Backing up your SD Card

So you’ve got your Raspberry Pi running just the way you want it – and you’ve got all your emulators running, games downloaded and artwork sorted out. Best thing to do now is backup your SD card so if anything bad should happen you can simply restore an image.

SD cards aren’t infallible.  I personally have them fail on a pretty regular basis (sadly). Backing up your SD card just makes sense so you don’t have to start from square one again.

You may also want to upgrade your SD card to a larger one as you’re running out of room for your games. You can’t just simply copy the information over (well – yes you can but it isn’t that simple) so backing it up to an image then restoring to a larger card will be the easiest option.

Here we’ll run through creating an image of your existing SD Card.

Firstly grab yourself a copy of Win32 Disk Imager (sorry this is for Windows users only) from Sourceforge at

Once you have downloaded that file install it. Make sure you have the SD Card from your Raspberry Pi attached to your PC.

Open the program by double clicking the icon it created on your desktop. It should look like this:


By default Win32 Disk Imager should pickup your SD Card attached to a USB port, but click on the Device drop down and select the correct drive letter just to be sure.

Next we need to tell Win32 Disk Imager where we want to put the backup of the SD Card that it creates. Click on the blue folder icon on the end of the Image File text box and this will bring up an explorer window.

Browse to a location where you want to save the image file. Please note that the image file created will be the same size as the SD Card. Doesn’t matter whether the SD card is 10% full, 50% full or 95% full. A 32GB SD Card will create a 32GB image file. Once you have found the location you want to store the backup give the file a descriptive name so you know exactly waht it is. I normally give it a name which includes what OS it is, size and date created. Here I am creating a backup of my RetroPie image on my D: drive under a folder named Raspberry Pi and have called it  Retropie_64GB_March_30_2016.img. Give your any name you want, and be sure to put the .img at the end of the file name and click Open.


This will bring you back to the Win32 Disk Imager main window with your filename inserted into the Image File location.


To start the backup, click the Read button. This will start the image writing and you will notice the Progress bar slowly incrementing.

Depending on the size of the SD Card you are backing up the image writing can take anywhere from a few minutes up to half an hour for a very large SD card. Walk away, grab a coffee, check your stock portfolio and relax – it’ll complete soon enough.

Once completed you’ll be presented with a small Complete window stating the Read was successful – click the OK button to be returned to the main Win32 Disk Imager window.


You can now quit the program by clicking the Exit button.

If you now browse to the location you created the image file you should see the file, and the filesize should be in relation to the size of the SD Card you backed up.