How to Install Raspberry Pi OS (Legacy)

Out with the old, in with the old.
Ash Ash (362)

Every so often, the Raspberry Pi Foundation releases a new version of the Raspberry Pi OS. With new operating system versions come changes—we remember when it was called Raspbian instead of Raspberry Pi OS. But with these updates comes new system configurations that can cause unexpected issues with existing projects, programs, and applications.

Many makers are hesitant to upgrade their operating system, preferring to maintain functional operation at the cost of using an out of date OS. The Raspberry Pi Foundation has recognized this problem and addressed the matter with the release of a legacy edition of the Raspberry Pi OS based on the Debian Buster release.

This officially supported OS edition is available for install on the official Raspberry Pi website. Users have two ways of getting the legacy edition including a manual download option or through the Raspberry Pi Imager.

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Raspberry Pi OS Legacy Download
Raspberry Pi Foundation

The new Raspberry Pi OS (Legacy) is available for manual download on the official Raspberry Pi website. Visit the Operating Systems download page and save the legacy edition to your computer. Take note of where the file is saved to and what the name is.

The operating system image will need to be manually flashed to a microSD card. This can be done using a third party application like Etcher or using the official Raspberry Pi Imager.

Open the imaging application and point the software to the microSD card you want to flash and where the downloaded OS file is located from the previous step.

Raspberry Pi Imager Legacy OS

The latest edition of Raspberry Pi Imager (as of writing, we’re at 1.6.2) has an option to install Raspberry Pi OS (Legacy). You can download the latest Raspberry Pi Imager software from the Raspberry Pi website.

Connect your microSD card, launch the Raspberry Pi imager, and set the storage device to your micro SD card. The new legacy OS can be found under Raspberry Pi OS (other) > Raspberry Pi OS (Legacy). Select write and wait for the operating system to install.

When the SD card is ready, pop it into your Pi and boot up the legacy OS. Follow the first-time setup instructions to get everything up and running as needed for your project.

It’s out of beta and into production.
Ash Ash (362)

The official operating system of the Raspberry Pi, known as Raspberry Pi OS, has finally received a 64-bit edition.