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Raspberry Pi – Tutorial 0 – Headless install

Installing Raspian OS to a Raspberry Pi without the need of a keyboard & mouse or even a TV/Monitor is called a headless install or Silent install.


To do this we do need a few things

Hardware :-

  • SD card minimum size 4Gb
  • PC with an SD card reader
  • Raspberry Pi B or B+
  • 5v Power supply
  • Ethernet cable

Software :-


  1. Format the SD card with SDFormatter4 set the options to :-
    • FULL(Overwrite) FORMATScreenshot 2015-01-10 15.03.57
  2. Copy the contents of the NOOBS zip to the root of the disk.
  3. On the SD card open the "os" folder.
  4. Delete everything except for the Raspbian folder.
  5. Open the Raspbian folder.
  6. Open the flavours.json file in your text editor.
  7. Remove the other "Flavours" so that only one set of options is left e.g.
  8. Save and close flavours.json.
  9. Return to the root of the SD card and open the recovery.cmdline file in your text editor.
  10. Add silentinstall to the end of the command on line 1 e.g.
  11. Save and close recovery.cmdline.
  12. Insert the SD card into the Raspberry Pi.
  13. Plug one end of the ethernet cable into the Raspberry Pi and the other into your router.
  14. Plug-in the 5v power supply to the mains and the raspberry Pi.
  15. Wait, it should take about 20 minutes from power on to first ping but I'd give it about 1 hour to be sure.
  16. Locate your Raspberry Pi's IP address on your local network by one of the following methods :-
    • your home router
      Log in with the credentials you were given when you bought it and find a page listing all devices connected to your network. On my SKY Broadband router it shows as -
      Screenshot 2015-01-10 18.00.32
    • LanSpy
      LanSpy is a set of network utilities that you can use to scan the devices attached to your networkScreenshot 2015-01-10 18.34.28
    • Fing
      This is my favourite option, it does the same as LanSpy but from your Android device and is way faster.2015-01-10 18.07.55
  17. Once you have Raspberry Pi's IP address open a new PuTTY window and log-in to your fresh new install using SSH and the username and password pi/raspberry [How to connect with SSH]Screenshot 2015-01-10 18.43.57


The Raspberry Pi is very capable home server and as such need never be connected to a screen, keyboard, or mouse.

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