How to Burn SD Cards with Etcher?

Seriously, I would prefer USB drives to burn OS images because of the high transfer speed they offer. So, what brings you here?

  • You want to install an operating system on your Raspberry Pi board that only supports an SD card.
  • You do not have an USB drive and want to install OS on a computer. An SD card is what you have and that’s where you need help.

Good for you, Etcher is the tool that will get the work done for you. Most of the image writing softwares don’t support SD cards but that is not the case with Etcher. The cross-platform utility can write image files to both USB drives and SD cards. From installation to the burning/flashing process, everything is simple. You will know that once you download and see the user-friendly interface of Etcher.

Let’s dive right into the steps!

If you have downloaded Etcher on your system, move to the steps given after the installation part below.

Download and Installation

For Windows

  1. Download Etcher for Windows.
  2. Double click the downloaded file and click on “Agree”.
  3. The installation will finish and Etcher software will load.

For Linux

  1. Download Etcher for Linux.
  2. Run Terminal (Ctrl + Alt + T) and enter the commands given below. (Replace the name of the Etcher in the commands with the file name you downloaded)
    cd Downloads
    chmod a+x Etcher-linux-x64.AppImage
  3. Your software will run.

For MacOS

  1. Download Etcher for MacOS.
  2. Drag the downloaded file from Downloads folder to Applications folder.
  3. After some installation, Etcher will run.

How to Burn OS Images to SD Cards using Etcher?

  1. Download the OS image file from the official website that you want to burn to the SD card.
  2. Click on “Flash from file”.
  3. Go to the location/folder where you downloaded the OS image file and select the ISO.
  4. Click on “Select target” and here choose the SD card from the list of connected drives.
  5. Click on Flash and wait for Etcher to validate the OS files. You will see the progress and the estimated time remaining for the flash process.
  6. Once the process is completed successfully, “Flash Complete” message will appear. You can now eject your SD card and can boot it to any computer or Raspberry Pi board.

So, that’s how short and simple it is to use Etcher for burning OS image files to SD cards. The success rate of Etcher is high and if you do all right, you won’t be facing any trouble. However, if you run into some annoying error messages, check out the FAQ section below.


  1. Can I use any SD card to burn OS image files using Etcher?
    Yes, you can use any SD card that has sufficient space to copy the OS files. But it is recommended to use a high speed SD card so that the flash process doesn’t consume much time.
  2. Can I use Etcher to create a live SD Card?
    Yes, you can do it. Download the live image file of the operating system you want to burn and follow the same steps mentioned above.
  3. Can I write any Linux distribution or OS image file to my SD card using Etcher?
    Yes, Etcher supports all OS image files and you can simply choose the ISO file that you want to burn. If you run into errors, try using any alternative like Rufus.
  4. Why am I getting a very slow transfer speed while flashing an SD card using Etcher?
    It is because SD cards are slow and are not meant for high speed jobs. SD cards are mostly used in mobile phones and cameras. Burning an OS image is too much of a task and the transfer speed will be slow.
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