The Raspberry Pi Zero sold out within hours when it launched on the cover of ‘The MagPi Magazine’ last week. If you were lucky enough to get your hands on an issue or decided to subscribe to the magazine to ensure you received a Pi Zero with the promised print re-run, you’ll want to know how to get up and running.
The first thing you’ll need to do is purchase a couple of accessories, a microSD Card for the operating system, a mciro-USB charger to provide the Raspberry Pi Zero with power and to make things easier for the install setup, a USB Hub to allow you to connect a WiFi dongle, keyboard and mouse and a Mini-HDMI Adaptor to connect to your TV or monitor.
To begin with, plug in your USB Hub, keyboard and mouse, your WiFi dongle and your Mini-HDMI. For now, don’t plug in the power.
Next, you’ll need to format your memory card in FAT format using the free software, SD Formatter 4. It’s available for Windows or Mac.
Once your memory card has been formatted, you’ll need to download NOOBS (New Out Of the Box Software). For ease, download the full version of NOOBS rather than the Lite version. This free download is 1GB in size.
When the download has completed, extract the zip file contents and drag them on to your memory card.
You can now plug the memory card into your Raspberry Pi Zero and power it up.
The Raspberry Pi Zero will now boot up and display a window containing the operating systems that can be installed. Tick the box next to ‘Raspbian’ and click ‘Install’.
The install will now begin, but may take a while on the Pi Zero.
When the install completes, the default Raspbian configuration menu will be displayed.
You’ll now be able to set the time, date and your region. If you always want to boot straight in to the GUI (Graphical User Interface), select ‘boot_behaviour‘. Once you have made the changes to suit your personal preferences, tab to and hit return.
At this point, it would be advisable to ensure you have the latest software available. Simply type:
- sudo apt-get update
- sudo apt-get upgrade
Finally, its worth while making sure the Linux distribution is up-to-date. Again, simply type:
- sudo apt-get dist-upgrade
This final step may take a while. If you’re asked to confirm anything, just hit ‘y‘ on the keyboard.
Every now and again it would be worth running these commands to ensure your Raspberry Pi Zero is always up to date.
If you ever need to get back to this menu, open the terminal, and type in the following:
- sudo raspi-config
Raspbian will create a default user account for you with the following credentials:
- Username: pi
- Password: raspberry
If you’ve never used a Linux based machine before, you’ll notice when typing your password, nothing is shown on screen. This is normal.
You’ll now be able to load the GUI type: ‘startx‘ and hit return.
One the GUI loads, you’ll be able to explore the features this tiny computer offers. You’ll also find a series of projects over at the official Raspberry Pi site.