02) The Operating System

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Install the Operating System

This page describes downloading and installing the operating system needed for your Raspberry Pi.

You will need a MicroSD card for you Raspberry Pi with the Operating system on it.  You can purchase a MicroSD card from various commercial sites with the operating system already installed but it is not difficult to download and install it yourself providing that your home computer has an SD reader.

To install the operating system yourself, download the latest Raspbian file from:


You can download NOOBS and install it on to your SD card.  NOOBS is an operating system installer which makes the installation process a bit easier.  Or you can download the Raspbian image and install onto your SD card.

Formatting your SD Card

If the SD card has been used before, you will have to reformat the card before you do anything else.  To format the SD Card on a Windows computer,  you can use SD Memory Card Formatter which you can download from here:


Note: Be careful when you use this utility as you could format the wrong drive on your computer.

Installing NOOBS

Unzip the download file to get the files for the SD card and then copy the files onto your SD Card using the file explorer.  The extracted files may be inside a folder, in this case copy the files form inside the folder rather than the folder itself.

Eject the SD card and insert into your Raspberry Pi.

When you insert your SD Card, attach the PSU, Keyboard, Mouse and Monitor – the Raspberry Pi will start up. Select the Raspbian operating system. It will take you through a series of set up stages which will update the software to the latest version, and ask you various questions on the required configuration for language settings, keyboard type and so on.

Installing Raspbian from a download

You can install Raspbian directly on your Raspberry Pi instead of installing through NOOBS.

You will need an imaging software for the SD card.

Win32DiskImager is the usual choice for Windows PC and can be downloaded from:


Download Win32DiskImager and unzip the file.  You can run the exe file even from a USB drive.

Download Raspbian and Unzip the downloaded file to access the image.

You may have to format the SD Card first.  Once formatted, you can use Win32DiskImager to write the  Raspbian image onto the SD Card.

Select the image file you extracted and select the drive letter of the SD card in the device box.

Make sure that you have selected the correct drive letter.

Click Write and wait for the image to be written to the SD card.

Exit the imaging software, eject the SD card and insert into your Raspberry Pi.

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