You are now ready to plug the card into your Raspberry Pi. See RPi_Hardware_Basic_Setup for the other things you need.