How to write a disk image using Win32 Disk Imager

You are sometimes given a disk image that needs to be written to a USB thumbdrive or a SD card. This is typically used to create something that you can use to boot a device. The image file typically has the .img file extension, though its not necessary and does not matter.

  1. One way to write a disk image on Windows is using Win32 Disk Imager. Download it and unzip the contents.
  2. Plug in the USB thumbdrive or SD or microSD card to your computer. It should be detected and appear as a drive in Windows.
  3. Open Win32 Disk Imager, choose the .img or image file you want to write as Image File and choose the USB or SD drive as Device and press Write.
  4. The write may take a while. Once it is done, remove the USB thumbdrive or SD card and insert it into the device you want to use with.

Also see: How to write a disk image on Linux

Tried with: Win32 Disk Imager 0.8 and Windows 8 x64

7 thoughts on “How to write a disk image using Win32 Disk Imager”

    1. i installed the img file from cm-10.1.3 with win32diskimager, all was well but when i removed the sd card and reinserted it into my computer it gave me the message “you need to format before you can use it” and it will not read it.


      1. Jesse: Something might have gone wrong. Try it again. Download the image file again. Check its MD5 hash if possible to make sure the download was done correctly. After writing using imager, make sure to unmount the card correctly. Sometimes the writes are buffered and not written to the SD card immediately.


    1. Zachary: Depending on what image you wrote to it, it might seem like the space has shrunk. After you are done, you can reformat the entire SD card back to a usable filesystem partition like FAT32 or ext3 using a partitioning tool like GParted on Linux.


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