How to Install CHDK on Canon Digital Camera - Step by Step Guide

Canon "point and shoot" digital camera (pocket camera) has a lot of automatic settings and make things really easy, just point it to an object and click the shoot button and you're done. But if you want to explore more manual settings and use all hidden features on your Canon digital camera, you can use CHDK.

What is CHDK?, CHDK (Canon Hack Development Kits) is add-on software for your Canon camera. CHDK enhances the capabilities of your camera in a non-permanent way... In this tutorial we won't install CHDK on the camera itself but on the SD card or the memory card, and then make the SD card as first boot when we turn on the camera. So don't worry, CHDK won't screw up your original Canon camera firmware.

Canon camera CHDK

CHDK Features

After installing CHDK you can shoot in RAW, Ultra long/fast shutter speed, Focus bracketing (unlimited shots), Zoom during video function, File Browser, Text Reader, Calendar, and you get some games...

How to Install CHDK?

- Canon PowerShot or IXUS Digital Camera
- SD Card/Memory card
- Card Reader

Step 1:
We need to know the firmware version of the camera...
Turn on your camera, shoot an object, then copy the image (JPG) to your computer.
Download CameraVersion-SFX application here, extract it, then open/double click on CameraVersion11.exe

UPDATE: CameraVersion13-sfx.exe (3,15MB)


Step 2:
Click Browse > select any JPG taken with your camera > click Open


Browse a photo

Step 3:
Remember your camera type and the firmware version....
In this guide I use my IXUS 90 IS (also known as PowerShot SD790)
And you can see the firmware version is 1.00D

Camera Firmaware Version

Step 4:
Open this web page then download the correct CHDK for your camera....
Remember, do not extract the downloaded zip file...

CHDK Files
Step 5:
Insert SD card (4GB recommended) into your card reader... Make sure the lock slider is in the un-locked position like shown on the picture below..

Canon SD Card unlocked
Step 6:
Now download CardTricks v144 from or and then extract it....
Open/double click on CardTricks144.exe

CardTricks Application
Step 7:
Click on SD Card icon.....

And then select Canon SD Card and click OK.....

Browse Folder
Step 8:
Click "Format as FAT" button. If your card is bigger than 4GB, please read UPDATE 1 at the bottom of this post.

Step 9:
Formatting will DESTROY ALL DATA on card H:\
Are you sure you want to continue ?

Click OK

CardTricks Window
Step 10:
Click "Make Bootable"
It will make your camera able to boot from the SD card

Card is now bootable in Canon cams. Do not forget to set Write Protect on the card (slide tab up, away from the electric connectors) to take advantage of this feature.

Click OK

CardTricks Window
Step 11:
Click CHDK->Card
And then locate the downloaded CHDK zip file (from step 4) and click OK

CardTricks Window

CardTricks Window

Step 12:

Please wait when CardTricks installing the CHDK....


When message above disappear you're done... CHDK installed....
Click exit (or press Esc)

CardTricks Window
Step 13:
Pull out the SD card from the computer....
Now lock the card... don't worry, image will still be saved to the locked card...

SD Memory Card Locked
Step 14:
Insert SD card to the camera then turn the camera on...

CHDK installed

To go to CHDK menu press print button on the camera, you will see <ALT> on the screen, and then press menu button....

Press print and menu button

CHDK on Canon Camera

CHDK menu

You can configure the extra camera settings from here...
Press Menu button then press print button to exit from CHDK menu.....

HDR image example created by using CHDK....

HDR Photo example

HDR photo

Step-by-step tutorial how to create HDR image available soon....

please visit to explore more information about CHDK
thanks to all CHDK developers


How to disable CHDK on my camera?
Remove the SD card from the camera, unlock the card, insert the SD Card to the camera, turn on your camera... you will see CHDK is not loaded...

How to enable CHDK again?
Remove the SD card from the camera, lock the card, insert the SD Card to the camera, turn on your camera... you will see CHDK is loaded...

My card is bigger than 4GB?

If you have a SDHC card that is bigger than 4Gb you have to create two partitions on the card. This can now be done entirely on the camera thanks to Thorwak's great modification and guide. Here is how to do it, more or less copied from his guide: 
  1. Low level format card in camera. The card now contains one FAT32 partition. 
  2. Unpack the small build of CHDK directly to the card using PC. 
  3. Start CHDK manually (Firmware update). 
  4. Enter the CHDK menu, and select Miscellaneous stuff -> Debug Parameters -> Create card with two partitions. CHDK now creates the boot partition as before, but also formats it using FAT12 and marks the partition bootable. (not available on all ports) 
  5. Put the card back in PC. If necessary, format the newly created 2MB partition. Re-unpack small CHDK to this partition. 
  6. Write protect the card (there is usually a switch on the side of the card; move it to the locked position). 
  7. The camera should now boot off of the card. 
  8. Enter the CHDK menu, and select Miscellaneous stuff -> Swap partitions
  9. Unlock the card, and put it back in the PC. Now format the large partition, and unpack full CHDK onto it. 
  10. Lock the card and put it back in the camera. 
  11. Start CHDK manually (Firmware update) one more time, and select Miscellaneous stuff -> Swap partitions. Congratulations, now your camera should boot from CHDK automatically! 
Caveats: Windows does not seem to be able to access both partitions at once. See the note below about using Linux to fix that. Otherwise you will have to run Swap partitions before you take the card out of the camera so windows can access your photos, then repeat the last step after you put the card back in to make it boot CHDK automatically. To me, this is much better than having to start CHDK manually every time you turn on the camera!  -