How-to install OpenELEC for Raspberry Pi under Windows

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June 27, 2013 by aubreykloppers

Using a Raspberry for multimedia application is something quite interesting. End of March version 3.0 of OpenELEC has been released bringing XBMC to your Raspi. Unfortunately creating a bootable SD card is not straightforward if you’re Windows-centric. The distributed tar archive contains a script for creating such a SD card under Linux only. But creating the SD card under Windows is not that complicated.

Under Windows the following ingredients are required

  1. a properly formatted SD card
  2. the distribution archive

Formatting the SD card

A properly formatted SD card for OpenELEC requires to have two partition on it whereas one of them is formated with an ext4 filesystem. This requires a third party tool like theMiniTool® Partition Wizard. It happens that MiniTool is offering a Home Edition which is free for home use only.

After inserting a new SD card and starting the Partition Wizard you’ll get something like this:


For this tutorial I used a spare 1 GB card with a FAT32 partition. The first step is deleting all partitions and then create the first one afterwards.


The original script is creating a FAT32 partition occupying 16 cylinders resulting in approx. 130 MB. So did I and named it “System”. In addition I assigned drive letter S: to it (the assigned drive letter will be used later).


On the left side of the Partition Wizard you can follow the actions that will be performed upon apply. Next the ext4 partition is created and named “Storage” consuming the remaining space on the card. You will receive a warning stating that Windows will only show the very first partition on a removable media. Acceptable in our case.


The new partition layout now should look similar to this:


At this point the modifications can be applied and in a last step the first partition will be marked as “Active” (right-click over the partition; Modify → Set Active).


Copying OpenELEC to the SD card

The distribution comes as compressed tar archive which needs to be extracted first (7zipwill do this job). At the end you should have a folder OpenELEC-RPi.arm-3.0.6 containing the distribution. Assuming that you have assigned drive letter S: to the SD card the following sequence will copy the required files to the card:

cd OpenELEC-RPi.arm-3.0.6
copy target\KERNEL S:\kernel.img
copy target\SYSTEM S:\
copy 3rdparty\bootloader\*.* S:\
copy openelec.ico S:\
copy S:\

Last but not least you need to create a file ‘cmdline.txt’ on the SD card with the following content:

boot=/dev/mmcblk0p1 disk=/dev/mmcblk0p2 console=ttyAMA0,
115200 kgdboc=ttyAMA0,115200 console=tty1 ssh

Thank you to:

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