Easy Guide To Installing NOOBS Raspberry Pi

In this tutorial, we will be showing you how you can use NOOBS with your Raspberry Pi to easily and quickly install an operating system.

Installing NOOBS Raspberry Pi

NOOBS stands for New Out Of the Box Software and is an easy to use bootloader for the Raspberry Pi.

Using NOOBS, you can easily install numerous operating systems to your Raspberry Pi with ease.

You can even use NOOBS to install multiple operating systems to your Raspberry Pi and to also boot from them.

This means using NOOBS, you can have more than one operating system installed to your Raspberry Pi while also being able to choose which OS your boot in to.

Installing NOOBS to your Raspberry Pi

If you would like to watch a video showcasing how to use NOOBS on your Raspberry Pi, you can check out the video below.

Alternatively, you can read our written guide below.

Bought a NOOBS pre-installed SD Card?

If you would prefer not to have to download and copy over the NOOBS files yourself, it is possible to purchase a card with it pre-installed.

Most stores that stock the Raspberry Pi tends to also offer SD cards with NOOBS pre-installed.

For example, you can purchase an SD card with NOOBS from Amazon.

If you have NOOBS installed on an SD card already, you can skip to the first boot with NOOBS section.

Downloading NOOBS for your Raspberry Pi

Before you can proceed, you will need to download NOOBS so that you can copy the files over to your Raspberry Pi’s SD Card.

1. Before you begin, you must be using a computer that has access to a Micro SD Card Reader.

If you don’t already have one, you can purchase an SD Card Reader fairly cheaply.

2. Now we need to download NOOBS itself from the Raspberry Pi Foundations NOOBS download page.

NOOBS Raspberry Pi Download Page

On this page, you will see that there are two different versions that you can download.

Most people should download the standard version of NOOBS.

NOOBS The first version is called “NOOBS“. NOOBS contains both the Raspbian and LibereELEC operating systems.

You should pick “NOOBS” if you are just after Raspbian or LibereELEC or have no access to the network from your Raspberry Pi.

NOOBS Lite The second version is called “NOOBS Lite“.

NOOBS Lite only contains the operating system installer itself.

You will need network access from your Raspberry Pi for this image to work.

Both versions of NOOBS will offer the same selection of operating systems if you have network access.

3. Once you have finished downloading NOOBS to your computer, extract it somewhere safe.

You will need to copy these files to your SD card later on in this guide.

Formatting the Pi’s SD Card

Before we copy NOOBS over to the SD card, we should first format it.

Formatting the SD card ensures that we have a clean slate to work from.

1. First, we need to download a tool to format the SD card. For this tutorial, we will be making use of “SD Formatter” from the SD Association’s website.

Download and install the software to your Windows or Mac device.

2. Now insert your SD card into your computer.

Please take note of the drive letter (E.G., G:\) that your computer allocates to it as formatting a drive will wipe all data on it.

3. Now launch the SD Formatter on your device.

Within this software, you need to select the drive letter for your SD card (1.). Double-check to ensure you are selecting the correct drive as this process is not reversible.

Once you are sure you have the correct drive selected, click the “Format” button (2.) to format the drive.

SD Formatter SD Card Settings
4. Once the formatting has finished successfully, you should see a message similar to the one below appear.

SD Card Format Successful

You are now safe to proceed to copy the NOOBS files over to your Pi’s SD card.

Copying NOOBS to the Raspberry Pi’s SD Card

Your next step is to copy the NOOBs files you extracted earlier to your SD card.

1. Open up your SD card on your computer, then drag all the files from where you extracted NOOBS to it.

2. Once the files have finished copying over to your SD card, it’s contents should end up looking a bit like what we have below.

NOOBS copied to Pi SD Card

Your First Boot with NOOBS

This section will give you an idea of what to expect when your first start NOOBS on your Raspberry Pi.

1. Before you proceed, make sure that you have a keyboard, mouse, and HDMI cable plugged into your Raspberry Pi.

2. Now, plug your SD card into the Raspberry Pi then plug in the power cable.

Plugging in the power cable will immediately cause your Raspberry Pi to start up.

3. Upon your Raspberry Pi starting up, you will be greeted with the following screen.

There are a few things you need to make a note of.

If you want to access additional operating systems, you can connect to a WiFi network by clicking the “WiFi Networks” button (1.).

You can see what operating systems are available straight from your SD card by the icons. If the OS is available locally, you will see an icon of an SD card (2.)

Alternatively, if NOOBS will need to download an operating system over the network, it will show an ethernet cable icon (3.)

NOOBS Installation Screen Rundown

4. Enabling WiFi within the NOOBS interface is a fairly simple process.

Start by clicking the WiFi network you want to connect to (1.).

Then enter the password for your WiFi network in the provided field (2.)

To finalize the connection to your WiFi network, click the “OK” button (3.).

NOOBS WiFi Settings

If the connection was successful, you should now see a list of operating systems that NOOBS can download.

5. Once you have found the operating system you would wish to install to your Raspberry Pi, click the checkbox next to it (1.).

With an operating system selected, click the “Install (i)” button (2.).

Installing Raspbian with NOOBS

6. You will see a warning that the data on the SD card will be overwritten.

To proceed you need to click click the “Yes” button.

NOOBS SD Card Wipe Warning

7. The installation process will take some time, so sit back and relax.

NOOBS Installation progress screen

8. When NOOBS has finished installing the operating system, you will be greeted by the following message.

Just click the “OK” button or press the ENTER key to boot into it.

NOOBS Operating System Installed Successfully
From here, you can begin getting started with your Raspberry Pi.

Hopefully, at this point, you will now have NOOBS successfully installed to your Raspberry Pi.

You should also have an understanding of how to make use of NOOBS to install operating systems for your Pi.

If you have come across any issues or want to leave some feedback, then please feel free to drop a comment below.

7 Comments

  1. Stephen Guptill on

    Is it possible to install multiple OS’s on one SD card and select at boot?

    I would like NOOBS, Commodor Pi, and Android all on my boot options.

    1. Marco on

      Yes. You will have a boot menu when you turn on or restart your pi

  2. Jordan on

    I followed the instructions, but when I put the SD card in the raspberry pi and turned it on, the screen remained white and nothing happened. Did I do something wrong when formatting the SD card or downloading NOOBS?

    1. Gus on

      Hi Jordan,

      That sounds very strange, it is possible something went wrong. I would suggest trying again from step 1.

      If that doesn’t work then you can try writing the image Raspbian directly to the SD-Card. The Chromium OS tutorial has the steps but instead of using the ChromiumOS image use the Rasbpian image that can be downloaded over at the Raspberry Pi’s official website.

      I hope that helps!

    2. Paul Molefe on

      Please advice for a very basic course on Linux and python. I have just started in The Raspberry space

  3. Joshua on

    Hi thanks for the guide,

    I have look at a few webpages like this one on setting up a raspberry pi
    and I noticed that you didn’t download win32-diskimager.
    Will I get the same results if I just copy the files instead of imaging them

    Thanks
    Joshua D

    1. Gus on

      Hi Joshua!

      When you download NOOBS you will get a ZIP file. The contents of this zip can be copied straight to the SD Card after formatting. When you boot the Pi for the first time NOOBS will run and set everything up for you. You will then be able to select an OS to install.

      If you opt to install the standalone Raspbian image (Without NOOBS) then yes you will need to download the win32diskimager.

      I hope this makes sense!

      Let me know if you need any further help!

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