Restore Your MicroSD Card

Restore Your MicroSD Card – Learn how to restore your system to the way it was when you first got it

Something went wrong. No big deal, we all make mistakes. Part of the fun of owning a Raspberry Pi is experimenting with it to see what you can learn. Hopefully you made a backup of your system before it stopped working. If so, you can follow these steps to flash the image back on to your microSD card. If you don’t have a backup of your card contact us.

ATTENTION: Following these steps will completely erase EVERYTHING on your microSD card. All your roms, save states, and configurations will be lost. Make sure you have backed up any files you do not want to lose because this process is not reversable.

In order to restore your card you’re going to need the following items:

  • A microSD card
  • A usb card reader
  • Your computer
  • Some free software (links provided in next section)
  • A little bit of patience

It’s not an overly complicated process but there are a lot of steps you need to follow and you need to make sure you follow them EXACTLY. If you screw up, you’re probably going to need to start all over so go slow and PAY ATTENTION.

You will need to download this free software called Win32 Disk Imager. It’s the software we’ll use to write the image file to your microSD card. If you already have this program (or another like it) great! Otherwise please download the software from the link below.

Win32 Disk Imager Download

Once you have the file downloaded, simply install it wherever you normally install your programs and, for convenience, create a desktop shortcut to it. We’re going to need it in a few minutes but first we need to prepare the microSD card for the image.


  • Plug your microSD card into your usb card reader
  • Open the Run Dialog (by pressing the Windows Key + R) and type: diskpart
  • Depending on your Windows security settings you may have to authorize it to run
  • Once it’s loaded (it may take a little bit) type: list disk (and hit enter)
  • You need to find your microUSB card in the list and check what disk number it is (you’ll need it for the next step). It is typically the last one but this could vary if you have other portable storage devices plugged in. Check the SIZE column for the one that closest matches the size of your microSD card. NOTE: the actual size of the card will be a bit less than the advertised capacity. This is just the way storage devices work. So if your card is 32GB, it will probably show up as 29GB
  • Now that you know your disk number, type: select disk 3 (where 3 is whatever your disk number was and then hit enter)
  • It will tell you your disk is now the selected disk, type: clean (hit enter)
  • It will tell you it succeeded in cleaning the disk. If it gives you an ACCESS DENIED error simply try again.
  • Now you need to type: create partition primary (hit enter)
  • You should see: DiskPart succeeded in creating the specified partition.
  • Type: exit (hit enter)

Your microSD card is now ready to be formatted. You will do this directly from Windows and it will only take a few seconds. Open Windows Explorer (windows key + e) and locate your microSD card the follow the next steps.


  • Right click on your microSD card and select: FORMAT
  • In the window that pops up make sure that FAT32 is the selected File System (not simply FAT)
  • Make sure that QUICK FORMAT is checked. You can uncheck it if you want but it will take a lot longer to format and it’s not really needed in this case.
  • Click: START and authorize it to format.

If you bought one of our 64GB or 128GB systems/cards, you’ll need to download the free software from the link below and save it to your desktop. You can save it wherever you want so long as you remember where you put it. You don’t need to install it, it’s a stand-alone .EXE file.


  • Launch the program you just downloaded (it may ask for permission, allow it)
  • Select your microSD card from the DRIVE drop-down menu
  • Leave ALLOCATION UNIT SIZE alone unless you know what you’re doing
  • Leave VOLUME LABEL blank as it will be set when you flash the new image
  • Leave QUICK FORMAT checked unless you feel like waiting a lot longer for it to format
  • Click: START and authorize it to format.

Regardless of which method of formatting you did, it will only take a few seconds and then it will pop-up telling you the format is complete. (unless you unchecked QUICK FORMAT for some reason) Your microSD card is now ready to be flashed back to the factory default setting (or your own backup image).

Now you need to open up the program you downloaded at the beginning of this guide, WIN32 DISK IMAGER. Depending on your Windows security setting you may need to authorize the program to run. Once it’s open, follow these steps…

  • Click on the little folder icon to load your .img file. This will either be an image file you created to backup your system or it will be an image file that you were directed to download when we sent you the link to this guide, either way make sure it’s a .img file (if it’s a .zip file, unzip it)
  • Make sure your microSD card is selected in the drop-down
  • Click the WRITE button

This part can take a while, depending on the speed of your USB port and the size of your backup file, just be patient. Once it finishes it will tell you COMPLETE. Eject the card from your computer either from the menu down by the clock or through Windows Explorer by right-clicking the drive and ejecting it. You should ALWAYS properly eject the drive. Failure to do so can result in corruption of the disk and it won’t run. It’s not guaranteed to happen but it can.

Put your microSD card back in to your Raspberry Pi and power it up. It will load in to RetroPie and you should be back to normal.

And that’s it! No, seriously, you’re done, go PLAY!

PLEASE NOTE: This guide is presented for informational purposes only. Twin Design Studios is not responsible for any negative outcomes from following the guide or using the downloaded software.