If you’re here because you got a Raspberry Pi for Christmas, then Happy Christmas – and welcome to the Raspberry Pi family! If you’re just here for fun, then Happy Christmas too!
The Raspberry Pi is a computer that you can use for all sort of brilliant and useful things, from learning to program, to making robots, to Tweeting when birds visit a nesting box, to taking pictures from the stratosphere.
Here are some tips on setting up and using your Raspberry Pi.
1. Make sure your software is up to date
The most important thing is to make sure that you have the latest version of our New Out Of Box Software (NOOBS). You can check this by starting your Raspberry Pi – here’s Carrie Anne to tell you more.
If you don’t have the latest version (1.3.11) we recommend that you go here to get the latest version and follow the instructions (it’s really easy – just download & unzip it and then drag and drop onto a formatted SD card).
2. Setting up
Full set up instructions and lots of other help are in our Help section. If you have any issues setting up your Raspberry Pi that isn’t answered in the Help section then please visit our forums. Our forum members are a very friendly bunch and will help you with any problems. The FAQ also has lots of tips and useful information
Do make sure that you have a good quality power supply. Some cheaper supplies do not output the power that they claim! Any quality smartphone charger, for example, rated 1A and above would be perfect (raid the kitchen drawers!)
When you finally boot up you will be asked to log in. The login is pi and the password is raspberry. Note that nothing appears when you type the password, so tpye caerfuly!
Command line and windows
The Pi boots into a command line where you type instructions to the computer. To start a windows-style graphical user interface, first log in, and then type startx and press enter.
Brain on a stick warning: The Raspberry Pi is special. We built this little computer so that you have to tell it what to do, not the other way round. You’re in charge. It’s a very different experience to unboxing a tablet or laptop—deliberately so!—but because of this it has so much more potential. We accept full responsibility for any learning, thinking or fun that may occur whilst using our product. :)
3. What can you do with your Raspberry Pi?
Because it’s a general purpose computer, you can do loads of stuff. But because it’s also small and light and doesn’t use much power, you can do even more amazing things. And if you just want to use it as a media player then that’s cool with us too.
Want to know more? For younger Pi people we recommend Carrie Anne Philbin’s Adventures in Raspberry Pi, which will get you set up and hacking away in an afternoon. Otherwise we recommend the official User Guide, co-authored by our very own Eben Upton, which will take you from raw beginnings to automating your whole house.
Merry Christmas! We’ll be back in a few days – we’re taking a little while out to spend time with our families. And have nice elevenses with a slice of seed cake and a glass of madeira.
Additional resources and projects
The MagPi magazine is full of help, tutorials, projects and ideas. It’s free and quite excellent.
Did we mention that we have a free version of Minecraft for the Pi? It’s great fun to play, but even better to program and there are some excellent resources to show you how.
Lastly, if you are stuck for inspiration then have a trawl through our blog, which is both excellent reading (Liz just won an award for it, hurrah!) and will also get you thinking,”Wow! I’m going to do that!” Then sidle off to our lovely resources to learn how to do everything from making games, composing music, making time lapse movies and the basics of programming.
Update: we just released a new version of Raspbian! It’s available on our downloads page – and if you already have a previous version, you can get the update by entering the following commands in your terminal:
sudo apt-get update sudo apt-get dist-upgrade sudo apt-get install raspberrypi-ui-mods