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The intention behind the creation of balenaEtcher is to provide users with the easiest way possible to burn operating system images to external devices, such as SD cards and USB keys. In fact, I do not think its interface could have been made more straightforward than it is. Allow me to explain why.
First, there is a wizard with three main steps to guide you through all the process. You should start by selecting the image you want to burn. In this respect, it is good that such common formats as IMG, ISO, DMG and ZIP are supported as the source. Secondly, you can pick one of the external drives currently connected to your computer. Luckily, local hard drives are not shown in the list, which completely eliminates the risk of deleting their contents. Finally, you can proceed to flash the drive and wait until the copying is done.
The program has a simple set of options. For instance, you can set the program not to report errors to balena.io. Likewise, you can toggle off automatic unmounting the copied image on success. It can also check the validity of the process after it has finished. Moreover, it can also trim EXT partitions before beginning to write. Finally, you can activate Unsafe Mode, although the developers alert this action can be dangerous.
All in all, balenaEtcher has the main advantage of being extremely simple to use. The product is open-source and free to use. However, there are concerns about its sending private data to online servers even when error reporting is off.
- Wizard-guided process
- No danger of erasing hard disk contents
- Checks the validity of the copying process
- May send data without your consent