The above is my first boot up of my Raspberry Pi 3, as purchased in January 2017.
I am writing this because so much of the information you can find on Google about the Raspberry Pi is actually outdated with regards to what you get when you order one in 2017.
In my case, I got a starter kit including an SD card, preloaded with NOOBS (which stands for “New Out Of the Box Software”).
First thing to watch out for: you want to get a Class 10 SD card. These are the fastest available at this time. You can identify the card by its “C10” logo (or better said: a “10” with a “C” wrapped around it).
NOOBS is supposed to give you a choice of operating systems… except when it doesn’t. And in my case it really didn’t seem to offer any choice. When I booted up the Raspberry Pi for the first time, it booted straight into some version of Raspbian (the “standard” OS for the Raspberry Pi, based on Debian 8).
I’m not sure which version of Debian it really was because I could never get back the exact same one later (after installing something else…)
Boot into Recovery mode
So here’s what you need to know if you actually want to choose which OS you want in NOOBS: Reboot the Raspberry Pi and hold down the Shift key. This will launch the Recovery mode of NOOBS and actually let you install the OS you want… except when it won’t let you…
When I first did this, it offered my only one choice which was Raspbian.
After some research I found that this is normal. Only Raspbian is included by default…
Give NOOBS internet access!
In order to get other OSes, you actually need to connect to the Internet so that NOOBS can download additional OS images.
It’s interesting the note that NOOBS can easily connect to WiFi without you entering a WiFi password. If your WiFi router has a WPS pairing button, press it and tell NOOBS to auto-pair.
Once NOOBS is connected to the internet, you actually get a wider selection of OSes to choose from:
You can install more than one and NOOBS will act as a multi-boot loader at every restart.
There is a catch though: every time you want to install an additional OS or remove one you don’t need, NOOBS will wipe out everything you have on your SD card and re-install everything from scratch. That’s the moment I realized I would probably need several SD cards to swap out and be able to keep some stuff safe while experimenting with other OS packages. (I guess backup/restores would also work, but it would not be very convenient…)
I wish there’d be some system to have, say 4 partitions on the SD card, and being able to change the OS on each partition without affecting the others.
The other thing I have wrestled with a little bit was to find the root password on Raspbian.
By default, you connect as user
pi and your password is
You can perform a series of system tasks by prefixing them with
sudo. However, there are many times where you actually need to log in as root. But there is no root password!
So you actually have to create your own root password by typing
sudo passwd root. After that, enter a new password for root and you’ll be able to use it from that point on.
Ok, that’s all for now. Back to trying out OSes…
Comments from long ago:
Comment from: alan new
This is a wonderful exercise, I only wish to equal your feat soon, thanks alan.