Be a NOOBS v1.3 beta tester!

Updated to add: We’ve had some issues accepting comments for this post (blame Eben, who, unbeknown to the rest of us, was doing something he thought was clever to the WordPress database). Comments are open again: please pile in!

Liz: Here’s a post from Rob Bishop. Read it thoroughly if you’d like to be a NOOBS v1.3 beta tester – and get downloading!

Earlier in the year we released our New Out of Box Software (known as NOOBS), which was designed to make it easier to install operating systems for the Raspberry Pi without having to worry about manually imaging your SD card unless you explicitly wanted to. After a really positive response to this from the community, we’ve been working hard to make NOOBS even more powerful without compromising on its ease of use and intuitive interface.

The ultimate aim for NOOBS is to make it simple for anyone to get going on a Pi – regardless of their level of prior knowledge. We hope to do this through providing intuitive options for setting up everything from language and keyboard layout through to getting your display working and installing an OS. NOOBS isn’t about “dumbing down” the Pi: it’s about unlocking its potential and making computing even more accessible by breaking down the effort barrier that stops people from ever getting started.

I’m really pleased that today we are ready to show the work that we’ve been doing to move us closer to that aim, and can announce the beta release of the next version of NOOBS.

Given that NOOBS is aimed at those who are complete beginners to both computing and the Pi, we know that it’s imperative that the software is as reliable and robust as possible. This means that we need your help! In order to ensure that we only recommend stable, tested software to beginners, we’re initially launching this release of NOOBS in beta to the community, and will continue to recommend using the v1.2.1 release for those new to the Pi. That’s why the v1.3 beta release can only be downloaded using the links below, and why the v1.2.1 release is still shown at Pending any major issues arising during this initial feedback period, we can then transition to using the v1.3 release as the default version that we recommend to all users.

So, without further ado, here’s a short description of the awesome new features to be found in NOOBS v1.3:

– Multiple OSes can now be installed simultaneously and easily switched between at boot. Unlike BerryBoot, NOOBS allows each OS to use its own kernel meaning that non-Linux based OSes such as RISC OS are also supported.

– OSes can now be installed via the internet from our central OS repository (located at Note that this requires a wired Ethernet connection at present.

– OSes are now available in multiple “flavours” – including a “Boot to Scratch” option for Raspbian at launch. Additional flavours adding support for features such as Google’s Coder are also planned for the future. The ability to create different OS flavours means that OS maintainers can now provide tailored versions of their OSes that are designed to support a specific use case or user group. A great example of this is the “Boot to Scratch” option that provides a quick, easy and distraction-free route to running MIT’s Scratch program on the Pi with minimal set-up or prior knowledge.

– Creating a custom version of a NOOBS OS distribution that can be installed via NOOBS is now significantly easier (as is producing a NOOBS restorable backup of an existing OS install). This is due to NOOBS now populating partitions using compressed tarballs of filesystems rather than having to handle images directly. For instructions on how to do this please see:

– The keyboard layout can now be set via the NOOBS interface in the same way that language selection is currently handled.

– Language, keyboard and display mode settings now persist between subsequent NOOBS sessions and into installed OSes. This means that if, for example, you are wanting to set up a Pi to use to teach Primary school children in Germany while using a CRT monitor and German keyboard, you would simply boot into NOOBS, press “3” on your keyboard, select “Germany” from the language selector and then install “Boot to Scratch”. This would result in your Pi booting directly into the German-language Scratch interface with the display being output via composite PAL – no complex configuration file editing required.

About NOOBS v1.3

On first boot, NOOBS will format your SD card and allow you to select which OSes you want to install from a list. This OS list is automatically generated from both locally available OSes (i.e. those contained in the /os directory on disk) or those available from our remote repository (wired network connection required).

Only the latest version of each OS will ever be displayed meaning that you can be sure that you have installed the most up-to-date release of your selected OS.

On any subsequent boot you can then press the SHIFT key to enter the NOOBS interface and easily reinstall your choice of OSes.

The NOOBS interface provides the following functionality:

  • Install: Installs the selected OSes onto your SD card. Note that changing this selection erases any OSes currently installed.

  • Edit Config: Opens a text editor allowing the cmdline and config for the installed OS that is  currently highlighted in the OS list to be edited.

  • Online Help: [Networking Required] Opens a browser that displays the Raspberry Pi Forum ( ), allowing you to quickly access help and troubleshooting.

  • Exit: Quits NOOBS and reboots the Pi into the OS boot menu.

  • Language Selection: Allows you to select the language to be displayed.

  • Keyboard Layout Selection: Allows you to select the keyboard layout to be used.

  • Display Mode Selection: By default, NOOBS will output over HDMI at your display’s preferred resolution, even if no HDMI display is connected. If you do not see any output on your HDMI display or are using the composite output, press 1, 2, 3 or 4 on your keyboard to select HDMI preferred mode, HDMI safe mode, composite PAL mode or composite NTSC mode respectively.

Note that all user settings (language, keyboard layout, display mode) will persist between reboots and will also be automatically passed to the installed OSes. This means that if you can see the NOOBS interface on your display device then you should be able to see the OS CLI/GUI when it boots too! We’re very excited about this as it should make configuring the Pi to support your display device as easy as pressing 1,2,3 or 4 in the NOOBS interface rather than having to worry about changing config options.

OS Installation

Simply select the checkbox next to each OS you want to install using either a mouse or keyboard (arrow keys to traverse the list, enter to toggle the selected OS’s checkbox), then click the “Install” icon (or press “i” on your keyboard) to install the selection. The icons shown on the right of the list indicate whether the OS is being installed from the SD card (SD card icon) or from the online OS repository (Ethernet icon).

Online Help via Web Browser

The built-in Arora web browser allows you to easily get help via the Raspberry Pi Forums (wired network connection required).

Easy Config File Editor

The built-in config file editor allows you to edit the config file of the OS currently highlighted in the OS list. This allows you to easily add licence keys to different OS installs through the same interface.

Note that the output mode selected by the user through pressing one of number keys 1 to 4 (for HDMI preferred, HDMI VGA, Composite PAL and Composite NTSC respectively) will be automatically set in the config.txt files of your installed OSes. This means that you shouldn’t have to worry about manually changing your display settings to get your installed OS to display correctly on your display device.

Installer Slideshow

An installer slideshow guides you through your first steps with each OS while it installs.

OS Boot Selector

After multiple OSes have been installed, you can select which OS to boot through this selection window that is automatically displayed. NOOBS will remember your choice and boot this OS by default unless a different option has been selected within 10 seconds.

Note that if only one OS is installed then the boot selector will not be displayed and the OS will be automatically booted.

How to Download the NOOBS v1.3 Beta

NOOBS v1.3 Beta (pre-packaged with OSes ready to install) – Larger download (1GB), works offline

Download Link
SHA-1 Checksum 662e97d5e7b2e2ab82b5f92ccdb393d255d38be8
Bug Tracker

NOOBS v1.3 Beta ‘lite’ (network OS installation only) – Smaller download (20MB), requires Ethernet connection to internet

Download Link
SHA-1 Checksum 9556c64b70e139f90ceddfc905f3660223137c9e
Bug Tracker

Note: There is a known issue with the network install failing in rare cases with an error message reporting that the disk is inaccessible. If this occurs please restart installation after a reboot and let us know that it occurred.

We would ask for any testing feedback to be given via this forum thread. Please also feel free to ask questions concerning the new features in the comments below. As ever, please read the documentation before posting your question! :-)

If you’re an OS maintainer and would like to see your OS included in our online repository please email me at [email protected] so that I can provide the necessary documentation.

[Liz notes: huge thanks are due to Rob, who has been wearing his fingers to bloody nubbins to get NOOBS v1.3 ready. He’s been busy writing the rest of this post and is far too elegant and self-effacing to point out all the work he’s done, so I’ll do it for him. Thanks Rob!]

Special thanks go to all of the OS maintainers for working hard to support the new system, Floris Bos and those who helped with the alpha release testing. We also want to thank Liam and Pete at Mythic Beasts for helping us to make the network install functionality possible.


edwinj85 avatar

I know this is probably asking too much, but any chance of getting a debian headless server option for noobs? I rarely use any windowed programs and on smaller SD cards memory is at a premium,

Still, amazingly awesome work. Dual booting will be a doddle now :D

edwinj85 avatar

Sorry, I meant Raspbian!

Rob Bishop avatar

I think it would be reasonable to add a minimal Raspbian OS option in future but we don’t have it as an option at present.

edwinj85 avatar

Understandable. Resources are limited after all!

Whenever we get it, the community will be happy :)

Graham avatar

Me too! Would love to see a very stripped down console only version but with console apps [links / mc / alpine / moc etc] inspired by INX

Jim Manley avatar

Looking forward to trying out the new NOOBIE-DOOBIE-DOO, especially if you can switch between OSes, although it’s not clear whether user data survives between switches as long as an OS hasn’t been reinstalled. I assume that you need enough room for multiple OS installations, so a 4 GB card might not be big enough, depending on the distro (e.g., RISCOS is small, Raspbian is largest, etc.).

The minimal download option with network installation is just what the doctor ordered! Thanks very much for listening and then delivering that feature.

Hi-ho! Hi-ho! It’s off to download we gooooo!!! :lol:

Rob Bishop avatar

Hi Jim,

Hope it lives up to expectations!

Once an OS selection has been installed, switching between the installed OSes at boot will maintain state between sessions.

If a different OS selection is chosen then all data on the SD card will be overwritten and all state is lost.

Jim Manley avatar

Ah, just now saw the checkboxes for the distros to be installed in one swell foop (the technical term :D ) – very clever! I was wondering how you would manage rejiggering (another technical term) the partitions if an OS were installed after others in previous install sessions, but you took the smart way – you don’t rejigger anything at all!

I’m pretty sure when you said OS state is maintained that you meant at the file level upon OS switch, not RAM state. If anyone is looking for something to do, a sleep/hibernate alternative to shutdown would be high on our list. I realize this would need to be done per OS and would take much longer to save and restore than s shutdown and startup, but it would be very useful in restoring all of the windows/apps/files students last had open, saving class time. Thanks muchly for all that’s been added, in any case!

clive avatar

Rob — it is a thing of fulgent awesome.


Jimmy avatar

Would be cool to be able to include Googles New Coder in there.

Juergen avatar

“Unlike BerryBoot, NOOBS allows each OS to use its own kernel ” … I don’t understand. BerryBoot boots the relevant OS and whatever is started uses its own kernel … maybe it’s too early in the morning for me to think clearly …

AndrewS avatar

No it doesn’t – the way BerryBoot works is it effectively loads a different rootfs on top of BerryBoot’s own (Linux) kernel – it doesn’t allow different kernels per OS.

Werewolf avatar

I use berryboot, because it allows me to have the OS partions encrypted. :)

meltwater avatar

Really sounds good, shall ensure I give this a good try out.

Huge thanks to all the work that has gone into it and the inclusion of lots of features which people were asking for!

tzo avatar

Is possible control via HDMI CEC?

Rob Bishop avatar

Not at present.

Pyo avatar

Well that is so not true!
HDMI CEC is working with RasPi just fine!

Rob Bishop avatar

HDMI CEC cannot be used to control NOOBS (which was what I had assumed the OP was querying).

devtools.korzh avatar

Awesome work!!

ColinD avatar

Blimey that’s an excellent update to NOOBS. Especially like the multiple-OS-on-one-SD-card feature, which will make demos at events like Jams and Boot Camps much more straightforward (no longer need to cart a pile of SD cards around to switch OS to demo something else).

Kudos (or given that I’ll be purchasing large SD cards now: Pithos)

bluseychris avatar

Why is there still no install to memory stick option? That was part of why I used BerryBoot in the first place and I find they’ve a lot longer life than the SD Cards.

Rob Bishop avatar

Use of a USB attached storage device to host the OS would still require an SD card to be present. Instead of adding this feature, we’ve chosen instead to focus on increasing the reliability of using the SD card for this.

ramstrong avatar

I don’t see why a present SD booting SD card would be a hindrance in using attached USB storage device. I was planning to use SD only for /boot and swap, and attaching USB SSD for / root. Currently, I’m experimenting with fstab, but an available switch would be greatly appreciated. One button backup/restore would be good, too.

Does flavor mean I can install/purge packages with impunity (so I can configure each for headless server, multimedia, desktop), or is that a separate installer program?

Personally, for an enabler device, whose user does not speak English much less seen a computer before, I’d like to see a one button push for “Install this OS, dummy!”, albeit said diplomatically.

Rob Bishop avatar

Keep in mind that the main aim of NOOBS is to make things easier for novice users (mainly in educational situations). In this scenario using USB attached storage involves added cost and complexity compared to simply using the SD card which is needed anyway. For that reason we are focussing on improving SD card performance in preference to spending resource working on supporting USB filesystems. However as NOOBS is open source, if you wanted to do the work to add support for this then we would gladly accept it.

In terms of having separate custom Raspbian installs for difference use cases – please see the README documentation on GitHub that describes how to do this in a simple way.

As for having a super simple install process – given that the user merely has to click on the OS listed as [RECOMMENDED] (i.e. Raspbian) and then click “Install OS” I think this is already pretty simple…

bluseychris avatar

OK, I get the feeling you’re taking the cost and complexity a bit far.

Considering you really need access to a computer to get noobs onto a SD Card in the first place, and that the concept is basically the same as installing to a memory stick using noobs when setting up I can’t see where the issue lies.

AndrewS avatar

“Considering you really need access to a computer to get noobs onto a SD Card in the first place”
Unless you buy one of the pre-flashed NOOBS cards available from several places, including both the official Pi resellers… ;)

I wonder just how many people actually use a USB rootfs, compared to all those people who just go with the default option of running everything from SD? I’d guess much less than 1% ?

AndrewS avatar

I haven’t tested/tried it myself, but if you want to try experimenting with USB rootfs, see

ramstrong avatar

Thank you for your reply. I will put “noob tools” project on my ToDo list.

There’s a situation where root USB flashdisk is desirable: rotating users. Instead of 50 set of Raspi+SD+keyboard+monitor, you only give 10 sets plus 50 flashdrive for each student. The student works off the flashdrive, which they can take home/another school if transferred. The computer stays in schools.

The SD card will contain updated OS (factory setting+customizations). Thus, if the student corrupts the flashdrive, the teacher can simply set “use SD as rootfs” from NOOBS recovery, fix the problem immediately. As it is, flashing SD to factory state lose the customizations, and even if you make a back up of current OS, that’s not individual work.

So, per cost concern, I think the cost-per-student of USB male/female extension+flashdrive beats Raspi system.

AndrewS avatar

I think the idea with the Pi is that each student would have their own SD card, rather than their own USB stick. So that if they have their own Pi at home, they could boot that up too using their same SD card :)
But I obviously have no idea what “customisations” you require – have a look at

Rob Bishop avatar

I don’t really understand why you can’t do this with the existing NOOBS features. Simply do the following:
– Use this latest NOOBS release to install Raspbian onto an SD card and modify it so that it includes your customisations.
– Add a mount point and fstab entry in your custom Raspbian version so that your USB drive is automatically mounted to a directory of your choice.
– Create a custom OS version based on your customised install by following the instructions at

Once you have done this you should be able to use NOOBS to easily install and restore your customised OS version with the USB drive being used as a mountable file store.

I don’t see why you would need to install the full root filesystem onto the USB drive if the only requirement is to store user’s file on there.

ramstrong avatar

Rob: Obviously because I’m a noob. You’re right about that. You have given me food for thought, and I will research this further, and will take it to the forum if I need further help. Thank you for taking the time in answering my questions. I really appreciate it.

Rob Bishop avatar

No problem at all. I’m very happy to help – especially in the case of people trying to use the Pi for education! Sorry if I seemed sharp in my response. I find comments a poor medium for discussion!

Best of luck with the teaching! :-)

Ian Strange avatar

SD cards and USB flash drives are about the same price, and some people prefer the latter. Why can’t both be supported.

liz avatar

Go and ask that question in the forums. You’ll find it has a surprisingly simple answer.

conor avatar

ive had no issues with noobs, only some issues with the os, pidora wont log in. I would love to see a gaming os in noobs,coder and raspyfi…

Rob Bishop avatar

We’re planning to add Google’s Coder as an option in future.

Steve avatar


Thanks for everything you have given us so far!!! Can I please suggest a facility to restore an SD card back to its factory state in any upcoming enhancements to Noobs? I have found it to be a re-occurring problem and my PC seams unable to solve it (lucky my partner has a DSLR that can do it). Thanks!!!

Rob Bishop avatar

The entire point of NOOBS was to be able to reset a pre-flashed SD card containing a Raspbian install (such as those sold by RS and Farnell) to a “factory” state.

However, I assume that here you are taking “factory” state to be that which an SD card is in before NOOBS is first run. If this is the case then using the SD Association’s Formatter Tool as described in will do what you require (i.e. you will end up with an unpartitioned FAT format disk which is the state that most SD cards are in when you buy them).

stick avatar

Microsoft have nothing like this. Hate Windows 8? Reboot and hold down the shift key, go back to Windows 7, or maybe go all retro and try NT4.

InverseSandwich avatar

Microsoft have nothing like this. Hate Windows 8? Reboot and hold down the shift key, g̶o̶ ̶b̶a̶c̶k̶ ̶t̶o̶ ̶W̶i̶n̶d̶o̶w̶s̶ ̶7̶,̶ ̶o̶r̶ ̶m̶a̶y̶b̶e̶ ̶g̶o̶ ̶a̶l̶l̶ ̶r̶e̶t̶r̶o̶ ̶a̶n̶d̶ ̶t̶r̶y̶ ̶N̶T̶4̶.̶ and install Ubuntu.

Rudie avatar

Thanks for the brilliant work.
There is a reference to “HDMI VGA” , does that mean there are analog VGA signals as well as the digital HDMI, or is it a mode that is used when an external HDMI to VGA converter is used?

Rob Bishop avatar

In this case VGA refers to the display resolution rather than the analogue connector type – so by saying “HDMI VGA” we are talking about displaying our video output in VGA resolution on a HDMI compliant device.

The alternative mode of driving a HDMI display that we use is known as “preferred mode” – this involves querying the display device to ask which format it is best suited to displaying (often 720 or 1080).

BeauWilliamsonSr avatar

Tried it…seems to work.

-Raspbian…works like raspbian.

-RaspBMC…works like RaspBMC(could not test fully as I left chord for external HD at work so haven’t played movie)

-openelec….first time I’ve tried it, seems to work, didn’t try a movie(see above)..I like the way openelec guides you through setup and gives user information…

-RISC os….glitchy, kept leaving a relic from open windows Imprinted on screen, didn’t like my wireless mini keyboard/mouse so it was difficult to navigate.

-ArchLinux….uh…I didn’t know user/password information…I didn’t read the info as it was loading..was it in there? I was getting coffee.

-Pidora…error when booting, wouldn’t load.:(

-boot to scratch ….trying now/loading

Rob Bishop avatar

The default login information for all NOOBS-compatible OSes (along with other documentation such as release changelists) is given on the newly refreshed page.

pittdj avatar

So it does. The version of RISC OS in NOOBS 1.3 beta is rather old, an up to date version is fine.

henkie avatar

YEah multiboot!

Uglymike avatar

Will love to see this get out of beta! No more playing disk jockey with my SD cards! I will probably keep a dedicated Raspbian card and some cards for unsupported OS flavours. Like already stated by others, more OSes would be nice, esp Google Coder and a *BSD. An AROS build would be nice, but I don’t think there are any working ones available yet on the Pi.
I really was only able to play with OpenElec (works as advertized) and RiscOS (loads of graphical glitches and not a lot of usable soft. Is there a repository somewhere?)

Rob Bishop avatar

If there are other OSes that you would like to see supported by NOOBS, please let the OS maintainers know to contact me for details on how to do this. Inclusion of other OSes is up to the maintainers rather than us.

For further details on RISC OS please see

Paul Gonin avatar

Looks like Noobs and Noobs_lite archives are inverted…
Indeed Noobs archive is 20MB and Noobs_lite is 1GB

Rob Bishop avatar

That was an error on my part when I uploaded updated versions this morning. It should be fixed within the next hour.

Uglymike avatar

Updated versions? Is there a version bump or a changelog?
Or are the changes too ‘cosmetical’ to warrant a write-up?

Trevor Gowen avatar

I don’t seem to be able to pick up the updated versions. Should I be using different links to the ones above? (AFAICT I’m picking up the “original” versions, going by the info. in BUILD-DATA and that most of the files where that file is are time-stamped 16.09.2013)

Rob Bishop avatar

It takes a while for the CDN to sync up – the files may not have seeded to all end points yet.

You might need to give it up to 24 hours.

Trevor Gowen avatar

Thanks, I’ll try again later, Trev.

Rob Bishop avatar

It should be live now.

Andrew/ avatar


In the initial install screen for the network/lite version, I didn’t see the 512MB ext4 thing, which is fine. I can manage without.

However, I left the language as UK and set the keyboard to US. and Raspi-config is now speaking to me in French!

I’d really rather it didn’t!

Rob Bishop avatar

Please report issues like this in the beta testing forum thread rather than in the comments here.

I’ve replied to your comment there.

Andrew/ avatar

Yeah, sorry about that, I did immediately after posting here.

Joni avatar

So far so good! Thank you very much for this!

Sergio M avatar

It is too slow downloading:
Can you make a torrent available? It would it speed it up a lot. Here it says 9 hours of download. But my connection is very good where I am.

Rob Bishop avatar

The “full” version is 1.1GB so may be a slow download. Perhaps you could try the “lite” version instead from as this is only 20MB.

Unfortunately we do not have a torrent set up for this beta release but there will be a torrent available for the final release version (see

dasistdaniel avatar

Is there any chance to get the Lite Version with wireless lan support?

I don’t have LAN in my Bedroom. :)

Rob Bishop avatar

Wireless networking support is more difficult than it might intuitively appear. We’re looking into it but I might not appear in the immediate future unfortunately.

Tyler avatar

a change log for the beta zip file would be handy.

The date stamp on the zip file on the website changes frequently but it’s hard to know if that’s just because of an automated content update or an actual change to the beta release.

Rob Bishop avatar

There’s a change log in the forum thread.

Unfortunately the time stamps are an unreliable indicator of changes as they are not consistent between CDN nodes and change each time we trigger a sync for any files hosted on them.

Peg avatar

Just cruised by to see what’s going on . . . couldn’t resist making the beta Noob SD. Process went fast.
Thanks for all your work on this. I’ll test it out tomorrow :o)

Chris avatar

I selected Risc OS, Pidora, and arch, and everything installed correctly, however, when rebooted, (which was done seconds after the install completed, as I happened to walk in a few minutes before it completed), the boot menu simply doesn’t load. (this is a rev 3 model B)

reachthepalace avatar

Having trouble downloading the beta 1gb zip file. Zip file returns corrupted. Is there a torrent for the same or an mirror site where I can pull this from.

DarkD1988 avatar

Hey Guys, the Download path for NOOBS v1.3beta was changed:

macwinmr avatar

thank you so much :)

Ian Nájar avatar

– Multiple OSes can now be installed simultaneously and easily switched between at boot. Unlike BerryBoot, NOOBS allows each OS to use its own kernel meaning that non-Linux based OSes such as RISC OS are also supported.

Thanks for this!!!

apples avatar

I need wifi support

mype avatar

I wish there were a flashable os pack. I have one crappy sd card that gets so many read error during install that I really can’t get any of these os’s installed.

Brett Wynkoop avatar

NOOBS seems to be a bust. I have 3 Pi sitting on my desk. The one I have running FreeBSD/ARM has been running for a year. The two new ones that were going to get raspian via NOOBS are showing no video! Moving the NOOBS sd cards into the working Pi has the same results… video. I just downloaded the latest NOOBS and prepared the SD CARD as documented and still no joy. I am now falling back to doing a DD of the raspian image.


clive avatar

Hi Brett — this is an old post and won’t get many views. If you post in the forums you’ll get help there. Thanks.

Charles avatar

loving the awesome! you guys rock!

Since eToys is similar to Scratch and also based on Squeak, how does one modify NOOBS to add a Rasbian “flavor” for booting directly to eToys?

Charles avatar

PS – already posted to the forums, just trying other routes. :)

Adrian avatar

I am trying to install the newest openelec and retropie in a dual boot setup.. it has been a nightmare!! the only setup that was working was very out of date. I hope this will help!!!

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