In the early 2010s, the world of DIY electronics was transformed with the introduction of the Raspberry Pi — a single-board computer roughly the size of a credit card and easily customisable, allowing the Pi to be used as the ‘brain’ for various homemade projects.
Games consoles, VPN servers and streaming devices are just some examples of projects that can be created with the Raspberry Pi. However, before you start using it to build anything, you need to set it up. Here is a beginner’s guide to doing just that.
How to get started with a Raspberry Pi
What bits and pieces do you need — other than the Pi itself?
For that Pi, you will need a display. While a computer monitor or television you already have is likely to suffice, the Raspberry Pi Foundation insists that, “for best results, you should use a display with HDMI input.”
A suitable display cable will also be needed for connecting the display to the Pi. Other essentials include a computer keyboard and mouse as well as a power supply of good quality.
The Foundation recommends that you use the official Raspberry Pi Power Supply compatible with your particular Pi model. The Pi Hut is an online retailer offering separate Raspberry Pi Power Supply products for the Raspberry Pi 4 Model B and the Raspberry Pi Zero 2.
How to install an operating system on the Raspberry Pi
Once you have connected the display, keyboard and mouse to the Pi and got these accessories working well with it, you can install an operating system onto the SD card.
To do that, you will need to use Raspberry Pi Imager, which can be run on operating systems including Windows, macOS and Linux.
Once you have inserted the SD card into an SD card reader connected to the computer on which you will be using Raspberry Pi Imager, open this software and then, when it presents a list of possible operating systems for your Pi, select the OS you would indeed like to install on it.
You will subsequently be prompted to specify the SD card to which you would like to write data. After reviewing your selections, click on the Write button.
Once Raspberry Pi Imager has finished writing the data to the SD card, the next step will be for you to power up the Pi and, when this microcomputer boots for the first time, run a configuration wizard with which you will be able to set up the Pi.
The configuration process for a Raspberry Pi after it is first booted
If Raspberry Pi OS is the operating system installed on the Pi, and you have not previously configured the Pi’s OS through Raspberry Pi Imager’s Advanced Menu, you will be guided through the initial setup phase after Raspberry Pi OS first starts up on this Pi. Hope this basic guide on how to get started with a Raspberry Pi was useful!
Keen tech writer outside of my day job in I.T. and spending time with my family.