Introducing the New Out Of Box Software (NOOBS)

If you’re a beginner with a Raspberry Pi, things just got a whole lot easier.

We started this project with the premise that throwing people in at the deep end and making them jump hurdles, to mix my sporting metaphors, is a good way to get them to learn stuff. It is: but it can also put some people off, sometimes terminally. And we don’t want people to put their Raspberry Pi down in horror after five minutes. So with this in mind, we’d like to introduce you to NOOBS.

NOOBS is a way to make setting up a Raspberry Pi for the first time much, much easier. You won’t need network access, and you won’t need to download any special imaging software. Just head to the downloads page, grab a copy of the NOOBS zip file, and unpack it onto a freshly formatted 4GB (or larger) SD card. When you boot up for the first time, you’ll see a menu prompting you to install one of several operating systems into the free space on the card. The choice means you can boot the Pi with a regular operating system like Raspbian, or with a media-centre specific OS like RaspBMC.

The main OS selection menu.

Once you’ve installed an operating system, your Pi will boot as normal. However, NOOBS stays resident on your card, so by holding shift down during boot you can return to the recovery interface. This allows you to switch to a different operating system, or overwrite a corrupted card with a fresh install of the current one; it also provides a handy tool to let you edit the config.txt configuration file for the currently installed operating system, and even a web browser so you can visit the forums or Google for pointers if you get stuck.

Editing config.txt.

Viewing the forums in the Arora browser.

Thanks to Rob, Gordon, Dom and Floris (of BerryBoot fame), who together developed NOOBS from scratch in less than a month. Also, thanks to our army of volunteer translators for the localisation; and to the operating system maintainers, most notably Alex, for producing updated images in time for integration into the final zip file.

Our partners will be offering SD cards pre-installed with NOOBS in the near future, but until then please download, have a play, and let us know what you think.

Update, June 4: Carrie Anne Philbin from Geek Gurl Diaries has recorded a tutorial video showing you how to set up your own installation of NOOBS. Thanks Carrie Anne!

220 comments

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Nice – I especially like the idea of the recovery console!

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I have a glitch. When I try to install an operating system, I need 212 mb, and I have a 16 GB SD card. The console says I have none.

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You need to format the card.

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Any bug reports – please use GitHub Issues:

https://github.com/raspberrypi/recovery

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I was under the impression that you could install multiple operating systems with this tool (and leave them installed and switch between them), which is the only feature that I really need. It is not clear from the description whether that is true, or you can only install one at a time and would have to keep overwriting it with a new one. If you can install multiple operating systems, how does that work; does it allow you to specify the space for it to use and for future filesystem growth?

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Currently, only a single OS can be installed.

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I guess I should be looking at Berryboot. For some reason I thought that this would be an improved version of that tool, from what I was reading on the forums. Oh well. Thanks for the reply.

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Why not just use different cards with different O/S on each? Simple.

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Because there are quite a few issues of broken SD card slots, and I switch OS’s often to run experiments, and swapping out cards all the time is just tempting fate. Also, it is much easier and faster to just switch OS’s in software. I already have dedicated SD cards for my pis for projects where the OS and my software programs are stable and don’t get changed much.

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If they are not enough reasons, the pi is in a larger chassis with a screwed on lid, so changing SD cards is not feasible.

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I use microSD cards in an adapter instead of regular SD. This way you don’t have to worry about breaking the slot and it’s much easier to switch. Just got to have a case that exposes the SD slot. Mine is made of Lego so I have an open window.

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look at berry boot for multi os on pi

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No, I think I will look at BerryBoot.

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Are you sure that you don’t mean Berryboot?

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just watch the video. nothing hidden or missing there..

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For interested devs, Rob has just made the repo public: https://github.com/raspberrypi/recovery

Just to pre-empt potential concerns, images in the format you’re used to are available on the downloads page and will remain there. You’re totally free to just dd a raspbian image if you have no need to for a recovery partition and want to avoid the space overhead.

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Pull-requests welcomed :-)

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I have 2 suggestions:

1. Have a short description next to each OS so people who have never heard of them know what they’re getting into.

2. Have an update feature, so that if you are connected to the internet you can get the latest images of each OS available. Obviously, don’t make this mandatory, but it’d be nice as an optional feature (So you never have to re-image your card manually :)

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1) We have a bunch of slides that are shown while the OS is installed that inform the user about both the OS in general and also how to get started.

2) Installing OS images from the network is on our to-do list. If you want to help us out with this, the code is on GitHub! :-)

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1) Noobs would benfit from knowing before they choose to install what an OS prime directive is.
*So they dont have to go thru each install to figure out which one they want to play with.

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” throwing people in at the deep end … put people off, sometimes terminally.”

Amen to that – it did.

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In an echo of PJC’s remark, it would be pretty convenient to implement multiboot functionality for cards which can have the sufficient space for multiple partitions, even in a beta functionality where we have to worry about the prepwork and installation ourselves – something to look into contributing to the next release, eh?

Still, very nice work indeed.

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As Eben mentioned, this has been developed with the primary aim of helping new users (especially kids) get started with the Pi. Any advanced functionality has been a secondary concern in development.

The code is open (https://github.com/raspberrypi/recovery) so feel free to contribute more advanced features.

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So, once a user selects to install an OS, is it up to them to copy their user-created files elsewhere if they decide to install another OS? Perhaps a persistent /home partition that wouldn’t get overwritten would be nice if not already provided.

Does WiFi work out of the box with all the distros on a card with the Unsual Suspect dongles (beyond the Raspbian distros that we know already do)?

Will have to wait and download after school is out today. Four more days left in the school year, then full-time software development for the Summer, along with Jams and computing Summer camps! Yay!!!

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The recovery application allows you to reinstall the OS – effectively performing a “factory reset” – no data is preserved. If you want to save any files, you will need to transfer them onto another disk manually.

The “Online Help” functionality currently only works with wired networking – we’re looking into supporting Wifi in the future.

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This was on the cards when we were planning the system. But how much, where do you put it, how would you explain this to the user…

What would you put in the extended partition? the /home directory, a /data directory… Would people use it or would it end up wasted space.

Again there are many tradeoffs made in the name of simplification…

Gordon

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Gordon and Rob – Forgot to say this is still an amazing accomplishment … and in a month??? I would add a /home partition as the last partition and make that the one that can be resized to the top of the card space. Then, where possible in each OS, redirect the /home directory to point to the /home partition (not sure that’s legal on all OSes, but I’ll do the testing, don’t worry about it – in fact, I may try to do what I’m describing and check it in for consideration if it seems to work). If you recover and that takes you back to the original NOOBS OS selection menu, wipe all partitions except the recovery and /home partitions (if the latter exists) and reinstall. An obvious follow-on would be to separate out the appropriate portions of /etc and other common package installation directories, but let’s screw things up one step at a time! :D

For WiFi, I assume the Raspbian and RaspBMC (and other derivatives – I’m typing this in the blind with one browser window on a very small mobile device) distros have the same WiFi drivers, wpa_supplicant, and whatever else is installed in the standard Raspbian-flavored distro(s), but maybe that had to go in the scrunch-o-rama exercise. We don’t typically have wired Ethernet in our classrooms and Jam venues and WiFi would be a Godsend (Networking Out Of the Box Subsystem, anyone? :) ).

My dumb questions will be answered tonight when I get a chance to download and take it for a spin and perhaps try some of my even dumber ideas. This assumes there’s a torrent version, as direct downloads of that size are problematic from inside the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s 1,000,000 gallon tank … especially when I’m wearing the anti-shark chain mail – now THAT’S a Faraday cage! ;)

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Just a point.

On the download page it says:
“Download and unpack the NOOBS zip file onto the SD card”

There is no NOOBS zip file.

It will confuse the noobs who look for the any key, Perhaps the file should be called noobs.zip or changer the text to:
“Download and unpack the recovery v1.1 zip file onto the SD card”

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Full, beginner friendly instructions are given here:
http://www.raspberrypi.org/quick-start-guide

The files you want to copy to the SD card are in the /output directory in the recovery zip file.

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Sorry, my mistake, the /output directory is in the Git repo. The zip file you can download from raspberrypi.com/downloads just contains the files which should be copied onto a FAT partitioned card.

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No, I think you misunderstand me.

This is aimed at noobs and you are telling them to “download the noobs zip file” but there is no “noobs zip file”.

Pedantic maybe, but it can confuse the noob who will look for a “noobs.zip” file, because that’s what they have been told to download. :)

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I second this.

If you want to make a tool for the beginners, you have to make all the interface and documentation beginner-friendly.

As i know it’s very hard for the geeks to phase-out and think like a noob, just give the documentation to a computer-illiterate family member or friend and have them complete the install without any help from you.
If they get stuck or start asking stupid questions – it means that it’s not yet beginner-friendly.

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We’re looking into this now. Bear with us…

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This should now be fixed.

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I agree, for “n00bs” it can be hard for them to find the file ‘noobs.zip’if it isn’t there.
Gonna take this for a spin soon, I like the sounds of it!

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Why is Xbian not on here?

So many times I’ve seen Xbian ignored for their efforts. It doesn’t seem right.

If time has been spent including Raspbmc and OpenElec why not Xbian?

I am not affiliated with them at all but fair’s fair, no?

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It’s not always viable to include everything, so better to focus on the most popular choices and add ones that have less demand at a later stage.

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Way to go!

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I don’t get it completely!
The introduction says that you don’t need network access to use NOOBS!
But does that mean that the NOOBS installer contains images of ALL the six operating systems? doesn’t that make it a very big download?

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Yes, the images have been hughly compressed and are included in the zip file download (which is around 1GB in size). We wanted to make sure that it was as easy as possible for people with or without a network connection to install an OS for the Pi.

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Its impressive that you have been able to fit six (count them) OS in just one GB! I was asking because I began to doubt earlier reports that NOOBS would contain multiple OS when I saw there were six fully different ones (including RiscOS) and the announcement was a big vague about the zip file containing all of them. congrats!

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Still needs to be smaller for the unpatient ones xD

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Well done though!

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Just a thought on this, if you are using and HDMI to VGA adapter, in order to get NOOBS start screen to display, you may need to add a config.txt file to the root of the SD card. For my 1440×900 monitor it contained only the following;

disable_overscan=1
hdmi_force_hotplug=1
HDMI mode (this will force VGA)
hdmi_group=2
hdmi_mode=47
hdmi_drive=2

The group and mode codes are at http://elinux.org/RPiconfig

Hope this info is useful

MS

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;-/ skip this line ‘HDMI mode (this will force VGA)’ doh!

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…also note, you’ll need to edit the config.txt after flashing the new OS to suit your monitor.

NB> all of this applies to Raspian – I have not tried the others.

MS

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The Recovery application runs in HDMI safe mode (VGA) which should be supported by any HDMI capable display.

In comparison, Raspbian tries to boot into the best possible mode for the attached display. If this proves not to work with your display, you can then easily edit the settings for Raspbian using the config edit tool provided in the recovery app.

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Hi Rob, totally agree and understand, however my monitor is not HDMI capable having only VGA input. This I am driving via an HDMI > VGA adapter which displayed nothing at all on first boot with the NOOBS SD Card (which ws no suprise to me, given my setup). Once I put the config file in there with appropriate settings, it worked fine and I was able to install the OS of choice.

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You can add your own config.txt file if you need to override the NOOBS settings (although make sure that this only changes HDMI settings otherwise NOOBS may not work as expected).

This is obviously not advised or recommended for normal use as HDMI safe mode should work in the majority of cases.

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We’ve just discovered that overriding the HDMI settings is currently broken but are looking into this. See https://github.com/raspberrypi/noobs/issues/3

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Mark,
I found these settings very useful! I have a SONY VGA with an adapter and group 16 works perfectly now for raspbian.. thanks again for the settings and the link..

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Pleased to hear the info helped you out Don. ATB.

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I would like to make a Hungarian translation. Who should I contact?

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Send me mail at liz@raspberrypi.org, and I’ll hook you up with Rob, who’s coordinating things.

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Thank you, Liz, for your quick answer!

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That would be awesome!

Please get in touch so that I can advise you which files you would need to update in the git repo. (Note that the repo README explains what you need to do as well).

Any other would-be translators are welcome too!

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This is the tool that real linux has been missing for years!

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Sounds great! Just tried it but is it really as easy as formatting a SD card en copying the files onto it?

I’ve just formatted a 4GB Transcend card using the associations tool, copied the files onto it from Windows, put the card into the Pi and powered it on. And nothing happens…

When I put the SD card back in my computer I can see the partition has been resized, but that’s it.

What am I missing?

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Did you not get any output at all on your display?

Can you confirm that the display is working with a normal Raspbian image?

It should be as simple as you suggested. FAT format the card then copy the extracted files onto it. Your Pi should then automatically boot into the recovery app…

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Hi Rob,

The display is working indeed with a normal Raspbian image, with the same SD card.

Looking at the Raspberry Pi, the activity led flashes briefly initially when powered on, but that’s it. Nothing else seems to be happening.

Tried with a different rpi to be sure, same thing.

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Could you copy the config.txt from the working SD card to the NOOBS one?

Perhaps your monitor doesn’t support VGA safe mode (which would be weird) and you have settings in your config.txt which make your display work.

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Hi Rob,

Strangely enough that did the trick! It’s the default config.txt from the Raspbian image.

I’m using a Panasonic VT50 plasma as display.

Thanks for the tip!

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What kind of display setup do you have?

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To reiterate a point that might have been missed earlier in the comments thread:

You might want to reword this:

‘Download and unpack the NOOBS zip file onto the SD card’

To actually quote the filename ‘recovery_v1_1_complete.zip’ rather than ‘NOOBS zip file’. It sounds obvious to people who know what they’re doing, but I can just imagine someone like my Dad, tearing his hair out, looking for ‘NOOBS.zip’.

Otherwise this looks like a great tool for absolute beginners!

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Great work on the new system. Theyre right about that filename issue though. It will confuse your target audience. Perhaps a step by step guide on how to do the install would be useful? The more up front you are with the information and instructions the more likely you will be to have a success

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There’s a step-by-step installation guide here:

http://www.raspberrypi.org/quick-start-guide

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I installed the NOOBS and did my initial boot. I get the option of selecting which OS I want. I have a 4G SD card. All options are requiring about 5M more than what the card is allowing me. Thoughts?

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Rob’s going to be changing the install guide later. :)

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YAY!
At last – they took notice and agreed that a real noob would be confuddled by the name differences. :)

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Carrie Anne (who runs Geek Gurl Diaries) has posted a video about this new system, including a bit of an explanation about partitioning. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TyFDaMpdh2c

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Right, I’m installing NOOBS to all my Pi SD cards

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One of the most cool additions to the pi set-up, as far as having useful tools go. The “shift on start” to recovery sounds wonderful and having the additional OS’s that can be re-installed……….aahaahahaaaa!!!!
now it’s truly portable without fear of losing a connection. just save files to a secondary usb read card.

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Okay. Nice one that. But you guys missed a distribution. Slackware’s ARM distribution now has several ideas for running on the Pi, and the biggest problem they have is getting a working image. I believe what they need outside of the few members who have a Raspberry Pi is help from the people here. (Which I know is asking for a big one, but it is worth a big one.)

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Good idea, except that on a limited data internet connection a 1GB+ zip file is kind of steep.

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By now most of us who own these wonderful devices have a broadband connection of some sort. Mine is a DSL connection from a firm who normally provides one to business. Well they do in a way, but they’re not ready for that one.

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Our partners will be selling SD cards with NOOBS preinstalled very soon – I’d suggest that might be the best option if you’re struggling with the download!

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I’m in the states and I’ve got a connection over the cell towers with a 20GB limit. And it doesn’t matter to me about buying one because I’ve already got raspbian, RaspBMC, and Arch on SDs.

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(I flashed them myself)

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This seems quite useful, not just for “noobs”. To be able to switch between the OS’s is quite nice if you just want to try out another blend.

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does it preserve the user’s current /home when switching distros?

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Not at present – you need to manually back up any files you want to keep.

NOOBS does the equivalent of the “factory reset”.

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ah, I shall be using it then to just set up different SD cards with different distros then rather than using it to swap between distros. Will investigate keeping my /home on a separate USB drive instead.

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Hi ! First post here, while I am lurking time to time.

I bought my PI quite a long time ago and never had time to seriously take a look at it. Especially that I had experience with Windows OS but mostly none on linux/unix. (I am a good dev but I have no skills with OS setup etc…)

This is just GREAT.

So, I really want to thank you to simplify things and make my life easier, and save me time too !

So I would say it is not only usefull to kids, but to every user that want to try a few things but have no time to check things in detail. Plug’n’play : that is the way to go !

I hope this project will continue to grow and add more and more functionality while keep the thing “simple”.

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Hi folks, I tested it yesterday evening – and worked really out of the box on a rasp model B with 8GB card. Also the choice of what OS is a great step forward, even without dual boot (which is of course welcome!). Thanks to all who contributed.

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hi just to clarify i had to format in FAT not FAT 32, because i had tried NOOBS in FAT 32 partition and it’s not booting up…..??

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FAT16 (commonly just referred to as FAT) definitely works but we would expect FAT32 to work as well.

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Yup, FAT32 formatted cards work just fine. Well, mine does anyway ;)

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Great idea, great for new users.
Should be able to get a Media Center system with the Pi up and running very quickly!
Raspberry Pi HTPC Tips

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I bought a Pi today, downloaded NOOBS, copied to a 4G SD card.
This booted to NOOBS, I selected Raspbian and all seemed OK.
When I tried to restart nothing much happened, until the monitor timed out. There is basic blue output, but the keyboard and mouse don’t work.
I completely restarted, with the same result.
My Pi is connected to a monitor by a HDMI DVI adapter (purchased with the Pi)

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Can you describe what you see when you boot up? Is the multicolored splashscreen displayed?

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My monitor displays “Digital” indicating it has detected DVI input.
The screen displays a blue background, brightest at bottom left, shading to black at the right and lighter blue at the top.

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Is the problem repeatable? It sounds like the SD card has possibly got into a bad state – if the Pi is booting you should at least see the multicolored splashscreen.

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I reformatted the card and repeated the install process with the same result.

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Could you try adding a file called config.txt containing “hdmi_edid_file=1” to the SD card before you first boot it (after copy the NOOBS files onto it)?

I’d be interested to know if that fixes your issue.

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This did indeed fix the problem, and the correct 1280*1024 mode was detected.
Whatever the issue was, it appeared to halt the boot process, and the keyboard and mouse were not detected, making “recovery” impossible.

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I bet the problem was that the video output was being shown very zoomed in and the fading blue was the colorburst, then the black was just part of the regular command line that wasn’t showing text.

That’s my theory at least. :)

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Hi Ian, see my post above (no. 13) It applies to my HDMI > VGA adapter, but might help with DVI, I don’t know, but might be worth a shot.

MS

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I tried many variants of this, without success, however the issue now appears resolved.

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This is a great tool, look forward to testing. Excellent step forward!

Hope to take a look at the files, it would be rather useful if you could access the source image files, then mix and match what distros you want on your recovery partition. Perhaps even create a few custom images to use for testing/backups etc. Even more so, if eventually made possible to connect & download from network etc. Plus would be all the more powerful, if able to do so remotely. [wishlist over]

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The source is available on GitHub at github.com/raspberrypi/noobs

The OS images are stored in the /images directory and you can manually edit which images you want to use before first boot.

Please see the README documentation in the git repo for more information on this.

Remote NOOBS control over the network and downloadable images are on the long-term road-map. In the meantime, if you want to help out, I’d happily accept pull requests.

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That is superb. I take it auto-detects which xz files are in the directory. Is the image inside the .xz file, identical to the normal .img files?
Also what is the command to run the recovery program directly from terminal (if it can)?
If I get time to experiment I’ll let you know if I manage to do anything useful.

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It actually doesn’t need to be .xz, see https://github.com/raspberrypi/recovery/blob/master/recovery/imagewritethread.cpp#L113. .gz, .bz2, .lzo and .zip are supported too. In the case of the Raspbian image at least, the image is the same content-wise as the standalone image, but I used resize2fs to reduce the size of the root partition to the minimum posible, to reduce the time taken to dd (noobs automatically expands the root partition to take the remaining space on the SD card after the dd).

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There is no command line interface to NOOBS at present.

As Alex mentioned, you can use a variety of file compression formats although only zip and xz will give accurate progress information (read from the metadata).

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I got an error…

“SD card does not have a MBR Cannot resize FAT partition”

I use a 4gig micro sd formatted using windows..

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Did you reuse an existing Pi card? You need to use the formatting program specified int he Noobs instructions as the cars need to have its previous partitions removed.

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Fomatting the stick using the SD formatter didn’t work also as the stick was formatted as FAT32 instead of FAT.

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On Windows XP, click Start then right-click on My Computer. Select manage. On Vista/7 just search for Computer Management. On Windows 8 go to the Start screen, go to Charms, Settings, Tiles, Show Administrative Tools, then search for Computer Management. A window will appear, select Disk Management and wait for it to connect. Select your SD card’s Unknown partition, press the delete key, then right-click and choose new partition. Just go through the wizard (defaults are fine). Now copy NOOBS onto the SD card.

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This did the trick but formatted the stick using FAT instead of FAT32 (I think that was the problem).

Thanks…

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N.B. Shortcut for Windows 8 is Windows key-X & then choose ‘Disk management’ from pop-up.

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Afternoon all,

I was in the process of updating a spare SD card this morning, so I thought I’d have a look at NOOBS. Very nice indeed.

However, all the instructions and videos so far give instructions on how to install it from the point of view of a Windows user.

Even the SD card formatting utility is for Windows and Mac only – from the dowinload page, it certainly looks that way anyway, nothing for us Linux users there then!

never mind, I wrote the blog post at http://qdosmsq.dunbar-it.co.uk/blog/2013/06/noobs-for-raspberry-pi/ whihc shows the entire process from beginning to end from the perspective of a Linux user.

Hope it helps.

Cheers,
Norm.

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Thanks Norman.

I’ve updated the instructions in the git repo README file and added a link to your blog post;

https://github.com/raspberrypi/noobs/blob/master/README.md

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Ooooh! Fame at last! ;-)

Thanks.

Cheers,
Norm.

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“Now, insert the card, and run the command again. If you are prompted to mount the card or open it in a file manager etc, ignore it. We don’t want or need the card to be mounted.”

My Linux keeps auto-mounting everything that it sees being connected. Even though I close the window that comes up, the new device still shows in the list of removable drives in Dolphin.

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Maybe “ignore it” should be “reject it” – although my KDE Mint 13 set up doesn’t mount the device, or open it in Dolphin, unless I tell it to.

If you find that it does mount the card, open Dolphin and right click the card on the left side, and choose “safely remove”.

Cheers,
Norm.

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On my Ubuntu Linux with my SD-card in a USB card reader, “safely remove” goes too far in that it also removes the /dev/ entries – the only option that works is to use ‘mount’ and ‘umount’ to unmount each of the SD-card partitions using the command-line.
I.e. part of the ‘mount’ output includes

/dev/sdc1 on /media/C522-EA52 type vfat (ro,nosuid,nodev,uid=1000,gid=1000,shortname=mixed,dmask=0077,utf8=1,showexec,flush,uhelper=udisks)
/dev/sdc2 on /media/62ba9ec9-47d9-4421-aaee-71dd6c0f3707 type ext4 (ro,nosuid,nodev,uhelper=udisks)

(with the entries in /media/ being the auto-mounted partitions) so I’d need to type ‘umount /dev/sdc1 && umount /dev/sdc2’ and I can then follow your fdisk steps (but in my case obviously using /dev/sdc instead of /dev/mmcblk0).

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Hi,

I am looking at a RPi project using Khan Academy lite for an orphanage and this is great as it will make recovery much easier.

I suggested the KA Lite with RPi as a way I could help last week( offer taken up extremely fast), in addition to my RPi donation, one of the NGO’s has ordered 3 RPi and about 10 PC’s for the project.

The real problem I have is time, followed by support, I was informed yesterday I am needed elsewhere next week and I wont be back for two months, though the NGO has also allocated an intern to the project, therefore tomorrow we should be up and on the way to running.

In the long term if this works(and it will) the NGO is looking at a world wide implementation.

Can anyone advise how feasible/complicated it would be to enable KA Lite installation as part of the recovery? In addition auto mount the KA Lite content on a USB drive. This way should anything happen it would be much easier to support from afar.

Any advice much appreciated

Ian

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If you create an OS image that contains the KA Lite material and copy it into the /images directory of the NOOBS zipfile before first boot then it will be available to install through NOOBS. Compression with zip or xz format is best.

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Hi Rob,

Thanks for the quick response, do you mean I can just dd a working image from an existing card and zip or xz this file?

Cheers

Ian

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Yes. You can then copy it into /images and it should install using NOOBS. The only provisio is that your image will need the very latest firmware to work with NOOBS. If it’s Raspbian based then an rpi-update should make sure this is the case.

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Torrent download took over two hours and I fell asleep before it finished Monday night, but I finally got it installed and tried it out late Tuesday. Very, very nice!

One more thing besides a persistent /home partition and WiFi I would love to have is full keyboard navigation of the NOOBS menu. It appears you have to use a pointing device to select the Edit Config or Online Help top menu items – no combo of arrow keys, Tab, Shift, Ctrl, Alt, etc., seemed to allow me to select those two items. I’ll check the source, but if there is a quickie-easy way for someone more familiar with the code to make the change, so much the better. Thanks!

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It’s already been logged as a bug. See https://github.com/raspberrypi/noobs/issues/5

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Such a great idea, congratulations. Using risc for the first time in 15 years was quite nostalgic.

Question on pidora. Is there a way to launch it on a lower resolution? My hd tv doesnt support it. Raspian and risc work fine.

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I was amazed at how fast the arora browser worked on the recovery console.. so I tried it under raspbian after I selected and installed it.. but it didn’t perform well at all under raspbian..

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Can’t seem to get the ‘press shift key on boot’ to work with the white wired mac keyboard. Shift works once an OS is booted. ideas?

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I believe this is an issue with usbkbd which we use for the initial HID detection… I don’t have that keyboard to test though…

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I’ve noticed the same problem. I tried 3 different USB keyboards: a Logitech K400r (wireless), a Vstar AS-2188 (compact), and a Logitech K120 (standard), all US layout. When plugged in via a USB hub, none of them worked. When plugged directly into the Pi’s USB port, the 2 wired keyboards worked, but the wireless didn’t. Very picky!

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No go with NOOBS. Given up after many attempts. Tried on three 4GB SD cards, Fat 32 and Fat, All I get is NO SIGNAL. Followed all instructions.
No problem with SD with RISC OS

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John, what display setup do you have on your system (type, connection)?

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I have an HDMI connection to a LG flatscreen TV. I have previously run Raspbian but prefer RISC OS with which I have no problems problems.

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Could you try adding a file called config.txt containing “hdmi_edid_file=1″ to the SD card before you first boot it (after copy the NOOBS files onto it)?

I’d be interested to know if that fixes your issue.

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There seems to be an issue with some displays not working with HDMI safe mode enabled.

Safe mode (VGA) was enabled in NOOBS with the aim of giving maximum compatibility with any HDMI display device as its a mandatory mode for any device claiming to be HDMI. Unfortunately we are seeing a number of devices which don’t seem to support it.

I’ve opened a bug (https://github.com/raspberrypi/noobs/issues/11) and will look into it.

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Hmm. Solved yet or not?

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Is it possible to install on a USB drive and use it to boot a Pogo Plug?

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Nope, only works with Raspberry Pi.

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ARM only I’m afraid – sorry!
(RasPi only like he said)

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Congrats to all concerned on an utterly brilliant new system.

I think the best aspect is that it allows vendors to ship ready to run SD-cards or packaged bundles, without pre-determining which OS the user might want. So less stock management for the vendor and less confusion for the shopper.

I appreciate that this is really for noobs so a clutter free UI is prime. So how about a small “[x] Advanced” option which leads to an additional menu with the following optional features:
1) create config.txt suitable for HDMI->VGA users
2) network config for WiFi and non-standard LAN settings such as proxies.
3) add/delete/update the distro installers from the internet, including some rarer ones such as Xbian, RedSleve, Slackware, BSD?
4) delete the NOOBS system itself (as much as possible) and add the recovered space to the currently installed OS.
5) backup the contents of the currently installed OS’s “/home” folder (or user selected) to another USB storage device.
I think the last one is better than trying to make the “/home” partition persistent because RiscOS doesn’t have one and backups are good!
A dual/multi boot would be another bonus but probably pretty difficult to implement if they each try to re-size the cards’s space.

As a side note, I actually think that this is such a good idea that it should be built into x86 PCs for those who want to buy without Windows. Though I don’t see any reason why Windows shouldn’t also be one of the OS choices. There have been several attempts to sell Linux or OS-less PCs over the years but with all the diversity of distro choice a vendor is forced to select just one, as it would be impractical to stock one of each. With the ability to summon the selection at any boot time, this gives the new user the ability to try each distro without inconvenience. Perhaps as a more thorough test after a quick look at a LiveCD. This is exactly what this system is designed for and I think it’s a great idea for Pi’s & PC’s alike.

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Thanks for your feedback. We’re tracking bugs and feature requests via GitHub (see https://github.com/raspberrypi/noob/issues) so feel free to suggest any enhancements there.

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Typo in that URL – missed out the ‘s’ https://github.com/raspberrypi/noobs/issues
But it led to a rather nice 404 page!

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Just got tripped up on a little issue. My noobs card started by saying it couldn’t resize the FAT. Recreated it from start with same result. Read the message properly to see something like “FATs don’t match … scandisk”. So I used the Mac’s DiskUtility to “repair” the card & retried. All OK now. Perhaps the SD card association’s SDformatter.app for Mac OS only writes one copy of the FAT?

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This looks great, thanks for developing it!

How easy would it be to replace one of the images in the NOOB package with one of my own? I would ideally just like to replace the raspian image with a fully configured one including personal files etc so that it is easily recoverable through the recovery console.

I notice the image files are in a .gz format?

Would this be possible?

Thanks.

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Sorry, I meant .xz format.

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Easy, just put one of your images in any of the supported compression formats http://www.raspberrypi.org/archives/4100#comment-80217

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As Alex mentioned, a number of formats (including zip) are supported.

If you want to make your image as small as possible, we recommend using “xz -9 -e” to create a highly compressed xz file. (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/XZ_Utils)

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NOOBS arrived on the scene just in time for me and my new RPi. Great piece of work! I’ve been a Linux user for some years now so using dd to transfer an image to the card would not have been impossible, but simply unzipping the recovery file to it was much, much easier, and the step-by-step instructions and commentary while the Pi went through first boot and OS install gave a sense of “all is well”.

One thing though: while installing Raspbian, I was instructed (several times) that the user was pi and the password was raspberry and that I should write these down. Once booted into raspi-config, I changed the password (it didn’t want the old one) to “go” since I didn’t want to type “raspberry” every time I logged on. But the machine has not yet asked for a password! Does it only need that for sudo-ing or what? I haven’t had much time to play yet.

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Being a noob myself, I would like to thank everyone involved in helping us make it easier to get our pi’s up and running. Hats off to all you guys and gals that understand all this coding and programming!
I have not even received my pi yet but it is on its way and I have been looking at what seems like hundreds of youtube videos on getting the pi up and running and I was dreading trying to figure all of that out.
I’m going to be using this as a media center to access a hard drive with movies on it. One way this noobs helps me is…, I don’t have access to internet at home, only at work. At work I don’t have access to anything with a hdmi connection. See the problem? But now thanks to the noobs thingy, I can download this at work on the sd then take it home and install it on the pi. Right??? Oh god I hope so!!!! I guess i’ll finf out.
Thanks again so much for thinking of us not so informed noobs.

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RaspBMC, one of the distros on the NOOBS system, should work well for you. It plays videos much better than Raspbian. Someone suggested that most video software in Raspbian was using the CPU to do most of the processing and it just wasn’t up to it; apparently RaspBMC uses the GPU properly. Its desktop mouse navigation sucks but videos and music play flawlessly.

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After formatting and copying the NOOBS files onto the SDXC card, my Raspberry Pi did not recognize the card. Upon a second look, I noticed SDFormatter, had formatted my 64GB SDXC card as ExFAT. There does not appear to be an option in SDFormatter to format an SDXC card as FAT32. I used the Mac OS X, Disk Utility program to format the SDXC card as “MS DOS (FAT)”. Then copied the NOOBS files onto the card. Now my Raspberry Pi has no problem booting off of the 64GB SDXC card.

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I formatted a 16GB SD-card SD HC class 10 with FAT32. Then I copied all files of NOOBs 1.1 to the card. After booting I chose to install Pidora. At the end of pidora install I got an error message of dd with I/O error in /dev/….. After that I wanted to install raspian, but the recovery/image is corrupt now. No installation/recovery is anymore possible. Bad.

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See FAQs: “What if I brick my pi?”

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Could you reformat the card as FAT(16) and try again?

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Presumably you could create your own custom xz images and swap them with the official ones. Thinking of a school setup where’d I’d want a specific config for the pupils.

How would I go about creating the xz image from customised raspbian?

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The only issue I have is that the NOOB’s edition is 1GB and the wheezy is only 500MB

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Ben (just turned 8) and I installed NOOBS last Friday, with not a bit (sorry) of trouble. Today we installed Minecraft-Pi, with ease. Ben is happy, so Papa is happy as well.

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Tried NOOBS – using an Apple keyboard and a Mighty Mouse. Both have been great in the past, but booting into NOOBS and the mouse pointer will not move and clicks are not recognised. Also when I installed RISC OS, it’s not getting the correct mouse clicks (it seems to be interpreting mouse clicks as right clicks). Previously, this combo of keyboard and mouse worked well. Clicking to the left of the scroll ball gave me a left click, and clicking to the right gave a right click.

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Problem with the drivers, not the keyboard. Some Apple keyboards aren’t compatible with some OSes like Risc OS and possibly even the NOOBS.

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The keyboard and mouse I was using work fine when I install an OS without NOOBS being present. I was using RISC OS fine when it was the only OS in town, and the same applied to Raspbian. The keyboard being used (for what it’s worth) is the kind that shipped with the G3 iMacs. There’s no problem with that.

The thing is that people will be wanting to use what they have – if they have a keyboard and mouse already, that’s what’s going to be plugged into the Pi.

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This is a heads up. If something doesn’t work the first time, TRY AGAIN!
Copied the files onto an 8Gb sd card. Got caught in an infinite reboot cycle at the ‘select OS’ screen.

I re-formated the card, using the prescribed reformatter – now WORKS LIKE A CHARM!

Why? Maybe one of the files didn’t copy over just right. I wos worried about fat32 (8Gb Card) but it’s working just fine; so fat32 not an issue. (for me at least.)

Thanks for this fun tool. I can play with 5 OS’s for the price of….well…none !

:)

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I assume a GParted full SD fat32 works fine? Just for that default not noob edge.

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Yep it does. Installed Raspbian first time. I wonder if the noobs will update to v1.2 automatically? Ease of use 9/10, Features 9/10, Value for money 11/10.

Dropbox source on the dropbox website jim?

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Works great. I just put it on a 64 SDXC card. If you’re copying it from Windows(or any os). You have to make sure you format the card to FAT32. As the SDXC Spec is formatted exFAT at the factory.

I used the program “fat32format” in order to format the card. As windows won’t allow you to create Fat32 partitions that are larger than 32GB.

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hi,
Had the Pi working now for 3 -4 months with Rasp & Openelec “home made “SD cards& decided to use the NOOB setup.
What a mistake that was.
No booting for 1st 3 tries. and yes my HDMI TV does work with everything else the Pi throws at it.
Then when it finally booted it resized the Fat32 partition & deleted all the xz image files so nothing was installable. the keyboard & mouse stopped working as the Pi froze. so no recovery.
OK RTFM git hub /images only has png in it so …….
Tried adding my own .img file from Raspberrian . yes it boots. risizes partition and it has deleted the .img file again.

If this is for new comers to LINUX it is going to send them back to the MS fold real quickly.

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I’ve tried to install Raspbmc twice over thwe last 2 days withg NOOBS without any success I’m afraid. I checked the NOOBS zip file with the checksum – it was OK. After boot I picked Raspbmc off the list and the files transferred OK – until the kernels started to download when part way through an error message appeared at the bottom of the screen ???kernel sh line 32 not found???. It wasn’t on the screen long enough to write it all down. The kernels then started to extract finishing in another error message “kernel panic – not syncing VFS unable to mount root fs on unknown block (179,2)” . I think I got most of that error message down right. Then thr unfortunate cruncher was that when I tried to reboot back into NOOBS pressing down shift – this was ignored by the system which booted me back into a stuck Raspbmc. I thought I’d made a mistake somewhere and tried the whole procedure again but I hadn’t and the result was the same. I actually found it easier to reformat the SD card and reinstall Raspbian using a isk image than use NOOBS! Can someone suggest where I am going wrong please.

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Come and ask in the forums – the developers monitor what’s posted there more closely.

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Thanks I will

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MG,
You do not say if you used a windows machine to create the card as I had done. I used this method :-
http://qdosmsq.dunbar-it.co.uk/blog/2013/06/noobs-for-raspberry-pi
which is all LINUX based and that worked.! AMEN thanks to Norman writing something sensible
Going with the SDCard format etc with windows has cost me 4 SD cards that are now no longer recognised my Windows , 2 Linux machines, a Mac or any of my camera’s

Having used Linux for the last 15 years I am spoilt in as much as it WORKS so i have not had this kind of hassle except with MS products the school insists my kids use.

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I think this is a problem with the way Raspbmc works, rather than a problem with NOOBS itself
https://github.com/raspberrypi/noobs/issues/62

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Now I’m struggling with the forums….I see you’ve locked off the section for absolute beginners. Where do I post this?

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Er…no we haven’t! Try Troubleshooting.

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I am a noob, and just started with my Raspberry Pi today. I cannot get this to work, my green ACT light is not coming on other than a breif flash when first powered on and a few flickers in the following few seconds. I have tried some of what is suggested on: http://elinux.org/R-Pi_Troubleshooting#Red_power_LED_is_on.2C_green_LED_does_not_flash.2C_nothing_on_displaybut some of it doesn’t seem to apply to this. I haven’t even got out of the gate yet and I can’t get this thing going, help please. @lxbatty on twitter

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Hi alex — if you jump over to the Troubleshooting forum we should be able to help you once we have more details.

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For those having problems with Windows formatting tools I recommend Puppy Linux. You can simply run it from a CD, no installation necessary, and it includes GParted, the standard Linux partitioning tool.
http://www.murga-linux.com/puppy/viewtopic.php?t=70855

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This just doesn’t work for me unless I rename a couple of the recovery.* files to start.* – I’ve not seen that reported anywhere else, but I simple followed the instructions as given. Seems odd.

Incidentally, the NOOBS FAQ that states to copy a known good config.txt is useless advice. NOOBS won’t have a good config.txt.

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If I already have an installation on my SD card (Raspbmc), is it possible for me to switch to NOOBS without reformatting my SD card (I tried this, but it only showed 55 MB free space, and reformatting didn’t help)? For example, is there a command I can type in the terminal or when I start up that will allow me to download/install NOOBS?

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No, Andile, you need a freshly formatted SD card, 4GB or better. They are not expensive if you don’t want to destroy your current RaspBMC image.

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What if I already have NOOBS on the card, but want to be able to select a fresh install from the list again (like the first time it is booting). Can that be done from a terminal?

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I mean from ssh terminal

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I see a text editor with a non-monospaced font and it makes me cringe. *cringe*

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I need to insert a config_hdmi_boost=5
at EVERY SD-card that I prepare for my RPI. Otherwise my screen keeps flickering like mad.

How can I do that with the NOOBS? I created a config.txt file so that the initial NOOBS-software works flickerfree. But as soon as an OS is installed the bloody screen starts flickering like mad again! Where can insert that config_hdmi_boost=5-line in e.g. pidora or raspbian on a NOOBS prepared sd-card?

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i have ported Arch Linux ARM onto my 16GB SD card and connected with HDMI cable for display . but i m not able see anything in the display.please help

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I have received my RPi(B) with the NOOBS card but I am waiting for my charger to get going, I want to use my RPi for XBMC so what do I choose from the options on the NOOBS card as it says Rasbian(recommended) but I thought OpenELEC was supposed to be the best for XBMC, I have even ordered another 8GB SD card to put OpenELEC on but how do you attach 2 cards at the same time, I am more confused now.

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I also wish to switch between cards and saw the Nintendo DS games switch unit. I’ve got a 6 pole 3 way slide switch, push-push SD carriers, and a micro SD convertor as a plug; just got to get it all together.

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Earlier you mentioned that someone could swap the .xz files with a .zip and it would work.

I tried this by swapping OpenELEC.xz with a OpenELEC.zip, a file I got from:
http://openelec.thestateofme.com/official_images/OpenELEC-RPi.arm-3.2.0.img.zip

and renamed it to OpenELEC.zip.

The NOOBS install seems to work fine until it finishes
“writing image to SD card (910mb)”
then echoes the error message: “Logical Boot Record (LBR) not found”

If I try to boot this install I get the error “could not mount /dev/mmcblk0p2”

Where did I go wrong?

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Is there a way to get rid of NOOBS?

I’ve decided to stick with Raspian and already set up a few things like, TightVNC, etc, so i don’t want to install a new system and start from scratch.

I’d rather like to copy my existing Raspian system to another SD-Card and boot it directly without NOOBs.

What should i do?

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i got this problem after i installed my os the screen wil go black and sometimes give this kick the akt is flashing green like always but it does not work i tried formatting again and reinstal but that didn’t work either.

does anyone have a solutsion please help.

greets ivo

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Hi . I’ve just installed the noobs file in onto a sd card for my father and installed openelec and installed all the programs on xmbc . The sd card loads fine on my raspberry pi put as soon as i put in into my dads raspberry its asking me to choose one of the 6 programs to install again . After my father has installed openelec again and loaded all the programs on xmbc and switches the raspberry off and then turns it back on again its then is asked again which 1 of the 6 programs do you want to install . Any help with this would be grateful . Many thanks

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Hi Mike – this is an old post so you’d be better off asking in the forums, you’ll get lots of help there.

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Hello. Using Noobs, I installed Raspbian on an 8gb card. Why is there only about 1gb left on my card? How do I use other software such as office libre’, or store pics for time lapse?

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I am using a Sandisk Ultra 16Gb SD Card. Partitioned on my Windows PC I can use 14GB of space. Using Noobs, it creates an 8GB partition on the card. Is there an option to format and partition the full space on the card.

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why is slow the raspberry when i install openelec with the NOOBS ?
i believe it will very speed but… very slow

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my sd card is this :
SanDisk Ultra SDHC UHS-1 – SDSDX-008G-U46 – 8GB

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One odd thing with NOOBS is you may get no screen and red light on Pi on first boot. If you look through the flashdrives README files, this indicates there is a key to press at this stage to select PAL or NTSC output (cannot remember the key). Once you press this key – yippee a screen appears

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instructions say “and unpack it onto a freshly formatted 4GB (or larger) SD card”
what does “Unpack it” mean exactly? exract it? burn it to a bootable SD card as one would with the standard Pi setup?(remember this is called NOOBS for a reason.)

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Unpack = extract. Just open the zip file and drag and drop the files onto the card. No burning/imaging needed.

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I have already set up my Pi following the in-package instructions, and am running I think Debian. the only problem I have is that I cannot get an ASUS wifi adapter working.

will / should NOOBS help with that hurdle? (If not, I won’t bother switching to NOOBS)

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NOOBS is designed to get beginners started more easily and also allows easy re-installs when needed. But it will contain an up to date version of Raspian so may fix problems with your adapter if you have an older version or a different OS. For specific problems with wi-fi hardware it would be better to ask on the forums http://www.raspberrypi.org/forum/

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Hello … Trying the noobs install on a 4gb sd card. Says I need 2358 mb free but I only have apparently 2357. Any advice ? Sorry for the basic question.

Peace, rob

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Did you reformat it with the official SD card association’s tool? – https://www.sdcard.org/downloads/formatter_4/

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I used a formatted (using SD formatter for mac) 4GB SD card and followed all the steps to add contents of zip file. Pi fired up and noobs started ok but I was unable to install Raspbian as there was not enough space left on the card. Why was this do you think?

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Some 4GB cards aren’t actually 4GB – check and see how much space is really on your card. If it’s undersized, you’ll have to get a new one.

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I had the same problem. The 4gb card has 3.9gb space on it, according to Mac OSX and the official SD Formatter software.

After copying the NOOBS files over and running it for the first time, when it has finished ‘optimising the FAT partition’ there is only 2.3gb space left, so not enough to install Rasbian.

Perhaps you should recommend a minimum 8gb SD card for NOOBS installs?

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Not all SD cards are the same (seriously). Some 4GB cards will fit it on, some won’t.

You can stick the card in your PC and delete the other OS folders you don’t need to free up some space.

I’ll make a note to check with the team about revisiting our 4GB statement.

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Need help with headless setup. I have NOOBS extraced and copied onto a freshly formatted SD card. The PI is hard wired to my router. It is powered on. All LED’s except the lights the SD card(ACT) LED is lit. When i go to my netgear routed console and look at attached devices it does not list the PI. I however connected the PI to my TV through a HDMI Cable it displays the installation options. Any ideas as to why my PI is not listing in the list of attached devices ?

Thanks

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Arun,I only just saw your post. You have a NOOBS SD card installed and the RPi powered up connected to a TV .. but does not show up on your router.

Have you actually selected an OS yet? NOOBS is fantastic – but is only the ‘installer’. Raspbian is recommended as the OS unless you have specific requirements. Once that is started, you will still need to configure a remote shell support (SSHD) – search for ‘headless pi’ or similar on the forums – there are lots of projects that do this.

good luck

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I decided to repackage Rasplex for install under NOOBS and thought I’d share. Each build is completely independent and will coexist on the SD card with other versions & OpenELEC…
https://www.dropbox.com/sh/rzqrsv8ydtvowi5/30ZOPVX6yF

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Any help downloading the noobs os loader? have been trying but appears to stall and does not work.
Other links available?

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Is it only me or is the add-on section on the RaspBMC broken? I cant find any add-ons but it says that “XBMC.org Add-ons” is activated. And the “Weather Underground” add-on is broken and asks if I want to disable it. I then press yes, but it keeps popping up after every restart of the system? If this is wthe wrong place to ask for this then please redirect me :-)

Regards
Roar

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Mh, i see that under OpenELEC the add-ons are listet but nothing happens when i try to install them… Something is not right it seems, but i do not have the knowledge to find out what if not pointed in the right direction I’m afraid.

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Please go to the Raspberry Pi forums – there is a section there for media problems like this. You won’t get an answer here.

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I’m having trouble making a custom OS install for retropie. I can get it to install, then when I run it I get a “panic: unable to mount root fs on unknown-block(179,2)”.
After I get it working I’m going to try and get it to select which OS to load based on gpio inputs!

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Any chance you could add the Adafruit distro?

Occidentalis v0.2

http://learn.adafruit.com/adafruit-raspberry-pi-educational-linux-distro/occidentalis-v0-dot-2

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Cannot see the images with the new web site design

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Hi. I’m doing a new NOOBS installation on a newly purchased NOOBS SD card. Unlike the last time (some months ago)it now gives 2 versions of Raspbian. One with SD card icon, other with icon representing an Ethernet port & cable (?). What is the difference – as I don’t know which one to select, and no explanation is given.

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hi,
I have an “image file corrupt” error when I try to install the OS,can anyone tell me what the error means and how to fix it.

Please Help,(need answer in one hour)!!!

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Ah! That’ll be a corrupt image file. Try the forums.

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Hello,
after a few hours searching with google I can’t find an answers for my question. So I will ask here direct.

Is it possible to choose the os in the boot menue of noobs with the gpio interface?

The background is that I control xbmc with the android app and raspian with ssh or xrdp. So I won’t to connect a mouse or a keyboard extra to change the os. Pehearbs there is any other way to change without do that?

Thank you for your answer.

And sorry for my bad english. Im still learnig it.

Many greetings

Tim

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Great software !
Only one big probelm, is that, if we used for example Openelec and raspbian for a few weeks and then we deceided to add archlinux, this install will erased all the config we made for openelec and raspbian.
It would be nice to have openelec not been reseted when we add a new distro to the sd card. The same thing for raspbian for example…

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When ever I try to use the Noobs installer, it boots up to the OS selection screen but my mouse and keyboard dont work.

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Try asking for help in the forums – there’s plenty of help there.

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