Do you need more than one operating system on your Raspberry Pi? Various tools are available to manage the process, including the Raspberry Pi Foundation's NOOBS and its predecessor BerryBoot.
NOOBS is considered by many to be the superior installer, but it lacks some options from BerryBoot. Would you like to try BerryBoot to dual boot your Raspberry Pi 3 or 4? Continue reading!
What does BerryBoot do?
Have you ever had trouble installing an ISO disk image file on your Raspberry Pi's SD card? Do you want more than one operating system (possibly a retro gaming system and media center)? The answer is a tool that allows you to manage the installation of one or more operating systems for your Pi.
That is exactly what BerryBoot does. BerryBoot gives you a selection of operating systems to choose from, downloads and installs the operating systems with minimal interaction from you.
You also get some basic network tools, location settings, and even an editor to customize the configuration. For example, you may want to edit your network settings in the wpa_supplicant.conf file. or you want to change the time limit for the start menu in cmdline.txt.
Using BerryBoot is straightforward:
Extract the zip file to a formatted SD card.
Select and install one or more operating systems.
Every time you start your Raspberry Pi, select the operating system you want to use.
With BerryBoot you can also install the Raspberry Pi operating systems you have selected in a location other than the SD card. If you have network storage (NAS) or hard disk drive (HDD) attached to your Pi, they can be used. This is a great way to reduce data writing to your SD card and extend its lifespan.
However, the SD card must remain in the Pi in order to boot from there.
How to get BerryBoot and Dual Boot Your Raspberry Pi
To use BerryBoot you need to download it from Sourceforge. This is an online repository that hosts many applications and utilities.
BerryBoot is available in one of two downloads. The first option applies to all versions of the Raspberry Pi, from the original to the Raspberry Pi Zero to the Pi 3B +. However, if you have a Raspberry Pi 4, a dedicated version is available – yes, you can double boot a Raspberry Pi 4.
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, insert the SD card into your PC
Navigate to the downloaded ZIP file in your file manager
Right click and choose Extract everything
In the dialog box that opens, click Search
Select the drive letter that corresponds to your SD card, then click extract
Wait while the data is copied, then make sure the files are copied to the root directory of the SD card. If they are copied to a directory, the card will not start. When you are sure that the data was copied correctly, safely remove the SD card from your computer.
The next step is easy. Insert the SD card into your Raspberry Pi and turn it on. Make sure a keyboard and / or mouse is connected. You'll need either or both to choose your operating systems.
Configure BerryBoot for Raspberry Pi Multiboot
A quick configuration screen is initially shown on the display of your Raspberry Pi. The first section, Video, defines the type of television used. When you see green borders at the top and bottom of the screen, select Yes (disable overscan). Otherwise choose No.
Next, specify the correct type of network connection. If you have an ethernet cable connected, select Wired. Otherwise choose Wireless Internet accessThen find the SSID of your network in the list and enter the password.
Finally, make sure the right one Time zone and Keyboard layout are selected under Locale Settings. This ensures that BerryBoot can access the server and download the operating system of your choice.
click okay when you're done.
Install dual or multiboot Raspberry Pi operating systems
At the next prompt, you will be prompted to choose a destination for the operating systems you want to install.
You always have the choice of the local SD card, which is usually labeled mmcblk0. However, if you have a NAS box, USB drive, or both, the options for those will also appear.
A USB drive is always labeled sda. The NAS is displayed as Networked storage.
With the selection made, click format (if necessary) and continue. Leave the file system as the default ext4 Option — you probably won't be using the drive with any other devices.
Note that formatting will erase all files on the hard drive. If you install on the microSD card, the space next to the active boot partition will be formatted.
When done, the BerryBoot menu editor will appear. You will see different operating systems grouped by categories in tabs. Spend a few moments to see what is on offer.
You can only install one operating system at a time. Once this has been added and the system rebooted, additional operating systems can be added.
Then select the operating system okay to install. The image file is downloaded and written to the microSD card. Wait for the system to start, then click on the Start menu To edit.
You can now install as many additional operating systems as you need. Just make sure your storage media is not full. The numbers in the lower left corner indicate how much space is left on the target device. Too many operating systems fill the hard drive so keep it at two or three.
To install an operating system:
click Add operating system to search for an operating system
Select the check box for the operating systems you want
click okay when you're done
Select the operating system you want Set Defaultthat starts when your Raspberry Pi boots up
click output to download and install the selected operating systems.
This may take a while depending on which operating systems you have chosen and how many.
Other advanced options for BerryBoot
Note that Berryboot has more menu options for your facility. For example the clone Option creates a copy of the selected operating system.
Meanwhile, Backup This option allows you to create backups of individual operating systems (or all installed operating systems) on a different storage device. You can also use Clear to remove an operating system.
One setting you may have overlooked is this Advanced configuration, Accessed via the chevrons on the right in the menu.
Here you can edit the files cmdline.txt and config.txt (as well as the Wi-Fi configuration file wpa_supplicant.conf). For example, in cmdline.txt, you can edit the bootmenutimeout property and specify how many seconds should pass before the default operating system loads.
Also available in the Advanced Configuration menu is a consolewhile to set a password Allows installations to be protected. File system problems can be fixed with Repair file system. This should also be done automatically if the file system is damaged (possibly after a power outage).
Dual booting of your Raspberry Pi with BerryBoot
When your operating systems are installed, the Raspberry Pi will restart and display a start screen. As mentioned earlier, the default option will automatically load after 10 seconds. You can make a manual selection using your keyboard or mouse.
Moments later, you'll be enjoying your chosen Raspberry Pi operating system. Would you like to use another one? Just use the restart option and choose from the start menu again!
NOOBS vs. BerryBoot: Which is Best for Installing a Raspberry Pi Operating System?
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About the author
(1408 articles published)
Deputy Editor for Security, Linux, DIY, Programming and Technology explains. He also produces The Really Useful Podcast and has extensive desktop and software support experience.
Christian is an employee of Linux Format Magazine and a Raspberry Pi hobbyist, Lego lover and retro gaming fan.
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