When updating Debian Wheezy (the stable release) to Jessie, it crashed, so it is currently unusable. The only solution to this, as far as I can tell, is to overwrite Jessie on top of what is currently there, but the laptop does not have an disc drive, and I don't have an external one, so I am trying to boot from an SD card.

There is a problem with this, however, because I have only been able to find .iso images of Jessie, which cannot be written to an SD card normally. Is there a way to do this on Windows? I am aware of being able to use dd on Linux, but I have not been able to find a Windows equivalent.

Note: I am aware of the fact that I may just be able to rename the .iso as a .img, if it is uncompressed, but I would like to know if there are any alternatives to this, or options if it does not work.

  • Am I understanding you correctly then? You want to know how to do this on Windows? – slm Oct 31 '14 at 5:55
  • @slm yep! If I could do it on Linux, I would, but my box is sitting in the limbo between Wheezy and Jessie right now. – Pip Oct 31 '14 at 12:12

I would attempt to do this using UNetbootin. It runs on Windows, Linux, & OSX.


You should be able to mount your SD card under Windows, and target it as a drive in UNetbootin's UI.

  • I thought this would only boot on a computer that normally runs Windows... Am I wrong in thinking this? The UNetbootin help thing was a bit unclear. – Pip Oct 31 '14 at 12:14
  • UNetbootin is an app that you can install on any of the listed OSes. It will burn whatever distro's ISO you have to any removable media such as USB. It can also download any of the listed distros' ISOs and install them if you do not have one handy to the USB media too. – slm Oct 31 '14 at 17:00
  1. Download the dvd iso of Debian 8 (Jessie) Stable.

    (The latest version, Debian 9 (Stretch) Testing - I have had problems with it though everyone normally say that Debian Testing is as good as the current versions of Ubuntu).

    Don't get the CD version. I have always had trouble with it. Its very slow as it downloads too many things during install. It does not even have KDE. And crucially it doesn't have many drivers. Because it takes so much time its really irritating when we need to reinstall because of some trouble. If its the DVD we can tell it to not connect to the Internet (it still connects so you may want to unplug the net cable), and we can happily reinstall as many times as we want as its blazingly fast.

  2. Writing to usb - Try unetbootin first. If that doesn't work (I sometimes have problems with unetbootin), use 'Win32 Disk Imager' from sourceforge.

  3. Installing:

    You are going from Debian 7 (Wheezy) to Debian 8.

    I am assuming your / and /home are on different partitions.

    Since you are going from one major version to another (For Debian its like 2 years, so there are lots of changes) you need to format /. Else you may run into problems after installation. Since you are not formatting /home, I don't think you will be loosing any data. Just to be safe do a backup of /.

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