Quessts
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Is it possible to use a Rasberry PI on a laptop?

Fri Jul 16, 2021 8:58 pm

Hey so I just bought a Raspberry PI and I'm wondering if it's possible to hook it up to an old laptop and make the Raspberry PI my main OS. I really don't want to buy a new monitor, keyboard and mouse just for the Raspberry PI.

wildfire
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Re: Is it possible to use a Rasberry PI on a laptop?

Fri Jul 16, 2021 9:24 pm

If both have access to the same network (not necessarily internet access) then using VNC would be the simplest option.
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fruitoftheloom
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Re: Is it possible to use a Rasberry PI on a laptop?

Fri Jul 16, 2021 9:32 pm

Quessts wrote:
Fri Jul 16, 2021 8:58 pm
Hey so I just bought a Raspberry PI and I'm wondering if it's possible to hook it up to an old laptop and make the Raspberry PI my main OS. I really don't want to buy a new monitor, keyboard and mouse just for the Raspberry PI.


https://www.raspberrypi.org/documentati ... te-access/
Take what I advise as advice not the utopian holy grail, and it is gratis !!

Doug_
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Re: Is it possible to use a Rasberry PI on a laptop?

Sat Jul 17, 2021 3:53 am

You sure can! How you work is pretty much dependent on what suits you and what you want to do. BTW welcome to the fantastic world of PI.

As someone already said you can use VNC, this does work well. On my iPad it's very marginal but it would depend on the client you use on the iPad or PC.

My preferred mode of operation is to use my old and slow Linux ubuntu laptop and ssh into the PI or any other machine on my network from the terminal window. Starting the ssh session using the '-X' option enables any graphical application to run from the command line, the GUI window will pop up on the laptop screen. I think you could also launch the full desktop this way as well but have not yet felt the need to figure out the best PI command line options to make this happen.

After you've enabled ssh on the PI, confirmed its hostname is say 'RaspberryPI' and connected to your network , open a terminal window on your laptop and use the command:

Code: Select all

ssh -X pi@RaspberryPI.local
If I'm working on a project this is the simplest and quickest way to flip between the various tools. For example I use the following frequently: pdf viewer: qpdfview, photo viewer: fim. You may have to use 'xhost +' to enable forwarding on your local machine.

Windows or Mac PCs will have their differences but would be relatively simple to figure out. I can't help with windows since <I've been Windows free now for 25 years..>

Oh and I find working on multiple machines simultaneously from the one laptop is very useful.

cspan
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Re: Is it possible to use a Rasberry PI on a laptop?

Sat Jul 17, 2021 11:58 am

Quessts wrote:
Fri Jul 16, 2021 8:58 pm
Hey so I just bought a Raspberry PI and I'm wondering if it's possible to hook it up to an old laptop and make the Raspberry PI my main OS. I really don't want to buy a new monitor, keyboard and mouse just for the Raspberry PI.
I think the responders above understood your intent correctly, but for those who read your question more like, "Is it possible to use a Rasberry PI OS on a laptop?" the answer is technically no, but practically yes.

Technically no because the Raspberry Pi OS (RPiOS) is for Raspberry Pi computers, not laptops.

Practically yes because there is an OS called Raspberry Pi Desktop (aka RPD, or Debian with Raspberry Pi Desktop) which works on PCs and Macs. It looks virtually identical to RPiOS, but has none of the specific functionality that RPiOS does for the Pi boards. I ran RPD on an old, slow laptop which was too under-specced to run Ubuntu. Being so lightweight, it ran well on the laptop's meager 2GB of RAM and I was able to squeeze a few more years of service out of it.

But it seems that you want to use your laptop's keyboard, mouse, and monitor to access the Pi. As noted above, you could network it to access the Pi from your laptop's OS. I suppose you could also replace your laptop's OS with RPD and still network to the Pi, but it's probably unnecessary to change OS on the laptop.

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DougieLawson
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Re: Is it possible to use a Rasberry PI on a laptop?

Sat Jul 17, 2021 1:24 pm

Quessts wrote:
Fri Jul 16, 2021 8:58 pm
I'm wondering if it's possible to hook it up to an old laptop and make the Raspberry PI my main OS.
The Raspberry Pi and an old laptop are HARDWARE. RaspiOS and Windows are SOFTWARE. You're confusing the terms.

You can connect a RPi Zero or a RPi4B running RaspiOS as a USB device to laptop hardware running the Windows OS. There's various functions you can use with that.
https://gist.github.com/gbaman/975e2db1 ... e45e8fd40a

But you really need to restate your problem without confusing the terms. Your current question doesn't have any meaningful answer.
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HermannSW
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Re: Is it possible to use a Rasberry PI on a laptop?

Sat Jul 17, 2021 2:23 pm

The OTG method of powering Pi from laptop and getting network over usb as well Dougie mentioned should do well, I did that often with my Pi0s. I would install Ubuntu on the old laptop.

Lately I even power a complete Pi400 from laptop usb in gadget mode. Then I can use the Pi400 as keyboard for itself as well as the laptop. Real space saver, as the photos show for comparison:
https://gist.github.com/Hermann-SW/19c7 ... 89de2b0a60
https://stamm-wilbrandt.de/2wheel_balancing_robot
https://stamm-wilbrandt.de/en#raspcatbot
https://github.com/Hermann-SW/Raspberry_v1_camera_global_external_shutter
https://github.com/Hermann-SW/raspiraw
https://stamm-wilbrandt.de/en/Raspberry_camera.html

cspan
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Re: Is it possible to use a Rasberry PI on a laptop?

Sat Jul 17, 2021 6:34 pm

HermannSW wrote:
Sat Jul 17, 2021 2:23 pm
...
Lately I even power a complete Pi400 from laptop usb in gadget mode. Then I can use the Pi400 as keyboard for itself as well as the laptop. Real space saver, as the photos show for comparison:
https://gist.github.com/Hermann-SW/19c7 ... 89de2b0a60
Is there something wrong with your laptop keyboard, that you have to use the Pi400? Or are you just using your laptop as if it was a CPU case? Appears so as you now have external keyboard, mouse, and monitor.

Was kind of hard to see how it could be a space saver if your laptop already has a keyboard.

fruitoftheloom
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Re: Is it possible to use a Rasberry PI on a laptop?

Sat Jul 17, 2021 7:30 pm

cspan wrote:
Sat Jul 17, 2021 6:34 pm
HermannSW wrote:
Sat Jul 17, 2021 2:23 pm
...
Lately I even power a complete Pi400 from laptop usb in gadget mode. Then I can use the Pi400 as keyboard for itself as well as the laptop. Real space saver, as the photos show for comparison:
https://gist.github.com/Hermann-SW/19c7 ... 89de2b0a60
Is there something wrong with your laptop keyboard, that you have to use the Pi400? Or are you just using your laptop as if it was a CPU case? Appears so as you now have external keyboard, mouse, and monitor.

Was kind of hard to see how it could be a space saver if your laptop already has a keyboard.

The OP never stated what model of Raspberry Pi :shock:
Take what I advise as advice not the utopian holy grail, and it is gratis !!

StellarEquilibrium
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Re: Is it possible to use a Rasberry PI on a laptop?

Mon Jul 19, 2021 1:20 am

wildfire wrote:
Fri Jul 16, 2021 9:24 pm
If both have access to the same network (not necessarily internet access) then using VNC would be the simplest option.
The issue is that when asking this type of question 99% of people don't want to run a notebook full linux os to access the pi via VNC since that kinda defeats the purpose of the pi. Why not just use the notebook.

To OP you can't cut out the notebook running since there's no way to have HDMI in to your display like a normal monitor would.

Genuiely curious, does something like VncOs / VNC&SSH only OS exist? Like a linux distro without anythig battery hogging except VNC and SSH. No desktop, no icons, no explorer, no fancy FN keys, no camera, no microphone.

wildfire
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Re: Is it possible to use a Rasberry PI on a laptop?

Mon Jul 19, 2021 10:01 am

StellarEquilibrium wrote:
Mon Jul 19, 2021 1:20 am
wildfire wrote:
Fri Jul 16, 2021 9:24 pm
If both have access to the same network (not necessarily internet access) then using VNC would be the simplest option.
The issue is that when asking this type of question 99% of people don't want to run a notebook full linux os to access the pi via VNC since that kinda defeats the purpose of the pi. Why not just use the notebook.
Erm, my Windows 10 laptop can access all my pi's (most headless) via VNC Viewer without any signs of linux on the laptop. :???:
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HermannSW
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Re: Is it possible to use a Rasberry PI on a laptop?

Mon Jul 19, 2021 3:30 pm

cspan wrote:
Sat Jul 17, 2021 6:34 pm


Is there something wrong with your laptop keyboard, that you have to use the Pi400? Or are you just using your laptop as if it was a CPU case? Appears so as you now have external keyboard, mouse, and monitor.

Was kind of hard to see how it could be a space saver if your laptop already has a keyboard.
I use laptop keyboard with laptop display in mobile scenarios.

When working from home I use HDMI monitor, placed at eye height.
With that I used wireless keyboard sofar.

Since I use Pi400 at same place, I had to switch Pi400 with wireless keyboard.
Please see the before/after photos in the Gist I pointed to on "space saver".
https://stamm-wilbrandt.de/2wheel_balancing_robot
https://stamm-wilbrandt.de/en#raspcatbot
https://github.com/Hermann-SW/Raspberry_v1_camera_global_external_shutter
https://github.com/Hermann-SW/raspiraw
https://stamm-wilbrandt.de/en/Raspberry_camera.html

Doug_
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Re: Is it possible to use a Rasberry PI on a laptop?

Sat Jul 24, 2021 2:09 am

You can connect a RPi Zero or a RPi4B running RaspiOS as a USB device to laptop hardware running the Windows OS. There's various functions you can use with that.
I just gave this a try, it is an extraordinarily good way to develop and test on the Pi Zero.

This was easy to set up, changing the config.txt and cmdline.txt files on the Pi Zero according to DougieLawsons' link instruction. Then on my ancient laptop with Ubuntu 16.04 (up to date btw):

System settings >> Network >> Wired >> Options >> IPv4 Settings, set Method to "Shared to Other Computers" and check the "Require IPv4 addressing for this connection to complete" box.

The Pi Zero connected and ssh into the PiZero. No other 'fixes' were required to have the Pi Zero see the internet and was able to run 'sudo at update' and 'sudo apt full-upgrade'. Having this ability is absolutely essential imho.

I mention this because a lot of now very old chatter on the various forums gives the impression that this is way more difficult than it really is.
Last edited by Doug_ on Sun Jul 25, 2021 6:54 am, edited 2 times in total.

aBUGSworstnightmare
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Re: Is it possible to use a Rasberry PI on a laptop?

Sat Jul 24, 2021 5:19 am

Quessts wrote:
Fri Jul 16, 2021 8:58 pm
Hey so I just bought a Raspberry PI and I'm wondering if it's possible to hook it up to an old laptop and make the Raspberry PI my main OS. I really don't want to buy a new monitor, keyboard and mouse just for the Raspberry PI.
if you want to use Raspbian OS on your laptop simply install the Raspbian desktop version
https://www.raspberrypi.org/software/
Then use a RPI of your choice as GPIO extension.

fruitoftheloom
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Re: Is it possible to use a Rasberry PI on a laptop?

Sat Jul 24, 2021 5:38 am

aBUGSworstnightmare wrote:
Sat Jul 24, 2021 5:19 am
Quessts wrote:
Fri Jul 16, 2021 8:58 pm
Hey so I just bought a Raspberry PI and I'm wondering if it's possible to hook it up to an old laptop and make the Raspberry PI my main OS. I really don't want to buy a new monitor, keyboard and mouse just for the Raspberry PI.
if you want to use Raspbian OS on your laptop simply install the Raspbian desktop version
https://www.raspberrypi.org/software/
Then use a RPI of your choice as GPIO extension.

The x86 Raspberry Pi Operating System has nothing to do with RASPBIAN whatsoever, as you are well aware. It is Debian i386 MultiArch with Raspberry Pi Desktop desktop environment:

https://www.raspberrypi.org/software/ra ... pi-desktop

2021-01-11-raspios-buster-i386.iso
Take what I advise as advice not the utopian holy grail, and it is gratis !!

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thagrol
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Re: Is it possible to use a Rasberry PI on a laptop?

Sat Jul 24, 2021 11:34 am

Doug_ wrote:
Sat Jul 24, 2021 2:09 am
I mention this because a lot of now very old chatter on the various forums gives the impression that this is way more difficult than it really is.
FYI there's an in depth guide on the ethernet gadget here: viewtopic.php?f=91&t=306121&p=1851130#p1851130

Full discolsure: I wrote it.
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All advice given is based on my experience. it worked for me, it may not work for you.
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thagrol
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Re: Is it possible to use a Rasberry PI on a laptop?

Sat Jul 24, 2021 3:30 pm

applezop wrote:
Sat Jul 24, 2021 12:46 pm
To connect raspberry pi to laptop display, you can simply use an ethernet cable. The desktop GUI (Graphical User Interface) of the raspberry pi can be viewed through the laptop display using a 100Mbps ethernet connection between the two
An ethernet cable is not enough. You need a VNC viewer and, idealy, mDNS on the laptop. Along with a VNC server on the Pi.

Or you could run an X server on the laptop and remote the Pi's desktop to that. Though that's a more complex setup.

Plus neither VNC nor X require a 100Mbps connection. They can run under much less bandwidth.
. ... Also, internet can be shared from laptop's WiFi over Ethernet.
If the laptop has an internet connection and its OS supports that.
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All advice given is based on my experience. it worked for me, it may not work for you.
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fep
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Re: Is it possible to use a Rasberry PI on a laptop?

Sun Jul 25, 2021 2:42 am

Quessts wrote:
Fri Jul 16, 2021 8:58 pm
Hey so I just bought a Raspberry PI and I'm wondering if it's possible to hook it up to an old laptop and make the Raspberry PI my main OS. I really don't want to buy a new monitor, keyboard and mouse just for the Raspberry PI.
In case no one mentioned, there is a Raspberry pi OS that runs on x86 laptops. You might try that out...

There is also a Raspberry Pi compute module based laptop from Waveshare that is 15.6 inches.

Doug_
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Re: Is it possible to use a Rasberry PI on a laptop?

Sun Jul 25, 2021 2:55 am

Hey Thagrol,
Many thanks for these guides - invaluable. Great work!

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