is it possible to save clone boot image to computer then instal on SD card?

i purchased an OS to run on a rasp pi as a VPN, TOR and regular router. the seller said i could clone the SD card as a back up. i am using an old Macbook Air that has 2 usb ports. one is for my boot drive, as the Air only has 80GB of storage and the other is used for my SD card reader with my image source i wish to clone. i wanted to save the image to my 4TB mass storage usb drive, but at the last second realized i would delete the content on it and my OS if I used it as the destination for my clone. i would like to save the image and then write it to a backup SD card. because i have only 2 usb ports and i would like to have a back up of the clone on my mass storage device too.

Hi there,
I would like to better analyze the situation before giving you possible wrong advice. The SD card contains the image of the OS you bought and you want to copy, is that correct ? What kind of files do you see inside the SD card? Also, when you say “clone” do you mean to use Etcher’s “clone” feature ?

Re-reading this, unfortunately Etcher does not have the capability you are referring to, which is dumping the contents of the SD Card that you purchased to a file. If you used a USB hub to expand the number of USB ports you have available, you could potentially just purchase another SD Card, and using the clone feature like you mentioned you could make a copy of the SD Card. But, no, there is no way to use Etcher to write a file, and then place the file on your backup mass storage device.

thanks guys. the sd card has the OS for the rasp pi and it is in Linux written for the ARM device, so i assume the mac cannot read it. the reason i was using the term clone, is because of the sd card containing the OS. i do not care what it is called, i want to the SD card to run the rasp pi.
i have come across a feature in macos called disk aid, so i was hoping that could copy what i want if this is not possible using etcher

Hi @x9a,

If the OS that you purchased was delivered as a physical SD card, then you can use balenaEtcher’s clone drive feature to make a backup copy to a different SD card. balenaEtcher does not support reading SD card images to create a copy as one large .img file. I am not familiar with Disk Aid on Mac. I am somewhat familiar with Disk Utility on Mac, but I don’t believe it supports reading SD card images to create .img files. If you want to create a .img file and have a friend with a Windows laptop, other users have reported using win32diskimager (free) for this purpose.

If the OS that you purchased was delivered as a large .img file or similar, then you can use balenaEtcher to flash one or more SD cards. Then put one of those SD cards into your Pi. And you can copy the .img file to your USB drive.

I hope this helps.

thanks for the info. it does help. the application i was thinking of is Disk Utility. in Disk Utility, in the header dock there is a feature called First Aid, along with Partition, Erase, Restore and Unmount. there’s also View, Volume and Info in the upper corners of the window. i want to become familiar with the Windows Subsystem for Linux, so i will get that up and running. i will read your post several times, as all this is new to me, thanks for your help.
i guess it makes sense that the computer would have to read and understand a file in order to copy it, but it doesn’t make complete sense to me. it seems that someone (Balena?) would create software that could copy and save an unreadable file to hard drive, or to RAM and then paste and mount it as an OS image on a drive. do you see the utility in that? is it too much ask? i am asking generically, not you specifically.
to me, Balena is living in the stone age. i assume Balena is one of the best in this field of installing OSs, yet it cannot do this basic task core to it’s functionality. we all are in the stone age, chiseling lines on clay tablets. thanks for your post again, maybe you explained all this and i am completely out of line, in which case, i am sorry. i need to read this a few times to get it. thanks. X

You’ve probably sorted it by now, but I’m currently using
sudo dd if=/dev/??? of=todays.img
to copy a Raspi image to a disk file (after selecting the output directory with ‘cd’)
But I came across your query because dd is unbelievably slow, and I’m looking for a faster way to do it.

Connect your SD card to your computer and make sure it is recognized by your operating system. Use disk imaging software to create a clone image of the bootable SD card. This software may be built-in to your operating system or you may need to download and install it separately. Save the clone image file to your computer’s hard drive. To install the clone image on another SD card, insert the SD card into your computer and use disk imaging software to “burn” the clone image onto the SD card. Once the image has been successfully installed on the new SD card, you can remove it from your computer and use it as a bootable device.