Do you need more than one operating system on your Raspberry Pi? Several tools are available to help manage the process, such as the Foundation’s own NOOBS Raspberry Pi and its predecessor, BerryBoot.

NOOBS is considered by many to be the best installer, but it misses some BerryBoot options. Would you like to try BerryBoot to install Raspberry Pi operating systems? Read more!

What does BerryBoot do?

Have you ever had trouble installing an ISO disk image on your Raspberry Pi’s SD card? Want to have more than one OS (perhaps a retro gaming system and a media center)? The answer is a tool that helps you manage the installation of one or more OSes for your Pi.

how to dual boot raspberry pi with berryboot

This is basically what BerryBoot does. Giving you a choice of operating systems, BerryBoot downloads the OS and installs it with minimal interaction from you.

It also provides you with some basic networking tools, location settings, and even an editor to tweak the configuration. For example, you can edit your network settings in wpa_supplicant.conf. or you can change the boot menu timeout in cmdline.txt.

Using BerryBoot is simple:

  1. Download Berry Boot.
  2. Extract the ZIP file to a formatted SD card.
  3. Set up BerryBoot.
  4. Select and install one or more operating systems.
  5. Choose which OS you want to use every time you boot up your Raspberry Pi.

BerryBoot also allows you to install your chosen Raspberry Pi operating systems to a location other than the SD card. If your Pi has a network attached storage (NAS) or a hard disk drive (HDD) connected, you can use them. This is a great way to reduce data writes to your SD card and extend its lifespan.

However, the SD card must remain in the Pi to boot.

How to get BerryBoot

To use BerryBoot, you need to download it from Sourceforge. It is an online repository where many applications and utilities are hosted.

BerryBoot is available in one of two downloads. The first option is for all versions of the Raspberry Pi, from the original to the Raspberry Pi Zero. If you have a Raspberry Pi 2 or 3, however, there is a special version just for those devices.

Having two boot options is ideal if you have several different models

Download : Berryboot for All Raspberry Pis | Raspberry Pi 2 and 3

Copy BerryBoot to a formatted SD card

Once downloaded, the contents of the ZIP file must be extracted and copied to your Pi’s SD card. First make sure it’s pasted into your computer, then right-click on the ZIP file and choose » Extract all» . In the dialog box that appears, click » Review», then find the drive letter that matches your SD card. Select it, then click » Extract» .

how to dual boot raspberry pi with berryboot

Wait while the data is being copied to the SD card. Make sure the contents of the ZIP file are copied to the root of the SD card and not to a directory. After that, safely remove the SD card from your computer.

The next step is simple. Insert an SD card into your Raspberry Pi and boot it up. Make sure you have a keyboard and/or mouse. You will need one or both to select your operating systems.

Customize BerryBoot

On the display of your Raspberry Pi, you will see a quick setup screen. The first section, Video, determines the type of TV you are using. If green borders are visible at the top and bottom of the screen, select » Yes» (disable overscan) . Otherwise select Not .

Next, specify the correct network connection type. If an Ethernet cable is connected, select cabled . Otherwise select WiFi then find your network’s SSID in the list and enter the password.

Finally, make sure the correct one is selected in the Locale settings Timezone and keyboard layout . This ensures that BerryBoot can access the server and load the operating system of your choice.

Click OK, when you’re done.

Choose a destination and install operating systems

The next prompt prompts you to choose a location for the operating system you are about to install. You will always have the option to select a local SD card, usually labeled mmcblk0 . But if you have a NAS device or a connected USB drive (or both), you’ll also see options for both. They are labeled as sda for a USB stick or hard drive and how network storage for the NAS device.

How to dual boot Raspberry Pi with BerryBoot muo diy raspberrypi pidrive pi

Once you’ve made your selection, click » Format» (if necessary) and continue. It’s probably better to leave the filesystem as an option ext4 by default, since you probably won’t be using the drive with other devices.

Please note that formatting will delete all existing files on the drive.

When completed, the BerryBoot Menu Editor will open. Use the button » Add OS» to find the operating system. They are grouped into tabs, so make sure you take the time to review the offer on offer. When you find the OS you want to install, check the box. Keep an eye on the numbers on the bottom left that tell you how much space is left on the destination device. Don’t choose too many OSes or you’ll run out of space!

how to dual boot raspberry pi with berryboot

Click OK, when you are done then choose the OS you want make default . This is the operating system that will boot when you turn on your Raspberry Pi, but you cannot make a choice from the boot menu. When it’s done, click » Exit», to request the download and installation of your preferred operating systems.

Other advanced options for BerryBoot

Please note that Berryboot offers additional menu items for your customization. For example, the option clone creates a copy of the selected operating system.

how to dual boot raspberry pi with berryboot

Meanwhile, backup allows you to back up individual operating systems (or all installed OSes) to another storage device. You can also use Delete, to remove the OS.

how to dual boot raspberry pi with berryboot

One of the settings that you may have overlooked is extended configuration accessed via the chevrons on the right side of the menu. Here you can edit the cmdline.txt and config.txt files (as well as the Wi-Fi configuration file, wpa_supplicant.conf). For example, in cmdline.txt you can edit the bootmenutimeout property to specify how many seconds should elapse before the default OS loads.


In the advanced configuration menu are also available Console , Set password (protects your settings) and Restore file system to restore the file system. This should also run automatically if the filesystem is corrupted (perhaps after a power outage).

Booting Raspberry Pi with BerryBoot

Once the operating system is installed, the Raspberry Pi will reboot and display the boot screen. As already noted, the default option will be loaded automatically after 10 seconds (unless you have edited this property), but if you want to make a manual selection, use the keyboard or mouse to do this.

In a few minutes, you will be enjoying your chosen Raspberry Pi operating system. Do you want to use another? Just use the reboot option and select again from the boot menu!

If BerryBoot doesn’t work for you, it might be time to check out NOOBS in more detail. See our NOOBS user guide for beginners more.

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