Raspberry PI tricks: migrating to larger SD card with Windows


When it comes to Raspberry PI, getting best performances requires a fast MicroSD Card, as it changes board performances like an SDD Disk compared to HDD disk for a common personal computer. Once get your new SD card, you probably want to keep all your data. Migrating SD card with right tools can make easy this process

Usually people starts with Rapsberry PI with one of standard kits available in internet and using the first SD card available at home. As already explained in my previous post, the simplest way to improve Raspberry Pi performance is using a faster SD card. Sometimes this matches also the needs to have more disk space (with a larger SD card) and migrating all contents (operating system and data) from our old card to the new one.

SANDISK Ultra 16GB MicroSD

In this guide I’ll assume that you have installed Raspberry PI OS. Otherwise the last step (expansion) should be done with the procedure related to your OS. Note that some users reported that OS installed via NOOBS makes impossible final file system expansion.

That said, Win32DiskImager (here the link to download) is the right tool to simplify this operation and help us in our goal.

Below the simple steps to follow from begin to the end.

What We Need

As usual, I suggest adding from now to your favourite e-commerce shopping cart all the needed hardware, so that at the end you will be able to evaluate overall costs and decide if continue with the project or remove them from the shopping cart. So, hardware will be only:

Check hardware prices with following links:

Amazon raspberry pi boards box
Amazon Micro SD box
Amazon Raspberry PI Power Supply box

Step-by-Step Procedure

Step 1: install Win32DiskImager

This should be simple for you. Just download the installer from previous link and setup following the common installation wizard.

Step 2: create your raspberry image

With Win32DiskImager this is a very simple operation.

Insert your SD card in a card reader and plug it to your PC. In my case (that should be similar to your one) it shows SD Card in Computer Explorer with 2 partitions. One is labeled as “Boot” and associated to F drive letter, the second one is “SDHC” and associated to H drive letter:

Consider that both partitions resides inside your SD Card. With Win32DiskImager it’s enough selecting the boot one to copy the entire SD Card.

Start Win32DiskImager. Be aware: sometimes it is required to Run as Administrator to skip permission issues. Select under “Device” the drive letter corresponding to Boot partition (“F:\” in my case). Write the name you want to assign to your image (and the folder path with “.img” extension) so that the Read button becomes active:

Press the Read button and wait for image creating to be completed successfully.

Step 3: flash the new SD card

Remove your old SD card and insert the new SD card in your card reader. Plug it in your PC and go back to Win32DiskImager. Select the Drive letter corresponding to your SD (again F:\ in my case) and the same “.img” file just created:

This time, press the Write button to flash your new SD and wait to complete successfully.

Step 4: boot Raspberry PI and expand the partition

Insert the new SD card to your Raspberry and wait to boot completely and login. You should now see your old OS and your old data. You should aldo see that your drive has still the old dimension by typing:

df -H

If your new card is also larger that the old one, you should also expand the filesystem. You can easily accomplish this by using raspi-config. So, launch the command:

sudo raspi-config

Select “7 Advanced Options”:

Select A1 Expand Filesystem:

Press OK in the following confirmation:

Now you are back to raspi-config home page. Click Finish

You must now reboot in order to complete filsystem resize. Raspi-config asks if you want to reboot now:

Click YES and wait the reboot to be completed. At the end login again and verify the new partition space with the command:

df -H


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