Setting up Raspbian on a Raspberry Pi

A while back I made a trade with a co-worker for an old netbook in exchange for a Raspberry Pi Model B+.  In case you haven’t heard of the Raspberry Pi (…what rock have you been hiding under!?!), its a small credit-card sized computer, originally designed as a low cost  and low power solution for schools to teach kids more about programming in languages such as Python. But because of its small platform and low cost, it quickly became very popular in the hacker community as well. My Raspberry Pi has just been sitting on the shelf for a little while now, I figured it was time to blow off the dust and power it up.


My OS of choice is of course Raspbian which is based off of Debian. I dont have any experience with NOOBs Installer yet and just opted for the Raspbian image (998MB) off the downloads section of Rasberry Pi Foundation website.


The image comes compressed in a zip archive, so youll need to unzip it once the download is finished and store the image somewhere easily accessible.

Loading The OS

The next step is to stick your SD card into your reader, I’m using a laptop with a built in reader (but a USB reader should be the same) and an 8GB SD card.

I will be using a utility called Win32 Disk Imager which I have used before, but conveniently this is what the Raspberry Pi Foundation also recommends.


Once downloaded, you’ll have to run the installer and do all the boring stuff… accept the license agreement, pick an installation directory and so on. To make it easier, make sure you check the box that places an icon on your desktop.

Important: To start Win32DiskImager, make sure you right click the icon and select “Run as administrator“. The software requires elevation to run and simply will not work properly if you don’t do this.


With the software now open, click the folder icon and browse to the directory where you saved the Raspbian image file. Select your Device as well (make sure you pick the correct drive, otherwise you will overwrite whatever is on that drive). When you’re ready to go, click the Write button and let the software do its thing.

 Power It Up


So we got the SD card loaded with the OS, pop that sucker into the Raspberry Pi and plug in your USB keyboard, ethernet cable, HDMI to your monitor or TV, and connect it to power.


Right away you should see Raspbian start to boot up on your screen. If you’ve never used a Linux distro before, this may look new to you, but its all normal ;)


Once loaded, the Pi will automatically start its first time configuaration. Highlight “Expand Filesystem” and hit enter. This is going to ensure that we are using the full size of the SD card. Next you’ll also want to change the password. Scroll down to “Change User Password” and follow the prompts to enter the new password (the default user is “pi“).


Next lets enable SSH for remote access to the Pi. Scroll to “Advanced Options” and hit enter. Then scroll until you have “SSH” highlighted and hit enter again to enable it. Select “Back”  at the bottom, and “Finish” to reboot the Pi.


When the Pi boots back up, look for a line that says “Your IP Address“, were going to need this to SSH into it. If you already disconnectd your monitor at this point, you can of course get the IP from your router DHCP client list, or by scanning with Wireshark.

SSHing into the Pi

If you’ve made it to this point, you should be able to unplug the monitor and keyboard from your Pi and put it anywhere you want. If you’re on Windows like I am, you will also need an SSH client. I recommend PuTTy.


To connect with PuTTy simply enter the IP address of the Pi that you wrote down earlier, and select SSH (Port 22) and hit “Open“.

putty-rsa-key-rasbianSince this is your first time connecting to the Raspberry Pi, you should see a security alert dialog explaining that the RSA2 key does not match what is stored on the computer. This is normal for the first time connecting, so click “Yes“.


Enter you username (default is “pi“) along with the password you set up during the installation configuration, and you’re now SSHd into your Pi. From this point, its up to you what to do with your Pi, but before getting too ahead of yourself I would recommend making sure everything is up to date by running the following command:

sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get upgrade



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