What You’ll Need
- A Raspberry Pi: Since we recommend the Model 3, it’s the one we’ll show you how to set up below.
- An HDMI television or monitor: You’ll need to connect your Raspberry Pi to a display, which means you’ll need an HDMI-enabled screen of some kind. Thee are plenty of compact displays available if you don’t want to dedicate a full monitor to the Pi. There are also ways around using a monitor at all, which we’ll talk about at the end of this post.
- A USB keyboard and mouse: In order to control your Pi, you’ll need a keyboard and mouse. At this point, pretty much any USB keyboard and mouse will work.
- An 8GB MicroSD card and card reader: Instead of a hard drive, you install the Raspberry Pi’s operating system on a MicroSD card. You’ll want at least an 8GB card for this.
- A power supply: The Raspberry Pi is powered by a micro USB, much like the one you’ve likely used for your phone. Since the Pi 3 has four USB ports, it’s best to use a good power supply that can provide at least 2.5A of juice.+
- Raspbian, installed via NOOBS
Installing Raspbian with NOOBS
Using NOOBS is the easiest way to install Raspbian on your SD card. To get hold of a copy of NOOBS:
- You should see a box with a link to the NOOBS files. Click on the link.
- The simplest option is to download the zip archive of the files.
Formatting the SD Card
If the SD card on which you wish to install Raspbian currently has an older version of Raspbian on it, you may wish to back up the files from the card first, as they will be overwritten during this process.
- Visit the SD Association’s website and download SD Formatter 4.0 for Windows or Mac.
- Follow the instructions to install the software.
- Insert your SD card into the computer or laptop’s SD card reader and make a note of the drive letter allocated to it, e.g.
- In SD Formatter, select the drive letter for your SD card, and format it.
Extracting NOOBS from the zip archive
Next, you will need to extract the files from the NOOBS zip archive you downloaded from the Raspberry Pi website.
- Go to your Downloads folder and find the zip file you downloaded.
- Extract the files and keep the resulting Explorer/Finder window open.
Copying the files
- Now open another Explorer/Finder window and navigate to the SD card. It’s best to position the two windows side by side.
- Select all the files from the NOOBS folder and drag them onto the SD card.
- Eject the SD card.
Booting from NOOBS
- Once the files have been copied over, insert the micro SD Card into your Raspberry Pi, and plug the Pi into a power source.
- You will be offered a choice when the installer has loaded. You should check the box for Raspbian, and then click Install.
- Click Yes at the warning dialog, and then sit back and relax. It will take a while, but Raspbian will install.
Connect your Raspberry Pi
Let’s connect up your Raspberry Pi and get it running.
- Check whether your Raspberry Pi already has an SD card in the slot at the underside, and if not, insert an SD card with Raspbian installed (via NOOBS). Lots of SD cards will come inside a larger adapter, and you can slide the card out of this using the lip at the bottom.
- Find the USB connector for your mouse, and connect the mouse to one of the USB port on the Raspberry Pi (it doesn’t matter which one).
- Connect the keyboard in the same way.
- Look at the HDMI port on the Raspberry Pi — notice that it has a large flat side on top.
Make sure your monitor is plugged into a wall socket and turned on.
- Connect the monitor cable to the Pi’s HDMI port — use an adapter if necessary.
Nothing will display yet.
- Connect headphones or speakers to the audio jack if you have some.
- If you have one, use an ethernet cable to connect the ethernet port on the Raspberry Pi to an ethernet socket on the wall or on your router. (You don’t need to do this if you’ll be using wireless LAN or if you don’t want to connect to the internet.)
- Notice that the micro USB power port has a longer flat side on top.
Plug the power supply into a socket and connect it to the micro USB power port.
You should see a red light on the Raspberry Pi and raspberries on the monitor.
The Pi will boot up into a graphical desktop.