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I am using Win32DiskImager to clone my SD card on Windows (Windows 10, 1809 before, 1903 recently).

The source SD card has Raspbian installed + some custom software (Python and some scripts to play Tetris on WS2812 LEDs). The disk imager can create the IMG file and verify it successfully:

Message of successful verification

Writing the image onto a new SD card of same size is also successful:

Message of successful writing the image

However, verification fails:

Message of failed verification

I tried this several times with different cards and images. The sector number is always quite low, i.e. it takes less than 2 seconds for the verification process to determine that something is wrong.

It seems the problem is known as issue #50, reported in 2017 already. One of the statements of Tobin Davis (the developer) is:

[…] My dev system is running Windows 7. […] Windows 10 is making a filesystem change after we release the drive from writing.

And indeed, I cannot recall problems cloning cards on Windows 7.

However, the problem has not been fixed yet. If it’s really Windows breaking the SD card, the fix might not even be implemented in Win32DiskImager.

I have already tried:

  • SD cards of a different manufacturer (SanDisk instead of Intenso)
  • an external USB SD card reader instead of the built-in one
  • disabling the virus Scanner (ESET Endpoint Antivirus 7.1)
  • using Etcher to write and verify the disk image instead of Win32DiskImager
  • I’ve seen the question Issues cloning an SD card, but a) the question is for Mac and b) the suggested solution uses Win32DiskImager, since I can’t use DD or ApplePi-Baker
  • I’ve also seen Win32 Disk Imager creates a corrupt file of my SD card, but the answer there is more a rant on Win32DiskImager, which I have used for 3 or 4 years without problems until today.
  • It’s not a problem that the SD image won’t fit on the SD card. I have that problem as well with some cards, but Win32DiskImager warns you very well.

How do I successfully clone SD cards on Windows 10?

Please do not suggest Linux solutions here. I know that I can possibly boot Ubuntu from a Live USB stick and then use dd for cloning.

  • I have been cloning Rpi3/4 stretch/buster uSD (8/16GB) cards using Win10 Win32ImgManager v1.0 without problem. Let me see if my procedure matches yours. (1) Use buster desktop sd card copier to make a copy say A. (2) Use Win10Disk32ImgMan1.0 to read A into an image B.img, (3) Use the same ImgMan to write/clone the B.img to a 16GB uSD card C. (4) Boot and use the sd card C in Rpi. (5) I always gen SHA256 before writing C, but never VERIFY after writing, because I think if it boots and run in rpi, then evertything should be OK. 🙂 – tlfong01 15 hours ago   
  • Just to clarify, I never verify (1) after reading CD card to create image, (2) after creating sd card from image. My reason is that if there is anything wrong in creating the image and writing to a new sd card, then the new sd card won’t boot, or run afterwards. So I am now doing the verification the very first time in my life. And oh my goodness, the verify failed at sector 95232!. I repeat the writing again, and still verify failure at same sector 95232. Now I am going to see if the verify fail sd card can boot. See you later. – tlfong01 15 hours ago  
  • I am back. I found that the sd card I just cloned and verification failed can boot without any problem, as usual, in my last couple of years! :), So my conclusion is the following: WinDiskMan’s verification fail is a misleading false statement, in other words, verification failed sd card actually have no problem at all (proved by booting and using afterwards, these couple of years). I have been using mainly SanDisk, less frequently Transcend, Imation, Kingston, Toshiba (8/16GB, Class 10 and 4), and I don’t find anything different, I always find them the same, except minor speed differences. – tlfong01 15 hours ago   
  • Just now I tried two more things. (1) Win32DiskImgMan1.0 create image from Kingston 8GB C4 SD card, verify no problem. (2) From image just created, gen sha256 check sum, write to THE SAME Kingston SD card (intentionally), then verify. This time SURPRININGLY verify OK. My guess is that if the original SD card that creates the image, AND the SD card that the image is cloned HAVE SAME internal structure (say same manufacturer, same capacity, same speed, same production batch, or stupidly, actually the very same physical card, then and only then verification would pass. / to continue, … – tlfong01 14 hours ago   
  • Now from an image created by a Kingston 8GB C4, I wrote/cloned to another SanDisk card of same 8GB C4, with sha256 hasing. I found after write verification OK. This shows that different vendors, but same capacity, same speed sd cards can be cloned and verification OK. / to continue, … – tlfong01 13 hours ago  
  • @tlfong01: “because I think if it boots and run in rpi, then evertything should be OK” and “then the new sd card won’t boot, or run afterwards” – wow. What if there is just 1 sector broken (512) and that sector is just part of a binary (ELF file) that you rarely use, e.g. apt. You’ll never notice until you run apt update. Due to the lack of verification, your procedure does not match mine. I’m preparing SD cards for external people. I can’t risk any damage. – Thomas Weller 12 hours ago
  • You are asking definitely for a solution on MS Window$ 10 so your question does not belong to Raspberry Pi. Please ask in a MS Window$ forum. – Ingo 11 hours ago
  • Use Etcher as the Foundation recommends like the rest of us – Milliways 5 hours ago
  • @Thomas Weller, Well I agree my no verify QC is non pro. But I am just a friendly hobbyist, what do you expect? Anyway, it is morning after, so let me carry on my story. Summary so far: (1) CWin10W32DM1 created 16GC10 img can write to same brand same topo BUT cannot verify, (2) 8GC4 image can write to same/diff brand same topo AND VERIFY OK. This morning I found (3) 8GC4 img can write 8GC4 same/diff brand same topo verify OK. But can write to 16GC10 BUT cannot verify. (4) 8GC4 img to both 8GC4 same/diff brand w/v OK, and GOOD NEWS (5) SanDisk 8GC4 img can write/verify Kingston 16GC10 OK. – tlfong01 9 secs ago   Edit   

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