Practise what you preach

Some months back, I posted a guide to backing up a Raspberry Pi SD card using a Mac. I tested it at the time and it worked. It’ll be good to share this, I thought. So I did.

And a good job too, because this past weekend I needed to cook to my own recipe. A long overdue Pi sudo apt-get upgrade followed by tweaking raspi-config zapped my system software.

Pibow Raspberry Pi case

SD woes

Rebooting the Pi produced nothing but a single flash of the green Activity LED and the reassuring glow of the red Power LED – the hardware probably wasn’t up the spout. Googling confirmed my fear: the software was fritzed.

So I called up my blog entry, just as a reader might, and followed the walkthrough. It took a while for the compressed 16GB image to copy, but I got a working OS. This, second attempt at updating went smoothly.

Hopefully, you won’t need the recovery guide, but if you do, I can confirm it’ll get you out of hot water. Just make sure you have back-up before that happens.

Back-up a Raspberry Pi SD card using a Mac

I’ve re-installed my Pi’s SD card storage more times than I care to recall. New cards, programming glitches, messing with Linux’s settings files – all of these reasons have forced me to go through the process of re-flashing the Pi’s storage card. That’s bad enough – what’s worse is having to re-download the applications I’d added since the previous install, applying updates and choosing again all of my system preferences.

What I should have done was clone my card, allowing me to re-flash the SD card with a complete, working and configured to my personal satisfaction Pi operating system.

I don’t know why I didn’t do this. I suppose Mac OS X’s inability to cope with the Pi’s EXT4 file-system was the main reason: I can’t simply drag and drop the card’s contents, first to the Mac and then, later, back to a freshly formatted card. But a little Googling set me on track to use the next best thing: the dd command, available in OS X – and Linux for that matter.
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