How to Setup a Raspberry Pi from Windows

My friend lent me his Model B Raspberry Pi (the one with 2 USB ports and Ethernet) a few weeks ago and today I decided to set it up.

The first thing I must note is that it is not a $35 computer, if you count all the add-ons that are required to make it work.


The RPi has three ways to connect to a video output, including HDMI, DSI, and composite video. Naturally my monitors do not have HDMI, so I had to purchase a HDMI-to-DVI cable. $30 from Best Buy (clearly a misnomer).

Next I had to purchase a SD card. RPi recommends at least 2gb but states that more is better, so I went with a SanDisk 16GB SDHC card. $35 from Best Buy.

A SD reader/writer is required to flash a RPi operating system onto the SD card, so I picked up one from IOGEAR. $10 from Best Buy.

The RPi requires a MicroUSB charger that can give 0.7Amp at 5v. I had to pick one of those up as my other chargers give only 0.5Amp. At BestBuy the only one I found at 5v was 2.1Amp. I was unsure as to whether or not the RPi could handle that, so I asked a question at the RPI stackexchange and was assured that there was no reason to worry; in fact 2.1Amp would be better than 0.7Amp when I start connecting power hungry peripherals in. $22 from Best Buy

I also got a Belkin N150 Wi-Fi USB Adapter for $30.

The subtotal was $127, but then the State of California wanted to punish my materialism by levying an extra $11, making a total of $138 for the RPi accessories!! I should have bought the accessories online and out of state, but I was anxious to get everything up and running today.

Downloads Required:

Raspbian Operating System (A Linux distribution (a fork of Debian) for the RPi)

A SD card formatter

A program to flash the Raspbian software onto the SD Card

I went to the RaspberryPi download site and downloaded the half GB zip file (or torrent) of the Raspbian Wheezy distro, and extracted the image file. In order to format the SD, I downloaded an SD Formatter from the SD Association. In order to flash the SD, I downloaded a copy of Image Writer for Windows from Launchpad (click External Download).

Setting up the Raspberry Pi from Windows

To format the SD card, put my SD card in the SD slot, opened the SDFormatter program, selected the correct drive, and clicked the option button to change "FORMAT SIZE ADJUSTMENT" to on, as per the RPi Quick Start Instructions (pg 3).

However when I clicked on my G drive, Windows told me it needed to be formatted again. After wasting an hour trying to figure out what was wrong, I realized that my laptop had a built in SD reader (meaning I wasted $10.85). I put the SD card in the built in SD reader and formatted it again, and my G drive became accessible. The IOGEAR SD reader seems not to work.

After formatting the SD Card with a single click through the SD Formatter program, I opened the Image Writer for Windows program, located the .img file for Raspbian, verified the correct drive, and clicked the Write button:

After the write completed (5-7 minutes at 4Mbps), my G drive was then renamed "boot (G:)" and had the following files in it:

I plugged the SD card into the RPi:


and attached the mouse, keyboard, and HDMI-to-DVI cables as well. The RPi does not have an "On" button, and is turned on when the MicroUSB is connected. I plugged it in, and it booted up and landed on a configuration screen similar to the following:


The RPi will not make use of the additional space on an SD card over 2g by default, so I hit enter on the first option "Expand Filesystem". I changed the password for the default pi user using the second option. I enabled Boot to Desktop with the third option. When I hit Finish, the RPi restarted and landed on the desktop:


I plugged unplugged my keyboard from the USB and replaced it with the Wi-fi dongle. I clicked the WiFi Config icon on the desktop and frantically clicked around until the Wi-Fi started to work.

Edit: I purchased a second RPi and decided to try to set it up only using SSH-- no keyboard or monitor plugged in. To do this, I plugged the SD card into the RPi after writing the Raspbian image to it, and connected the RPi to my router and a power outlet.

I went to the homepage for my router (Cisco/Linksys E1200), which I found by opening up a command prompt and typing in "ipconfig", looking for the value of Default Gateway, which for me was On the webpage, I clicked on the Status tab, the Local Network sub-tab, then the DCHP Client Table button.


I then opened a command prompt and issued "putty -ssh" which was the IP address of the raspberry pi. (If you don't have putty, A) you are a noob, and B) download it from here.) I logged in with username "pi" and password "raspberry". Immediately after this I issued "sudo raspi-config" and was taken to the configuration screen as seen above, and followed the instructions as above. This time however, I did change the hostname to raspberrypi1 to distinguish it from my other raspberry pi.

Check here to enable WiFi for the Raspberry Pi.

After this I enabled SSH so the RPi wouldn't hog my third monitor. (edit: this should actually be on by default).

But SSH only lets you access the console, so I enabled Remote Desktop to the RPi.

Next I installed a LAMP stack on the RPi.

R (a statistical program) is always necessary.


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