So you’ve got one of our cards, or you have another card with a setup you’ve been working for a while and you want to backup your work and preserve it. You should do that now! Here’s how to do it:
1. Install Win32Disk Imager
There are other microSD card image flashing tools around, but we’ve found Win32Disk Imager to be extremely reliable, and it’s the one we use daily, so it’s the one we recommend. You can download it here.
Install it after you finish downloading. You might need Administration privileges on Windows 10 to install it. You can safely allow it to install and work.
2. Preparing the Backup
Insert the microSD card in your computer’s microSD slot. If you don’t have one, try an SD slot with the SD card adapter that comes with your microSD card. If you still don’t see a place to use these, you might need to purchase an adapter from Amazon.
ATTENTION: If the card inserted has Retropie installed, you’ll get a number of messages in Windows 10, like the card needs formatting and maybe a couple of other error messages. This is normal! Don’t worry! Just close the windows that pop-up and move on.
Please make note which “drive” is the drive where the microSD is. Because the microSD card with Retropie has 2 partitions, one of them will have some files (the main, boot partition), and the other will be unreadable. We don’t recommend you to mess up with any of these partitions, you need to back it up first!
3. Open Win32DiskImager
It will look like this:
With the microSD card inserted, and Win32DiskImager ready to go, click on the “Device” drop-down menu to select the device where the microSD card that needs to be backed up is inserted.
After you find it, you need to give a location and a name to your backup image that is going to be created. To do so, click on the blue folder, and select a location and a name for your backup image, let’s say D:/Retropie/backup.img
Make sure the filename ends with .img
ATTENTION: This should be a non-existent file! You are creating a new one with Win32DiskImager! Don’t select another image on your drive, because it will damage or overwrite it! Also, make sure your computer’s hard drive has enough space for the image file that is going to be created.
4. Backing Up The Card
Make sure everything is fine, and then click on the READ button to start creating the image in your hard drive.
PLEASE NOTE: The backup process may take a while. It depends on the size of the card, and if you are using the computer while trying to backup a microSD card for gaming, navigating online, downloading stuff or watching a movie! We recommend you to leave your computer alone while it creates the backup file!
32GB cards might take 30 to 45 minutes, 128GB cards 1 to 2 hours and so forth. 400GB cards take about 5 hours to backup, so be aware before you start. Interrupting the process in the middle might corrupt both the card and the card image that is being created on your computer, so be careful.
The program will pop an OK screen after you are done! Congratulations, your card is fully backed up and you should have an .IMG file on your hard drive that you can use to restore your precious Raspberry Pi image whenever you want!