Setting Up Your SD card and OS with NOOBS

So, you have all the hardware you need to get going with a Raspberry Pi, and now, unless you’ve purchased a preloaded SD card, you’ll need to install the software OS. This whole process takes about 10 minutes, after you have downloaded NOOBS, of course. This is also where having an adapter, either USB or SD, to get your Micro SD card into the computer is absolutely necessary.

For most new users, the best choice is to simply download NOOBS and, specifically, install the Raspbian OS. NOOBS comes preloaded with many Raspberry Pi compatible OS, Rasbian being the most versatile and popular.  We will go over the different OSs in another post.

First, you’ll have to format your new SD card to be compatible. The following instructions are easily found online, and are simply a commented copy of the NOOBS readme file.


1. Insert an SD card that is 4GB or greater in size into your computer.


2. Format the SD card using the platform-specific instructions below:

SD Formatter

a. Windows

i. Download the SD Association’s Formatting Tool from

ii. Install and run the Formatting Tool on your machine

iii. Set “FORMAT SIZE ADJUSTMENT” option to “ON” in the “Options” menu

iv. Check that the SD card you inserted matches the one selected by the Tool

v. Click the “Format” button

b. Mac

i. Download the SD Association’s Formatting Tool from

ii. Install and run the Formatting Tool on your machine

iii. Select “Overwrite Format”

iv. Check that the SD card you inserted matches the one selected by the Tool

v. Click the “Format” button

c. Linux

i. We recommend using gparted (or the command line version parted)

ii. Format the entire disk as FAT

iii. Extract the files contained in this NOOBS zip file.

NOOBS copy

iv. Copy the extracted files onto the SD card that you just formatted so that this file is at the root directory of the SD card. Please note that in some cases it may extract the files into a folder, if this is the case then please copy across the files from inside the folder rather than the folder itself.

v. Insert the SD card into your Pi and connect the power supply.

** Please note, when you format your SD card you will be wiping all of the information on it.**

Your Pi will now boot into NOOBS and should display a list of operating systems that you can choose to install.

**For most applications, and for beginners,the Raspbian OS will probably do the trick. Not only that, but it comes loaded with a GUI to make a new user feel comfortable. Very important: After you install Rasbian and the board reboots, it will prompt you in a command line for a username/password. The defaults are Username: pi // Password: raspberry unless you change the password in the configuration. Also, when you type startx in the Raspbian command line and press enter, you will be taken to the graphical user interface (GUI), which is familiar as a Mac or Windows home screen where you can use a keyboard and mouse to access applications.**

What you should see when you boot the Raspberry Pi with the NOOBS file in it for the first time. Have at least a USB keyboard connected.


Your best bet is probably Raspbian.20150506_155309



Selecting option 2 allows you to change the password (Recommended) 20150506_160559

Option 3 allows you to change whether you want to boot to the command line or directly to the GUI. Type in startx on the command line to get to the GUI.20150506_16061620150506_160628

Once you finish up the config, your Raspberry Pi will reboot and, once you open the GUI, this is what you will see.20150506_160734




About pythagoraspberry

We are a team working on learning about and documenting our experiences using the Raspberry Pi system. Having had much trouble finding answers to basic problems, we hope that this website will be of use to many people getting started. We look forward to helping and being helped; inspiring and being inspired.
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