If you have a Raspberry Pi, whether as a multimedia center, as a low-consumption mini PC, as a retro gaming machine, or for any other purpose, there may come a time when you want to transfer some of your data to the PC. A Raspberry has a micro SD card as a “hard drive”, and not all PCs have a card reader to read this data, so what other methods are there to transfer data from a Raspberry Pi to a PC?
This question has a bit of a “trick” as there is basically one bad way and many good ways to transfer data to your PC, whether you have a card reader or not. Why? That is what we are going to explain to you next.
Why using the micro SD is not a good idea
Although at the beginning we mentioned that we are going to tell you how to transfer the data without the need for a card reader, of course, the easiest method to do it is of course to remove the micro SD from the Raspberry and with a reader connect it a PC. However, this is not a very good idea for several reasons that we will explain below.
- The first reason is that in most cases, the micro SD card is the boot device of the Raspberry Pi, and that means several things:
- You will be forced to turn off the Raspberry to be able to remove the card safely; if your RasPi is a server, that means losing availability.
- You run the risk of data corruption by using different readers.
- In addition to this, carrying a micro SD card from one device to another carries the risk of it being damaged, dropped, lost, etc.
Therefore, unless you have no other option, we will suggest other alternative methods to transfer data from a Raspberry Pi to a PC safely and without having to turn off the device.
How to copy data from a Raspberry Pi to a PC
In total, you will have five excellent alternatives to copy content from your Raspberry Pi to a PC, easily and quickly and that also does not carry a risk for your device or the data it contains. These methods are:
- Send the files to yourself by email. This would obviously only be valid if the data you need to transfer does not take up much space, since most free email services have a maximum limit of 25 MB for email attachments.
- Use a cloud storage service, like Dropbox or Google Drive. This method is simple, free and, in fact, will allow you to have the files synchronized on both the Raspberry and the PC.
- Use a USB pen drive. This is the simplest and safest method: simply connect a pen drive to the Raspberry Pi, copy the files you need to transfer into it, and then connect it to the PC to make use of them.
- Download and upload files using SSH: if you are an advanced user on Linux systems, you will know the commands necessary to transfer the files you want through your home network using SSH.
- Transfer files with FTP. You can do this through the command line or using free tools such as FileZilla.
With any of these methods, you will be able to transfer files from a Raspberry Pi to a PC and vice versa simply and quickly, and most important of all: without having to turn off the Raspberry and without putting your precious micro SD card at risk, which is the one you need. Acts as the device’s hard drive.