But we’re absolute beginners – how to set up your Raspberry Pi

Our tiny computers look very different from “normal” desktops, which can be a bit startling for beginners. But they are actually much easier to set up than you may think, and can perform all the same functions as that massive tower under the desk you keep stubbing your toe on.

We like new users around here because one of Raspberry Pi’s main goals is to make computing accessible for everyone. So we created a simple step-by-step tutorial to make sure you don’t get stuck at the first hurdle and leave your Raspberry Pi languishing in a drawer somewhere. They don’t like being stuck in drawers.

I’m kind of confident

If you have all of the extra bits and pieces you need to get your Raspberry Pi working and you just need help figuring out where to plug everything in, you should be able to make do with the 30-second video above.

Here is everything you will need to turn your Raspberry Pi into a desktop computer:

  • Power supply
  • MicroSD card
  • HDMI cable
  • Monitor (a TV will work)
  • Keyboard
  • Mouse
How to set up a Raspberry Pi for beginners

I need a bit more help

If you’re not quite sure what “flashing an image onto a microSD card” means, or even what type of SD card you need, then you’ll want to take some more time going through the whole tutorial.

It’s a really comprehensive guide starting you right at the beginning: it’ll show you how to choose the correct power supply for your Raspberry Pi, explains the difference between HDMI and USB ports, and suggests additional extras like audio output and internet connection. So even if you’re not sure what cables you need, we can help you.

Raspberry Pi OS desktop dropdown menu

Once you are confident you have all the right bits of kit, you’ll be walked through installing an operating system. Fear not! It’s only a three-step process. We then show you where to go to find some recommended software so you can use your Raspberry Pi to write and edit documents and spreadsheets, before suggesting some slightly less admin-focussed, slightly more fun things you can try with your Raspberry Pi. Apologies to those who find spreadsheets fun – that comment was not intended to offend. Spreadsheets are just truly, leadenly dull and I’m not changing my mind.

The Official Raspberry Pi Beginners Guide 4th Edition

If you’re looking to get really stuck in and immersed in all thing Raspberry Pi, this 252-page guide is crammed with project ideas and support to learn coding in different languages, as well as covering all the basics to get you started, just like we have here.

Beginner's Guide 4th edition

The 4th edition of The Official Raspberry Pi Beginners Guide is available to buy for £10 from the Raspberry Pi Press store. We also have special editions in French, Italian, German, and Spanish.

7 comments
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Please translate the book into Russian.

Reply to nafanz

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“everything you will need” omits one vital component – i.e. a case or other enclosure. Bare boards have a short life expectancy!

Reply to Milliways

Ashley Whittaker

Yesssss – good point! We like Pimoroni’s rainbow case options.

Reply to Ashley Whittaker

Liz Upton

This is before your time, Ash, but I remember going to a games conference with Paul Beech from Pimoroni in 2012, JUST after the launch of the original Pi, when he brought a prototype PiBow to show me. Absolutely blew me away, and it’s still my favourite case option (sorry official case, I love you and you’re very useful for a lot of applications, but the PiBow is sex made out of perspex). Here’s the official page on Pim’s site.

Reply to Liz Upton

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Ashley Whittaker

At least “2012” is a normal year and I don’t have an anecdote about how I was “in school” or something while that was happening for you. You don’t like those.

Reply to Ashley Whittaker

Liz Upton

No, no I don’t.

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