Raspberry Pi NOOBS: How to Set Up, Configure, and Use NOOBS

Getting started with the Raspberry Pi OS installation program.
Ash Ash (362)
10 minutes

Update: This article refers to older editions of applications that are no longer relevant to the Raspberry Pi ecosystem. The NOOBS application has been replaced by Raspberry Pi Imager. The Raspbian OS has also been replaced with Raspberry Pi OS.

So you've got a fresh Raspberry Pi...where do you start? First things first—you'll need an operating system. One easy way to get an OS loaded on your Raspberry Pi is to use NOOBS.

What is NOOBS?

NOOBS is an OS installation program created by Raspberry Pi. It comes pre-loaded with operating systems that can run on the Raspberry Pi. You can also use it to download additional OS images from the internet.

What does NOOBS stand for?

NOOBS is an acronym for New Out Of the Box Software.

How does NOOBS work?

The NOOBS software package is downloaded onto your computer and installed onto a MicroSD card. When you load the SD card on your Raspberry Pi, an interface loads with a selection of Operating Systems. You can use the NOOBS program to choose an OS, download additional ones from the internet, and install them directly onto your Pi.

NOOBS saves you the trouble of tracking down individual OS packages online. It's like a one-stop-shop for setting up an OS on your Pi.

Raspberry PiRaspberry Pi ×1

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raspberry pi NOOBS install

You can download NOOBS directly from the Raspberry Pi Foundation website. The default version comes pre-loaded with Raspbian. They also offer a lite version without the Raspbian preload.

How to install NOOBS

The NOOBs package comes in a zip file. We need to copy the contents of the zip file to put them on a blank MicroSD card for the Raspberry Pi.

Connect the MicroSD card to your computer. Open the zip file and extract the contents to the MicroSD card location.

Once the transfer is complete, safely eject your MicroSD card, insert it into the Raspberry Pi, and connect the Pi's power supply. Your Raspberry Pi will now boot into NOOBS.

You can find these operating systems on NOOBS for installation. Certain ones are built into the NOOBS SD card installation while others will need to be downloaded before installing. Don't worry -- the NOOBS installer will download them for you automatically!

Software Availability
Raspbian Full SD Card
LibreELEC RPi2 SD Card
Raspbian Lite Download
Lakka RPi2 Download
Raspbian Download
Data Partition Download
OSMC Pi2 Download
Screenly OSE Download
RISC OS Download
Windows 10 IoT Core Download
TLXOS Download

Certain operating systems and other pre-built images like RetroPie can't be installed using NOOBS.

Raspberry Pi NOOBS software

Your Pi should now boot into NOOBS. Connecting your Pi to the internet will give you more installation options. You can use an Ethernet cable or click Wifi networks at the top to open Wifi options. This will expand the list of available software you can install. For example, you should consider setting up Pi-hole to browse the web pop-up free!

Scroll through the list to find the operating system you need. From there, just follow the prompts to complete the installation process.

Congratulations! You're a NOOBS pro.

John John (304)
15 minutes

Important: Raspbian has been replaced by Raspberry Pi OS! Raspbian is a free Debian-based operating system optimized for Raspberry Pi hardware. "Buster" is development code name for Debian 10.