Installing and Using NOOBS for the Raspberry Pi 2 or 3

So you’ve bought yourself a Raspberry Pi! Congratulations! Now, I bet you’re wondering what the hell this little board can do and how to use it? If you’ve never used a Raspberry Pi before, NOOBS is a great way to start!


What is NOOBS?

To begin, NOOBS is not an operating system. NOOBS is a tool designed by the Raspberry Pi team that will install a working operating system for new users. The standard NOOBS OS installer comes with a preloaded version of the Raspbian operating system, which can be installed with little to no effort by the user. NOOBS does give the user the option to download and install other working operating systems. These include:

But this process does require the Pi to be connected to the Internet. NOOBS Lite only gives the option to download and install other working operating systems, which does require an Internet connection. NOOBS Lite does not come with a preloaded version of Raspbian.

How to install and use NOOBS on a Rasberry Pi 2 or 3

What you’ll need:

  • Micro-SD card (8Gb Card is recommended)
  • SD card adapter (Should come with most Micro-SD cards)
  • Working computer (Windows, Mac or Linux)
  • Card Reader (External required if the computer you’re using does not have an internal reader)
  • Raspberry Pi Model 2 or 3
  • USB Keyboard and Mouse
  • Downloaded copy of NOOBS or NOOBS Lite

Now, one of the greatest things about NOOBS is that you don’t need to get any extra tools to “install” it on your micro-SD card. So once you have it, it’s as easy as a drag and drop file dump.

Step 1: Download a copy of NOOBS or NOOBS Lite from the Raspberry Pi site.

Personally, I just download the .zip file directly, but they do give the torrent option for those who prefer that. The current version of NOOBS (V2.0.0) is 1.17Gb, so this might take some time to download, depending on your Internet speed of course. The current version of NOOBS Lite is substantially smaller, weighing in at a whopping 29.2Mb. The difference being that NOOBS does have that preloaded version of Raspbian embedded.

NOOBS.zip: Download

NOOBS Lite.zip: Download

NOOBS Torrent: Download

NOOBS Lite Torrent: Download

Step 2: Format your micro-SD card

Be warned beforehand, formatting any form of external memory device such as a micro-SD card, SD card, USB stick, hard drive, etc.. will completely remove and delete all files from the device. If there is anything on the micro-SD card you’ve selected to use as you NOOBS installer, back-up those files to your computer or another memory device before formatting.

naming-msd-card

Almost every computer no matter what operating system it is running will have some form of program that will format external memory cards. If you do not particularly like the formatting program your computer came with, a good replacement tool for Mac and Windows can be found at the SD Card Association website. It is advised that you format to FAT32. I’ve posted tutorials on how to format external memory devices with the Windows and Mac operating systems, so any question you have should be covered there. Formatting with Linux Mint will be coming soon.

Step 3: “Install” NOOBS on the micro-SD card

First you need to extract the contents of the .zip file you downloaded. Extract to any location you want, I use the desktop normally. Once you’ve extracted the files, it should look something like this:

package-contents

To “Install” NOOBS on the micro-SD card, you simply have to drag and drop all of the files from the NOOBS folder that you’ve previously downloaded.

drag-and-drop-before

Highlight and select all the files from the NOOBS folder, drag them over to the formatted card, and drop the files.

select-all

If you’re “installing” NOOBS on the micro-SD card, then copying these files may take awhile due to the size. If you are “installing” NOOBS Lite, the copy shouldn’t take very long. Once the files are done copying, you’re done! Kind of…

drag-and-drop1

Step 4: Using NOOBS with the Raspberry Pi

Insert your NOOBS micro-SD into your Raspberry Pi. Connect your USB keyboard and mouse, and monitor.

Step 5: Power up the Raspberry Pi, a screen will pop-up that shows what OS choices are available. Raspbian will always be available with the standard NOOBS distribution, but if you are connected to the Internet it will have options for other operating systems as well.

Step 6: Select the desired OS by checking the small box on the left of the distribution.

Step 7: When you’ve selected your desired OS, click the “Install(i)” button in the top left corner.

Note: if you’ve selected an OS other than Raspbian, or are using NOOBS Lite, then there will be added installation time, as the distribution you’ve selected has to be downloaded before installation.

Step 8: A warning will pop-up that states all of the files on the micro-SD will be overwritten. If you’ve formatted the card previously there are no files currently anyways, so it is fine to continue by clicking “Yes”.

Step 9: It’s time to wait! It should take around 15-20 Minutes to completely install, so there isn’t much of a point to committing to watching the progress bar unless you like it.

Note: Again, if you’ve chosen to download another OS than it will take a substantially longer amount of time to install, completely dependent on your Internet speed.

Step 10: If/When Raspbian (or other OS) is installed successfully, then a pop-up will come up on the screen stating that it was successfully installed. You can click “Ok”.

Step 11: The Raspberry Pi will automatically restart at this time and begin to load Raspbian (or other OS). Once it has finished loading the new OS, then you’re ready to get started!

All the best,

Castor

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