aaronclawrence
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Why doesn't NOOBS handle the SD card formatting?

Wed Jan 31, 2018 10:43 pm

Hi, first time user.
I was told NOOBS was the easiest way to go. But the the very first thing the guide asks you to do is download some other software (the SD formatter) and then follow some detailed instructions to get the format right (since most SD cards these days are 64GB or more, they all need the non-default formats).

Wouldn't it be a lot nicer if NOOBS did the formatting for you, with the appropriate options?

Cheers
Aaron

fruitoftheloom
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Re: Why doesn't NOOBS handle the SD card formatting?

Wed Jan 31, 2018 11:17 pm

aaronclawrence wrote:
Wed Jan 31, 2018 10:43 pm
Hi, first time user.
I was told NOOBS was the easiest way to go. But the the very first thing the guide asks you to do is download some other software (the SD formatter) and then follow some detailed instructions to get the format right (since most SD cards these days are 64GB or more, they all need the non-default formats).

Wouldn't it be a lot nicer if NOOBS did the formatting for you, with the appropriate options?

Cheers
Aaron

Easy answer is not to use NoobS whatsoever.

Etcher will both unzip the Raspbian download and create a bootable SD Card:

https://www.raspberrypi.org/documentati ... /README.md
The information is out there....you just have to let it in.

My other Linux machines: ChromeBox
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n67
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Re: Why doesn't NOOBS handle the SD card formatting?

Wed Jan 31, 2018 11:39 pm

And yet, no matter how many times people post this nonsense about using Etcher and stuff, NOOBS remains the primary, Foundation-recommended method of installing an OS (or OSes) on the Pi.

Funny, that.
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Re: Why doesn't NOOBS handle the SD card formatting?

Wed Jan 31, 2018 11:52 pm

Your average camera will reformat an SD card without problems. Indeed, sometimes using a camera will make an otherwise unusable card work again. Also, a new card is already formatted, so NOOBS can be loaded right away.

In the final analysis, NOOBS is primarily aimed at new users that are likely to have trouble or be excessively nervous about doing an image copy. It's "easier" in the sense that your average Windows users can drag and drop where they might wipe their system disk if asked to write an image file. I'm not sure there is an effective answer to this as it's actually a form of (human) bootstrap process. The new user needs to do uncomfortable things and may back away from using Pis because the unfamiliarity/discomfort. And pre-loaded SD cards aren't a real solution, either, as they go out of date quickly leaving the vendor with the choice of finding a way to update them, or selling known-to-be-out-of-date cards.

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Re: Why doesn't NOOBS handle the SD card formatting?

Thu Feb 01, 2018 12:02 am

the logical answer to "why doesn't NOOBS format the SD-card" is that NOOBS runs from the SD-Card.
formatting the medium that you are running off, is like sawing off the tree branch you are sitting on. :mrgreen:

besides NOOBS DOES format the sd-card, in a sense, because when it runs it creates (linux) partitions to which it installs the software, but to boot the SD-Card MUST have a primary partition formatted in FAT32, and for NOOBS to work, that partition must embrace the whole size of the boot files needed, with no other partitions present.

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procount
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Re: Why doesn't NOOBS handle the SD card formatting?

Thu Feb 01, 2018 12:17 am

Just to muddy the waters even more, but hopefully not confuse people....

Since Etcher now provides a convenient way to image SD cards, I now provide an Image of PINN that you can flash straight to an SD card with Etcher, without requiring the use of SDformatter. I haven't tried it with 64GB cards though, so I' not sure how it will handle those.
PINN - NOOBS with the extras... https://www.raspberrypi.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=63&t=142574

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Re: Why doesn't NOOBS handle the SD card formatting?

Thu Feb 01, 2018 1:55 am

n67 wrote:
Wed Jan 31, 2018 11:39 pm
And yet, no matter how many times people post this nonsense about using Etcher and stuff, NOOBS remains the primary, Foundation-recommended method of installing an OS (or OSes) on the Pi.

Funny, that.
NOOBs is still recommended by RPF for new users, however after NOOBs was introduced, things have gotten a little more complicated if you have a 64GB + card.
At the same time standalone method with Etcher has gotten easier because unzipping is no longer required.
IMO there is no point to using NOOBs' unless the user wants to install more than one OS.

I prefer the OpenELEC installer which can download, decompress, and install to the SD card in one click without the need to format.
Unless specified otherwise my response is based on the latest and fully updated RPiOS Buster w/ Desktop OS.

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Re: Why doesn't NOOBS handle the SD card formatting?

Thu Feb 01, 2018 10:36 am

aaronclawrence wrote:
Wed Jan 31, 2018 10:43 pm
Wouldn't it be a lot nicer if NOOBS did the formatting for you, with the appropriate options?
To do that, it would have to interact with whatever machine you're using to install NOOBs
So there'd have to be a version for a Mac, and another for Windows 10, and one for Linux running on a PC, and perhaps one that'll run on your Android phone.

It could get rather complicated.

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B.Goode
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Re: Why doesn't NOOBS handle the SD card formatting?

Thu Feb 01, 2018 11:20 am

Wouldn't it be a lot nicer if NOOBS did the formatting for you, with the appropriate options?
Chickens and Eggs here, which you will appreciate when you have installed Operating Systems on your RPi a few times.

But for a new user, it's a reasonable question.

The conundrum is this. The NOOBS Installer does do the formatting that is required to get the microSD card into the right configuration to install an Operating System such as Raspbian. But to do this the NOOBS Installer must first be written to the microSD card in such a way that it creates a system that is bootable in an RPi.

An RPi fresh from the factory can only boot from a FAT32 (Windows-compatible) partition on the microSD card. So the files that make up the NOOBS Installer must be written to a microSD card that contains such a default partition. NOOBS itself is not running at the time the files are originally written to the microSD card: this will probably be done on some other system that cannot itself run the Installer. So NOOBS cannot control the formatting of the card to which it is being written.

So to accomplish what you suggest would require the creation of a series of platform-specific (Windows, Mac, linux-x86, linux-arm) utilities that would be called something like TNII - The NOOBS Installer Installer.

But if you have a 'factory fresh' microSD card the requirement to use a pre-formatting utility is probably redundant: I have used dozens of microSD cards, and in my experience all cards of up to and including 32GBytes capacity come pre-formatted with a suitable default partition.

Unless you specifically need one of the unique features of NOOBS, such as multiple Operating Systems on the same card, or being able to re-install an OS without re-writing the microSD card, it is probably easier to install a single os image with a tool such as Etcher, since the os image itself contains the information needed to correctly format the partitions on the microSD card.

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Re: Why doesn't NOOBS handle the SD card formatting?

Thu Feb 01, 2018 11:22 am

NOOBS does have an advantage of being able to restore a messed up install back to factory setting on the pi itself

Also lets the end user choose OS to install, again on the pi itself.
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HawaiianPi
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Re: Why doesn't NOOBS handle the SD card formatting?

Thu Feb 01, 2018 2:03 pm

aaronclawrence wrote:
Wed Jan 31, 2018 10:43 pm
Hi, first time user.
I was told NOOBS was the easiest way to go.
You were told wrong.
fruitoftheloom wrote:
Wed Jan 31, 2018 11:17 pm
Easy answer is not to use NoobS whatsoever.

Etcher will both unzip the Raspbian download and create a bootable SD Card:

https://www.raspberrypi.org/documentati ... /README.md
This ^ is good advice, and the easiest way to get an OS on your Pi's SD card. Just 4 simple steps.
  1. Grab the latest Raspbian image from https://www.raspberrypi.org/downloads/raspbian/
  2. Grab the Etcher software from https://etcher.io/
  3. Install Etcher and use it to write the Raspbian image to your SD card. You don't need to extract the image or format the card prior to writing. Just choose the Raspbian .zip, pick your SD card and write (if you have trouble, verify the SHA256 checksum of the download).
  4. Safely eject the card from your PC and use it to boot the Pi.
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DougieLawson
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Re: Why doesn't NOOBS handle the SD card formatting?

Thu Feb 01, 2018 2:08 pm

mikerr wrote:
Thu Feb 01, 2018 11:22 am
NOOBS does have an advantage of being able to restore a messed up install back to factory setting on the pi itself
... by allowing a user to destroy everything they've ever done on their RPi with that SDCard. That's an advantage? :roll:
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Re: Why doesn't NOOBS handle the SD card formatting?

Thu Feb 01, 2018 2:31 pm

DougieLawson wrote:
Thu Feb 01, 2018 2:08 pm
mikerr wrote:
Thu Feb 01, 2018 11:22 am
NOOBS does have an advantage of being able to restore a messed up install back to factory setting on the pi itself
... by allowing a user to destroy everything they've ever done on their RPi with that SDCard. That's an advantage? :roll:
Wait, for me being able to REINSTALL system without need to use second computer is advantage! I always backup data anyway, before trying anything dangerous (and from time to time). And you can't select "Erase all data on SD card" by accident, right?
And if system is unbootable already - it's doesn't matter anymore if you had option to reinstall in first place.

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Re: Why doesn't NOOBS handle the SD card formatting?

Thu Feb 01, 2018 2:39 pm

jerryrp wrote:
Thu Feb 01, 2018 2:31 pm
DougieLawson wrote:
Thu Feb 01, 2018 2:08 pm
mikerr wrote:
Thu Feb 01, 2018 11:22 am
NOOBS does have an advantage of being able to restore a messed up install back to factory setting on the pi itself
... by allowing a user to destroy everything they've ever done on their RPi with that SDCard. That's an advantage? :roll:
Wait, for me being able to REINSTALL system without need to use second computer is advantage! I always backup data anyway, before trying anything dangerous (and from time to time). And you can't select "Erase all data on SD card" by accident, right?
And if system is unbootable already - it's doesn't matter anymore if you had option to reinstall in first place.

Raspbian includes PiClone SD Card Copier, therefore by having a USB Card Reader and a spare SD Card a complete running OS is just a card swap away. IMO Etcher and the .zip download is far far better then NoobS !!
The information is out there....you just have to let it in.

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Re: Why doesn't NOOBS handle the SD card formatting?

Thu Feb 01, 2018 2:40 pm

We no longer do any dev work on NOOBS. Whether it end up deprecated, I don't know.

Etcher, in my opinion, is the best way to go, and the documenation I deal with (https://www.raspberrypi.org/documentation) recommends it. I don't cover anything out of the documention realm, there lie dragons.

If you can point me at links in my realm that push towards NOOBS, let me know and I will see if they can be 'adjusted'.
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n67
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Re: Why doesn't NOOBS handle the SD card formatting?

Thu Feb 01, 2018 2:44 pm

mikerr wrote:
Thu Feb 01, 2018 11:22 am
NOOBS does have an advantage of being able to restore a messed up install back to factory setting on the pi itself

Also lets the end user choose OS to install, again on the pi itself.
Exactly. That's the point. The overall goal should be to be able to get the first timer up and running on the Pi as quickly as possible - with as little messing around on PCs and Macs and stuff first. NOOBS/PINN does a good job of that.

Now, mind you, I don't think NOOBS/PINN is "done" yet. There are still lots of things that can go wrong (as we see by the various postings on this forum). The worst is the dreaded "Error resizing partition" thing - which I am certain is fixable. There's just got to be a better way to handle the interface to the low-level "parted" program. But, when it is "done", NOOBS/PINN will certainly be the most comfortable way for a first timer to get up and running on the Pi (in fact, it already is - modulo the bugs"not yet there"s)

Finally, note that NOOBS/PINN is currently packaged as a ZIP file and that occasionally causes problems for the first timer if they don't use the right "unzip" program. It should (IMHO, i..e., in absolute truth) be packaged as a self-extract - using RAR or similar - that would take care of a lot of these details for the first timer (including the infamous "reformatting" stuff). Now, when I suggest this ( a self-extract), people go into spasms for two reasons:
1) "Security". Well, the scare quotes here tell it all. 'Nuff said.
2) The fact that it would be Windows only - and, they say, what about the Linux users? What about the Mac users? What about the z/OS users?

Now, in regards to point #2, let me just say that there is plenty of precedent for distributing a Windows self-extract alongside more conventional (read: Unix/Linux friendly) methods such as tar.gz, etc. Vim, for just one example, is distributed this way. The point is that a Windows self-extract:
1) Hits, in one swoop, a pretty large chunk of the intended audience. It is a good "bang for the buck" solution.
2) Helps those most in need of help. And that's Good Thing.
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Re: Why doesn't NOOBS handle the SD card formatting?

Thu Feb 01, 2018 3:28 pm

If you can point me at links in my realm that push towards NOOBS, let me know and I will see if they can be 'adjusted'.
Ok..

https://www.raspberrypi.org/documentation/setup/
SD Card
We recommend an 8GB class 4 SD card, ideally preinstalled with NOOBS

https://www.raspberrypi.org/documentation/installation/
Beginners should start with NOOBS, which gives the user a choice of operating system from the standard distributions.
https://www.raspberrypi.org/documentati ... /README.md
We recommend most users download NOOBS, which is designed to be very easy to use.

It may not be in your orbit, but for reference -

From https://www.raspberrypi.org select the Help menu option and navigate to Software Guide.

From https://www.raspberrypi.org/learning/so ... uickstart/
You have several options when it comes to getting hold of a copy of Raspbian.

Buy a pre-installed SD card
The easiest way to get NOOBS or Raspbian is to buy an SD card with the software already installed. You can get a pre-installed Raspbian card from RS or The Pi Hut.

Install Raspbian with NOOBS
NOOBS stands for New Out Of Box Software, and if you've never played around with GNU/Linux before, then it's the best place to start.
Only after scrolling over lots of instructions do you find
Download and image Raspbian directly
An alternative to using NOOBS to install Raspbian is to download and install the image directly.
That's the option that uses Etcher: it is described as an alternative, not the preferred option.

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Re: Why doesn't NOOBS handle the SD card formatting?

Thu Feb 01, 2018 5:17 pm

jamesh wrote:
Thu Feb 01, 2018 2:40 pm
We no longer do any dev work on NOOBS. Whether it end up deprecated, I don't know.

Etcher, in my opinion, is the best way to go, and the documenation I deal with (https://www.raspberrypi.org/documentation) recommends it. I don't cover anything out of the documention realm, there lie dragons.

If you can point me at links in my realm that push towards NOOBS, let me know and I will see if they can be 'adjusted'.
If you absolutely must use a NOOBS style installer then PINN is an excellent replacement. It's had lots of new function added over NOOBS (which it was based on best part of three years ago). It can fsck any existing partition, it can reset passwords without needing any strange and arcane /boot/cmdline.txt dances. So the trash and re-install option is unlikely to be needed (although it is there).

The foundation really should replace NOOBS with PINN (for folks who need multibooting) and retain Etcher as the way for the novice users to get started. viewtopic.php?t=142574
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Re: Why doesn't NOOBS handle the SD card formatting?

Thu Feb 01, 2018 6:54 pm

The foundation really should replace NOOBS with PINN (for folks who need multibooting) and retain Etcher as the way for expert users to install Raspbian once they are familiar with how SBCs and raw images work..
Totally agree about PINN being the way of the future.

Fixed the other part for you, though.
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Re: Why doesn't NOOBS handle the SD card formatting?

Thu Feb 01, 2018 7:47 pm

B.Goode wrote:
Thu Feb 01, 2018 3:28 pm
If you can point me at links in my realm that push towards NOOBS, let me know and I will see if they can be 'adjusted'.
Ok..

https://www.raspberrypi.org/documentation/setup/
SD Card
We recommend an 8GB class 4 SD card, ideally preinstalled with NOOBS

https://www.raspberrypi.org/documentation/installation/
Beginners should start with NOOBS, which gives the user a choice of operating system from the standard distributions.
https://www.raspberrypi.org/documentati ... /README.md
We recommend most users download NOOBS, which is designed to be very easy to use.

It may not be in your orbit, but for reference -

From https://www.raspberrypi.org select the Help menu option and navigate to Software Guide.

From https://www.raspberrypi.org/learning/so ... uickstart/
You have several options when it comes to getting hold of a copy of Raspbian.

Buy a pre-installed SD card
The easiest way to get NOOBS or Raspbian is to buy an SD card with the software already installed. You can get a pre-installed Raspbian card from RS or The Pi Hut.

Install Raspbian with NOOBS
NOOBS stands for New Out Of Box Software, and if you've never played around with GNU/Linux before, then it's the best place to start.
Only after scrolling over lots of instructions do you find
Download and image Raspbian directly
An alternative to using NOOBS to install Raspbian is to download and install the image directly.
That's the option that uses Etcher: it is described as an alternative, not the preferred option.
Thanks. When I am not ridiculously busy, I'll try and update things, although I'll need to get Da Managament to agree. We could just use PINN.
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Re: Why doesn't NOOBS handle the SD card formatting?

Fri Feb 02, 2018 8:20 am

procount wrote:
Thu Feb 01, 2018 12:17 am
I now provide an Image of PINN that you can flash straight to an SD card with Etcher
very smart move, thanks
just tested with a 32GB USB stick ok ( etcher burned ?60MB? in a few seconds )
the download link was a littlebit difficult to find.

still need for "headless" operation more setup
+ ssh file
++ wpa_supplicant.conf file
+++ vncshare option in recovery.cmdline

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