This how-to article will show the tools and process for installing an operating system image to an SD card for the Raspberry Pi from a Windows computer.
Following steps use two software tools to format and then transfer the image.
1. SD Formatter. This utility will format SD or micro SDs. Download from the SD Formatter website. Follow instructions to Accept the agreement which will download the formatter to your computer. Once downloaded, use Windows Explorer to go to the folder containing the SDFormatter .zip file, right click and unzip (or Extract All). Double click the extracted Setup.exe file and follow the installation directions.
2. Win32 Disk Imager. This is the utility that actually transfers the OS image from the Windows computer to the SD card. Download at Win32diskimager. The download should start automatically after a few seconds. Open the folder that contains the Win32diskimager exe file. Double click it and follow the installation directions.
3. Insert an SD card into your card writer that is connected to your computer.
4. Launch the SD Formatter. Click the Option button and change the Format Size Adjustment to ON. Leave the Volume Label blank. The volume label for the SD card will take on the name from the image. Click the Format button. Take care to select the correct Drive (don’t format the wrong drive!).
5. Download the desired OS image you wish to transfer to the SD. One source for a variety of OS’s is https://www.raspberrypi.org/downloads/. Select the image file. If given choice between a Zip file or Torrent (like Raspbian), select the Zip file. Once downloaded, unzip if the file if it is compressed (zipped).
6. Launch the Win 32 Disk Imager. Enter the path to your downloaded (and unzipped) image. From the Device dropdown, select the device with the SD card (again take care to select the correct drive). Click the Write button to begin the transfer. This will take a while to complete.
7. Once complete, open Windows Explorer, and find the SD card drive. Right click on the drive, then select Eject. Or, you can click on the Windows notification area (lower right for most installations), then Safely Remove Hardware and Eject Media icon. Click the Eject Removable Disk for the SD card drive.
Your Raspberry Pi image and is now ready to use!