Make space on 4MB SD card to install Rasbian

This should be fairly straight forward but I am documenting to make it easier for those who face the similar problem in future.

Here are steps needed. The long description follows it. (Note: if you can get a 8GB SD that’s a better solution, to have enough space to install more software on Rasbian, but should work for 4MB PI)

If you don’t know how to repartition SD card using something like GParted on Linux:

  • Format SD card again (on your computer)
  • Copy NOOBS files
  • Remove all directories from the os directory except Raspbian
  • Put SC card back and try installing Raspbian again. It should work

I didn’t bother switching to Linux and repartition SD card but this should work:

  • Remove other os directories from SD card (on your computer)
  • Resize the partitions on SD using GParted (or other tools) to add the space you just freed up to the OS installation partition
  • Put SC card back and try installing Raspbian again. It should work (haven’t tried it. Just a hypothesis)

I got a Raspberry PI kit from Amazon and it was coming with a 4GB SD card loaded with OS. The SD card didn’t work so I followed the instruction to install NOOBS on the SD. After formatting the card and loading NOOBS I plugged the PI in and got to OS installation screen but checking Raspbian there was not enough space for installing it. Apparently 4GB is not enough to hold both Noobs installer and Raspbian itself.

I removed the other OSs on the SD card  (inside NOOBS os directory) to free up some space but I realized that was not enough. I formatted the SD again and this time removed all other OSs from os directory before plugging it into Raspberry PI and it worked.

So it seems that inserting SD for the first time NOOBS uses the remaining space on SD to create a new partition for the actual OS, so after removing OSs from NOOBS you need to repartition (or format) SD card to make space for Raspbian.

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