Monday, 3 June 2013

How to set up your Raspberry Pi with the New Out of Box Software!

Setting up your Raspberry Pi for the first time can be daunting. We've all been there, Pi in one hand, empty SD card in the other wondering what on earth flashing Raspbian means. In September 2012 I made a video to help get young people started, and this is still a way of getting started with your Pi:

But now Raspberry Pi have come up with another way of getting started. The 'New Out Of Box Software' produced by Raspberry Pi allows you to copy the files you need straight onto the SD card like you would do with photo or document files, and gives you the option of what Operating System you want to install, and even provides recovery should you accidentally delete your entire file system! Here is a step by step guide to using the new system, and as always there is a video too :)

1. Formatting your SD Card: 

You will need a 4GB SD Card to use the new out of the box system, and it will need to be formatted first. The best way to ensure that the card is formatted correctly for use is to download, install and use SD Formatter 4.0 from the SD Association following the on screen steps. Once installed simply place your 4GB SD Card into your computers card reader, and run the SD Formatter application. Make sure that it has the right drive selected for your card, click on Option and select 'FULL erase' from the drop down menu. When you are ready click Format. It will wipe all data from the card so make sure you select the correct drive!

2. Downloading & extracting the files needed:

Next navigate to the Raspberry Pi website and click on the Downloads page. Or alternatively you can follow this link.

Save the compressed file to your computer and extract the files. With this system you do not need to flash the SD card with the image, instead you can simply copy the extracted files from your computer to the SD card.

3. Booting for the first time:

Place your SD card with the new open box software on it, into the Raspberry Pi SD Card slot and turn on your pi making sure that your keyboard, mouse, and video cable are all connected. In my video you can see that I plugged my Pi into my TV using a HDMI cable.

The new system will load and begin to re-size the SD cards partition. Partitions are used to separate parts of a storage devices from each other. Once this is compete your card will have three partitions. One called the BOOT partition which holds all the files needed to start and run your Pi, one called the recovery partition, and one to store any files that you create, or applications that you add later.

4. Installing Raspbian:

The new out of box software gives you the choice of installing one of several different operating systems. It is recommended that you install Raspbian, and you can only install one operating system at a time. Maybe you would like to try one of the other OS like Risc OS at a later date. You could always use the new out of box software on a different SD card.

You need to select the operating system that you wish to install and click 'Install OS'. Here you can also change any language settings. A warning will appear asking if you are sure you want to install the operating system as it will overwrite any file system already on the SD card. Click 'Yes'.

5. Raspi-Config:

After installation of the operating system, on the first boot, the Raspi-Config window will load where you can:

  • Expand the file system (not needed with this new way)
  • Change user password (recommended)
  • Enable Boot to Desktop (if you use this option you will not need to type startx after log in) 
  • Internalization Options (to set language and timezone)
  • Enable Camera (use this to enable your Pi Cam, if you have one!)
  • Add to Rastrack (Let other people know you have a pi and where you are located
  • Overclock (You can enable this if you want to squeeze a little more power out of your Pi - I'd only recommend this if you are fairly advanced as there are issues with power supplies and board/chip variation.)
  • Advanced Options (For advanced people - lol)
  • About Raspi-Config

6. Recovery:

If anything goes wrong, for example if you manage to corrupt your file system, or if you would like to try one of the other operating systems them simply hold shift when starting or booting your Pi and you will be taken to the recovery screen.


  1. Hello, great guide.
    I have followed the exact steps above and everytime I boot up my PI it enters the installer menu, I then have to click exit to load my chosen OS.
    This is the same fro both RASPBMC and RASPBIAN

  2. Hi, thanks for the guide. I'm just wondering how to set up WiFi with a wireless dongle on the raspberry pi? Thanks again.

  3. Mark Lamarkle, most WiFi dongles are automatically recognized by the OSes offered on the NOOBS distro. Raspian is a good choice if you're not sure. After that, you can read the Debian reference (on the screen if you launch the windowing system on Raspian using 'startx'). The Debian reference has quick instructions about how to do DHCP and static IPs. Plus there is are a horde of WiFi utilities - I think there's at least on e pre-loaded in Raspian.

  4. great, tutorial, can u make one for Openelec o Raspxbmc using this metod, thanks

  5. can you change desktop too xfce in raspen

  6. can you change desktop too xfce in RASPBIAN

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