How to Set Up a Headless Raspberry Pi, Without Ever Attaching a Monitor

Raspberry Pis are so handy as a result of they are affordable and small, however connecting one to its personal track, keyboard and mouse calls for much more house and cash. In case you are simply seeking to program at the Pi or use it to regulate electronics corresponding to lighting, motors and sensors, there is no wish to attach it to a show or enter units as a result of you’ll regulate the gadget remotely, the usage of a VNC or SSH consumer for your primary computer. We name this screenless set up a  headless Raspberry Pi setup.

Via default, the Raspberry Pi’s professional running gadget, Raspberry Pi OS (previously referred to as Raspbian), installs with all kinds of faraway get admission to disabled. However the excellent news is that you do not wish to hook up with a track and keyboard with a purpose to flip them on. Via following the directions beneath, you’ll create a headless Raspberry Pi that is in a position for faraway get admission to ahead of you boot it up for the first actual time. If in case you have a track and keyboard readily available, you’ll additionally see our information on The best way to Set Up a Raspberry Pi for the First Time.

Putting in Raspberry Pi OS on Your microSD card

1. Insert a microSD card into your computer. Your card must be 8GB or better (the lite model of Raspberry Pi OS will use much less house). We now have an inventory of the very best microSD playing cards for Raspberry Pi that will help you make a selection one that optimizes efficiency.

2. Obtain, set up and run Raspberry Pi Imager (opens in new tab)

3. Click on the Select OS button. A menu seems.


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4. Choose your OS. Your only option for the general public is Raspberry Pi OS (32-bit). Alternatively, when you’ve got a Pi 3 or 4, you’ll use the 64-bit model which is underneath “Pi OS (different). There also are different possible choices.


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5. Click on Select Garage and choose your card from the menu. 


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6. Click on the settings button or hit CTRL + Shift + X to deliver up the settings menu.


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A menu seems.

7. Toggle set hostname and trade the hostname if you wish to have your tool to be named the rest rather then “raspberrypi.” 

Set hostname

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8. Toggle allow SSH to on and choose “Person password authentication.” 

Enable SSH

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9. Set a username and password on your Pi. Word that when you use the password “raspberry” with username “pi,” you can get a caution message while you log in, recommending (however now not forcing you) that you just trade the password.


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10. Set your Wi-Fi community’s SSID, password and nation. Then click on Save. The rustic normally defaults to “GB” (Nice Britain) so, if you’re within the U.S., you’ll have to scroll down a in point of fact lengthy approach to get the rustic code you wish to have. 


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11. Click on Write and click on Sure if requested whether or not you’re positive you wish to have to proceed.

click write

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The gadget will now take a couple of mins to download the OS and write it on your card. 


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When it is completed, you’ll pop your card right into a Raspberry Pi, boot it up, wait a couple of seconds for it to get onto the community and try to log in by the use of SSH, supplied that you are the usage of a Wi-Fi community and each the Pi and your consumer PC are hooked up to it.

Enhancing Wi-Fi on a Prewritten Card

Shall we say you already wrote a card, however forgot to go into the right kind Wi-Fi credentials in Raspberry Pi Imager. Or most likely you moved to another Wi-Fi community. You’ll be able to nonetheless trade the Wi-Fi community, with out attaching a display and keyboard to the Pi.

To setup a Wi-Fi connection for your headless Raspberry Pi, open the microSD card for your PC. Then create a textual content document known as wpa_supplicant.conf, and position it within the root listing of the microSD card. You are going to want the next textual content within the document.

ctrl_interface=DIR=/var/run/wpa_supplicant GROUP=netdev
update_config=1 community={

Trade the rustic to “GB” for the United Kingdom or to any other nation code for a unique nation, and input your precise SSID and password. Upon boot up, Raspberry Pi OS will log you into that community. Alternatively, in case you are on a public Wi-Fi community that calls for you to click on “Good enough” on a dash web page ahead of you get Web, this technique would possibly not paintings.

Favor to make use of Ethernet? If you happen to plug your Raspberry Pi immediately to a stressed community, you must be capable to get admission to it via its identify (raspberrypi or raspberrypi.native) with out converting every other recordsdata.

Direct USB Connection (Pi 0 / 0 W Handiest)

My favourite approach to attach is by the use of an instantaneous USB connection, plugging my Pi 0 W immediately right into a port on my PC. This system is superb, as a result of it really works regardless of the place you’re (despite the fact that there is no to be had Wi-Fi), and it supplies each energy and a connection on your Pi, over a unmarried cable. Alternatively, you’ll handiest do that on a Pi 0 or 0 W.

1. Open the document config.txt within the root listing of the micro SD card, and upload the road dtoverlay=dwc2 to the very backside of the document and save.

2. Open cmdline.txt and upload the textual content modules-load=dwc2,g_ether after the phrase rootwait, and save the document. There aren’t any linebreaks on this document.

3. Obtain and set up Bonjour Print Services and products (opens in new tab) from (when you’ve got Home windows). It kind of feels atypical that you’d want an Apple program to get admission to a Pi from Home windows, however this is helping your PC see the Pi. Forget about the identify; you might be now not the usage of this for printing.

4. Attach the micro USB cable to the port classified “USB” at the Pi 0. This is not going to paintings when you hook up with the port classified “PWR.” Alternatively, the “USB” port can even provide energy on your Pi, so you do not wish to attach a devoted energy twine.

Direct Ethernet Connection

In case your PC has a spare Ethernet port or you’ve gotten an Ethernet-to-USB dongle, you’ll use a community cable to move immediately out of your Pi on your computer. Simply just be sure you have Bonjour put in for your PC and SSH enabled at the Pi (see above). Then, you’ll simply attach the two units over Ethernet.

If you wish to have the Raspberry Pi to get its Web connection out of your PC over the Ethernet port, you wish to have to do the next in Home windows 10 or 11:

1. Navigate to the Community Connections menu, which is a part of the old-school Keep watch over Panel. You’ll be able to get to this display via going to Settings->Community & Web->Wi-Fi after which clicking “Trade Adapter Settings” at the proper aspect of the display. This works whether or not you’re sharing an Web connection that comes on your PC from Wi-Fi or from Ethernet.


2. Proper-click at the adapter that is hooked up to the Web, and choose houses.

3. Allow “Permit different community customers to glue” at the “Sharing” tab.


4. Choose the Ethernet port that is hooked up to the Raspberry Pi from the “House networking connection” menu, and click on Good enough.


Connecting to Your Pi by the use of SSH

After getting the Pi hooked up on your community or immediately on your PC, you can wish to determine an SSH connection.

1. Obtain and set up Putty if you do not have already got it. Putty is the main SSH consumer for Home windows.

2. Input the hostname (via default raspberrypi or raspberrypi.native ) because the cope with you want to hook up with in Putty, and click on Open. You normally wish to upload the .native if the Pi is immediately hooked up on your PC by the use of USB or Ethernet cable.

3. Click on Good enough when you get a safety caution alert. It is not an issue.

4. Input your username and password.

Now you might be hooked up on the command advised, however if you wish to get admission to the GUI, entire with a desktop and floating home windows, you can wish to allow VNC.

Enabling and Connecting over VNC

1. Input sudo raspi-config on the command advised.

A configuration app opens.

2. Choose Interfacing Choices (quantity 5 at the record)

3. Choose VNC (quantity 3 at the menu)

4. Choose Sure. 

5. Hit Input to recognize the VNC server is enabled.

6. Choose End

In your PC:

1. Obtain, set up and release VNC Viewer.

2. Choose New connection from the Report menu.

3. Input the host identify (ex: raspberrypi.native) within the “VNC Server” box. If this doesn’t paintings, take a look at once more with out the .native within the identify.

4. Click on Good enough.

5. Double-click at the connection icon to glue.

6. Click on Good enough if you’re proven a safety caution.

7. Input the Pi’s username and password when precipitated. 


Your Raspberry Pi desktop will then seem in a window for your primary computer’s desktop. You are able to regulate the whole thing from there.

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