How to install Raspbian on PiDrive using Windows PC, step-by-step

Instructions below can be downloaded from Dropbox link:

Loading Raspbian on Pi-Drive using WD PiDrive kit and a Windows PC

After setting up per below, upon power-up the R-Pi will boot from the SDcard then run Raspbian OS from the PiDrive.

Game plan: copy Raspbian image to both SDcard and PiDrive; edit cmdline.txt on SDcard so power-on/boot process transitions from SDcard to PiDrive; set up the filesystem on PiDrive.

Prepare the WDLABS SDcard

  1. On Windows PC, download and install Win32DiskImager:
  2. Download, save and extract the Raspbian image to the PC. Download from (2015-05-05-raspbian-wheezy.img at the time of this writing).
  3. Insert the WDLABS SDcard into the PC. Write the Raspbian image to the SDcard using Win32DiskImager. Eject the SDcard using Windows safe removal.
  4. Insert the WDLABS SDcard into the Raspberry Pi (without PiDrive attached), attach peripherals and power on. When raspi-config window comes up, expand the filesystem, then save/exit/reboot.
  5. Upon reboot, login (user:pi, password: raspberry)
  6. Type: cd /boot
  7. In the next steps you’ll edit the file cmdline.txt. If you need instructions on using the vi editor tool, see:
  8. Type: sudo vi cmdline.txt
  9. Change root=/dev/mmcblk0p2 to root=/dev/sda2 using vi editor commands
  10. Add rootdelay=5 to the end of the file
  11. Save and exit the vi editor
  12. Power off your R-Pi 

Prepare the PiDrive

  1. Connect the PiDrive to Windows PC
  2. Run the Windows “Disk Management” tool (start menu, search “Disk Management”)
  3. A pop-up will state that a new drive was found. Set to “MBR” and proceed.
  4. In the lower pane corresponding to your new PiDrive (take care not to select the wrong drive!), right-click in the “unallocated space” pane. Select “New Simple Volume” and continue through prompts with defaults. Note the drive letter assigned (for example, “F:”). When asked to “Format Partition”, select “Do not format this volume”, and proceed. If asked to format the new disk, ignore and cancel the prompt.
  5. Launch Win32DiskImager. Write the Raspbian image from #1b above to the PiDrive (confirm same drive letter as in #2d above before writing). Eject the PiDrive using Windows safe removal.

Set-up R-Pi, PiDrive and WDLABS SDcard

  1. Attach PiDrive to R-PI (with WDLABS SDcard inserted) using WD PiDrive Cable. Attach other peripherals. Apply power using 5V AC adapter provided with PiDrive kit.
  2. When raspi-config window comes up, change region and keyboard settings. You may change password. Do not expand file system. Exit (system may reboot).
  3. If you’re using a WiFI dongle, when command prompt comes up, enter the LXDE windows environment by typing startx .  When LXDE has finished loading, click the network icon in the top right corner and connect to your WiFi router.  Exit (logout) the LXDE environment.  You should be at the command line prompt.
  4. Set up the filesystem on PiDrive: Follow the instructions provided at the following link, starting part-way down the page where it states “Run fdisk”

Now your system setup should be complete. Both WDLABS SDcard and PiDrive must be used together. When powered-up, the R-Pi will boot from the WDLABS SDcard, then point to the root file system on the PiDrive where Raspbian will be loaded from.  Now going foward, applications installed on your system will be installed on PiDrive, not the SDcard.

Let me know if you run into any issues or have any suggestions.  I’m a Linux noob, so please set your expectations accordingly! :slight_smile:

Good Luck!

1 Like

Got all the way to the end and can’t run fdisk.

Ended up with a kernel panic warning. Where do I go from here?

Hi, sorry for the trouble. As stated at the end of the instructions, I’m a Linux noob, so I have very limited knowledge to debug. What happens when you enter sudo fdisk? Can you forward a photo of your HW set-up?

Thanks. Can’t enter anything with the drive in the setup. If I put another copy of the Raspian image on the Pi, without the drive attached, I have access to the computer. I don’t believe a picture would help as all was working until I entered the numbers on the fdisk command, but I could do it if you think it would help. Is there someway to start over again?


Follow-up: Got it accomplished! Went back and reformatted the drive, and CAREFULLY followed your steps in Section III. Of course, used a new chip and image of the operating system. The procedure is all right there - just have to take time with the steps. Thanks,


That’s great news! Best thing I heard all day :smiley:

Thanks for the instructions. I’ve had my pidrive for a while and finally set it up today. Glad there is this community because I even ran into the issue of only seeing 500gb instead of the 1TB for the drive. Applied the patch and was good to go. I did everything via SSH and then installed TightVNCServer so that I could access the desktop from another computer.

One small quibble with the instructions is I would suggest using nano instead of vi for when you have to edit the txt file. vi seems ok but I was having issues if I used my arrow keys, meanwhile nano seems pretty easy to use (even to a novice like myself).



I just received my Raspberry Pi 3, and am about to attempt to make it work with my PiDrive in place of the Raspberry Pi 2 I have been using.

I am probably a pioneer here, so I will post what I find, but on the off chance that somebody else has done this; Do you have any advice?



OK, if you install the latest Berryboot, but retain the cmdline.txt it does boot, but you get a “Failed to start load kernel modules” and later “Failed to mount Arbitrary Executable File Formats File System.”

However I seem to be able to use OpenElec and Raspbian with a wired ethernet. Seems to not see the new bluetooth or wifi devices.

And isn’t the Pi 3 supposed to be able to boatload without a microSD card? I cannot find details on that, but when I tried it nothing interesting happened.

Hi, please try the new zipfile at the Dropbox link below. This has support for Pi3. It’s a special version WDLabs created with the author of Berryboot that has an additional menu tab for OS/app download. This tab, called “Featured”, currently has MotionEye, ownCloud, Screenly and PressPi. More will be added in the future. This will go live on Monday (3-14) as part of our Pi-Day promo.

Try it out and let us know if any issues!

Forgot to add- the RPi3 boot-from-USB hasn’t been released by RPi org yet. No firm date. For now, just use the same procedure to install Berryboot as before:
Use a freshly formatted SDcard (full overwrite; format size adjustment on)
Unzip the Berryboot zipfile directly to the root directory of the SDcard
Insert SD card into RPi; attach USB HDD to RPi; power on.
A tip: if you install Berryboot via wired Ethernet and later want to switch to WiFi (on-board for Pi3 or dongle for earlier Pi’s), there’s no way to go back to that point in the setup- you’ll need to start over with a fresh install. The author stated it would be a difficult rewire to change this. So if you plan to use WiFi, set it up that way the first time. After this, you can use wired Ethernet too.

THANKS! I appreciate the quick answer. Will try that this evening.

Yes, that works quite well. Thank you!

I’m trying to load Win 10 Iot on my PiDrive; I’ve already loaded Raspian on the drive without a problem. I’ve downloaded Win 10 to a USB thumb drive, but I’m not sure how to install it on the PiDrive, for a multiple boot option.

Any help would be appreciated.

Hi, for multiple OS loading, we offer Berryboot. But Berryboot doesn’t currently have a Win10 image.

I looked on-line for dual-boot RPi, and there are several articles/instructions, but I haven’t tried them.

I’ll ask our berryboot dev partner if it’s possible to add a Win10 image. If he can do it, I’ll let you know when. Meanwhile, we should advise the customer to review on-line posts on multiple/dual OS boot on raspberry pi.


Thank you for your reply and for requesting that Windows 10 be added to


Dear, how are you?

I have tried to make the process and all good. Works…

I doubt the partition in the last process.

The operating LED is constantly working and I think it should not be so.

I read that the EXT4 format, always works hard disk indexing.

Please tell me if applicable or can be arranged?

Thank you