Image cloning

Cloning a system means that an exact copy of the entire system is made and distributed to other micro SD-cards. This will save the hassle of doing everything over. Please note that you should only clone systems that are functional, if you skipped any of the above steps; or made mistakes, those lacunas are automatically transferred to the new systems.

We won’t clone our Pi in the recommended fashion, instead we will use a USB-drive that’s over 4GB; if your SD-card is 16GB, you can use an 8GB or 16GB USB-drive. If you have the choice, pick the 8GB option; this will compress the image automatically, reducing the time spent on cloning the SD-card.Run the SD Card Copier by going to 'Start' > 'Accessories' > 'SD Card Copier'.

Please note that using a USB drive to clone the Raspbian image will erase all content on that drive and will repartition that drive.

Clone to USB

  • After rebooting, lout from the public user, and log in to the ‘pi’ account.
  • Insert the USB drive in the Raspberry Pi.
  • Go to the start icon
  • Click ‘Accessories’, then click ‘SD Card Copier’.
  • A small window pops up.
    • ‘Copy From Device’ is already filled. It should state ‘Internal SD card’.
    • Next to ‘Copy To Device’ choose your USB-drive; you will only have as many options as the number of connected USB-drives.
  • Inspect the settings, if you are sure that everything is correct, click ‘Start’.
    • This will give you a warning message, click ‘Yes’.
    • Upon completion it will give a message ‘Copy complete.’. SD Card Copier interface with the correct settings.

USB to image

  • Now you have made a clone, not an image. To make an image you’ll need to eject the USBdrive from the Raspberry Pi upon completion of the task.
    • Insert the USB-drive in your windows machine.
    • Open Win32Disk Imager, this is the same program we used to write an image to the SD-card.
    • Select the correct drive letter.Cloning in windows.
    • We need to create an image; so we can’t just select it by clicking the blue icon. Instead you need to paste the path to the folder you want to use; append ‘\custom_node.img’ at the end. This will create an exact image of the USB-drive with the name ‘custom_node.img’.
    • Now you need to click ‘Read’ this will read the entire USB-drive and write it to the custom_node.img-file.

Image to SD

Now you have a custom image that can be cloned to other SD-cards.

  • Don’t close Win32Disk Imager.
  • Eject the USB drive
  • Insert the MicroSD card in your windows machine.
  • In Win32Disk Imager you’ll need to select the drive letter that corresponds to this SDcard.
  • This time you’ll have to clock ‘Write’.
  • You will be prompted with a warning, simply click ‘Yes’. This will start the writing process
  • Do this for every node.


Next: Customizing every node