Raspberry Pi 3 – OH NO my OS is screwed! What do I do?

GREETINGS TO ALL FROM MALICE-CORP.COM.  So you had an accident or want to change to a different OS.  Reloading your OS on your Pi is a snap, but you are going to have to pull out your spare Monitor, Keyboard, and mouse again.  When you reload the OS you are going to need to re-set up the Raspberry Pi like it was brand new out of the box.  We already covered that in the first article in this series.  If you haven’t read it or need it again for reference check it out here.

Important Note: Never remove or insert a microSD card into a Raspberry Pi when the Pi has power applied.

Step 1 New parts needed:

First thing you are going to need is a microSD card reader or adapter of some kind.  Many of the kits come with an adapter to change the microSD to a Smart Media, but you will need something to allow you access the card with your PC.

Once you have the card attached to your PC you will need a piece of software to reformat the card.  (Remember this completely wipes out all data and configurations on your microSD card.) You’re in luck, the SD Association has a great option that is completely free.  Shoot on over to their website; download it here.  Then give it an install.

The last thing you are going to need is a fresh copy of NOOBS or what ever OS image you plan on using.  We are going to use NOOBS for this tutorial cause it gives us the most options for OS(s). Well lets face it; it really is the easiest to use.  You can download a fresh copy here.  Get the full version not the lite, it will take longer to download but your Pie will not need an internet connection to install.

Step 2 Format the microSD card:

Start up the SDFormatter software; select the drive letter for your microSD.  Hit the options button and select ‘Full (over write)’ for format type.  Then finally click the format button.  This will take a few minutes to complete depending on the size of your microSD card.

Step 3 NOOBS on the microSD card:

After the microSD card is formatted you need to put the NOOBS you downloaded earlier on the microSD card.  The download from Raspberry Pi.org is a zip file.  You need to extract the zip file to a folder.  Once it is extracted copy the entire contents of the folder on to the microSD card.  This is important, do not copy the folder just its contents on the microSD card.

Once the files/folders have copied over to the microSD card, safely eject the microSD card.  Remove the microSD card from the adapter and install it back into the Pi, then power it up.  Check out the previous article starting at ‘Step 2 putting in the microSD’ for a step by step of setting up the Pi.

Stay tuned for more Raspberry Pi articles and how-to(s).  Please post any questions or comments below or use the ‘Contact/Support Us’ to ask.

Jack Malice; contributor and founder.

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