Setting up a raspberry Pi

This was originally a blog post, but it’s easier to track here as a dedicated page.

If you get a new Raspberry Pi and it doesn’t come with a prepared micro SD card then you will need to make one. For this project, I am using a SanDisk Ultra 32GB card as that is what I have on had. However most 16GB or larger ones should be fine.

There are plenty of guides already online for this, the simplest is probably just to use the special installer provided by the Raspberry Pi Organization itself.

For me I use the more basic approach of formatting the micro SD card as FAT32, which you can do easily from Windows.

If you have problems formatting (or reformatting) an old memory card, try the very powerful InitDisk from Steve Gibson of GRC.

For me I use the more basic approach of formatting the micro SD card as FAT32, which you can do easily from Windows.

You then download the relevant zip file from the Raspberry Pi Orgs Noobs Page There are a few options here, but for most cases the “NOOBS Offline and network install” image is best as that gives more flexibility for you in the future, and minimises later downloads. This will still take a few minutes even on a fast link.

Once the image is downloaded (as a Zip file), you can extract it, copying all the files to the newly formatted Micro SD card.

With all the files copied, eject the card from the PC and insert into the Raspberry Pi itself. At this point make sure you have mouse, keyboard and screen attached. For most projects WiFi is fine for the networking, but as this project is mainly for the Open Canary, I recommend also attaching a wired network cable.

You are now ready to power it up and get it installed.

If all is okay you will be presented with a screen allowing you to select the OS to Install. Here you want to pick the “Raspberry Pi OS full (32-bit)” version. This will give the most options for now.

Note: If you are using a Pi 4 you might get the options of 32 or 64 bit, for now I am using a Pi 3 so only have the 32 bit option. In a later session I will try installing on a Pi 4 and see if the 64 bit version can be used.

Tick the box (you did remember to attach a mouse didn’t you). Then select Install and confirm the installation. This will take another long time (about 15 minutes for me) as there is a lot to install, to some extent this time is dependent on the SD card speed, so a slow card will take longer.

Following the install the Pi should reboot to a black screen before starting the bootup (so don’t worry).

You should be presented with a desktop UI and a prompt to set up a few things.

  • Country, Language and Timezone – set these are you would like, but I recommend keeping to English for the language.
  • Use US Keyboard – set this if you have a US keyboard (as I do).

For some projects you may wish to make these other than your local cases, but for the Open Canary it will be key to make it look as normal on your network as possible, so set it to match the majority of your devices.

You will then be asked to set the password, set this to something useful and memorable (or better use a password manager) but do make it something you can type.

Then you will be prompted about a black border. On most screens (non CRT based) this will be visible, so tick the box as this will give you more space to work.

If you are using WiFi then select you network, if wired then skip the network selection.

Allow it to do the update as there is nearly always newer packages to be installed.

For normal use, you can now just restart and you will have a running Raspberry Pi to play with. However for the Open Canary we should set a few other things to make it easier for us later.

Click on the upper left Raspberry Icon and select “Preferences -> Raspberry Pi Configuration”.

Change the Boot from “To Desktop” and make it “to CLI” this will allow us to have a full screen console rather than GUI.

Then select Interfaces and enable the “SSH” option, as this will allow us to connect to the Pi via the network, this is optional but I like to be able to use my main keyboard for use.

Now reboot and you should find yourself in a full screen console with a “pi@raspberrypi: ~ $” prompt.

Congratulations you are ready to go.

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