Pi Imager and the configuration wizard simplify the installation of Raspberry Pi OS (old Raspbian)

Install Raspberry Pi OS (Raspbian) with Pi Imager and Piwik.Desktop
Table of Contents

Installing and configuring Raspberry Pi OS (old Raspbian) has never been easier. No more downloading the system image and writing a configuration file. With Pi Imager and the new Raspbian configuration wizard, installation and configuration becomes a breeze and takes only a few tens of minutes.

Install Raspberry Pi Imager on your PC or Mac

The Raspberry Foundation has developed a tool that allows you to download and install the system image on the destination micro-SD board in 3 steps. No need to manually download the Raspbian Pi Imager image takes care of everything!

It’s a tool equivalent to Noobs

Go to this page to retrieve the Pi Imager application that suits your environment. Windows, macOS or Linux (Ubuntu only).

install raspbian buster raspberry pi4

Once installed on your computer, launch Pi Imager. Click Choose OS to select the system to install

start pi imager

Pi Imager uses the same principle as Noobs and offers several operating systems to install:

  • Raspbian (Buster or higher)
    • Lite version (400MB). It is the minimal version without graphical interface with the minimum of pre-installed software. It is the ideal distribution to run a home automation server or do IoT development with Node-RED, InfluxDB, MongoDB, Grafana …
    • Raspbian (1.1GB). The recommended default version. There is a graphical interface with the Libre Office office suite, development tools and graphical editing …
    • Raspbian Full (2.5GB). The full version
  • LibreElec (0.1MB). A distribution that transforms the Raspberry Pi into a mediacenter. LibreElec is a non-profit branch of the OpenELEC project. 3 versions are available depending on the Raspberry Pi model (Zero, Pi 2 or Pi 3, Raspberry Pi 4)
  • Ubuntu. 6 versions of Ubuntu. Server 32 or 64 bit (18 or 19), Core IoT (32 or 64 bit)
  • Misc utility images. This category contains only the span class tool = “diyhl diytext” of the Raspberry Pi 4 EEPROM

pi imager eeprom boot recovery

  • Custom. Allows you to choose your own distribution image (in .img format) stored locally. We will use this option for other distributions such as Mozilla WebThing, PiNet

pi imager distributions


Chose the right microSD board

An 8GB SD board is more than enough. Buy a major brand board with the mention class 10 minimum. You will get better performance with new generation SDXC type II V90 boards (90MB/s).

Choosing a quality SD board is crucial. On the one hand so that the system is fast and on the other hand to avoid breakdowns. SD boards were not designed for such intensive use (not like SSD flash drives).

Buy a second SD board and regularly clone the main SD board (after each update, every month). In case of failure, you can restart your server in a few minutes without having to reinstall everything.

See more high performance SDXC II microSD board

Install Raspberry Pi OS image on micro SD Card

Now insert the micro-SD board into the reader and click on Choose SD Card to indicate the destination of the copy.

start pi imager

Start writing the files by clicking on Write. Pi Image will take care of downloading the system image, copying it to the board and finally checking that everything is correct.

raspberry pi imager write raspbian sd board

The SD board is automatically ejected at the end of the write operation.

raspberry pi imager complete

When to use Belana Etcher?

Before the Raspberry foundation offered Pi Imager, the most common solution (other than Noobs) was to use Balena Etcher. Etcher is a utility for copying files to an SD board in general and was not specifically developed for Raspbian.

Etcher is still of interest especially when you have to prepare a large number of SD boards in series (one after the other or in batches with Etcher Pro), for example if you have the project to equip a room class.

Another limitation is that Pi Imager only supports images in img format. Etcher meanwhile supports most formats img, iso, zip, bin, bz2, dmg, dsk, etch, gz, hddimg, raw, rpi-sdimg, sdboard, wic and xz!

belana etcher

Configure Raspbian Buster on first start with the piwiz.desktop wizard

Insert the micro-SD board into the Raspberry Pi’s reader and turn it on. Start-up is fairly quick (around 20 to 30 seconds depending on the Raspberry Pi model).

When starting up for the first time, Raspbian launches the configuration wizard. Click Next at each step of the configuration.

raspberry pi4 setup raspbian buster welcome

At startup, the system starts a utility named piwiz.desktop saved in the system folder /etc/xdg/autostart/. This utility is removed – permanently – at the end of the configuration or when you press Cancel. It is no longer possible to restart the configuration wizard (maybe in a future update …).

By default, Raspbian Buster is configured in English. Change the interface language, keyboard and time zone. The configuration of the keyboard is automatically done by going to the next screen but it will be necessary to wait for the restart for the interface to be modified.

raspberry pi4 setup raspbian buster french raspberry pi4 setup raspbian buster country setup

For security, immediately change the password for the Pi user (created by default).

If you have a black border on the edge of the screen, check the box on the wizard which will try to improve the display. You will have to wait for the restart for the setting to be taken into account.

raspberry pi4 setup raspbian buster screen black border

Choose the WiFi network to which Raspberry Pi must connect (unless it is connected by Ethernet)

 raspberry pi4 setup raspbian buster wifi

Last step, update the system. Packages are updated daily. Even if you have just installed the Raspbian image, there are most certainly security updates to be done, it will only take a few minutes.

 raspberry pi4 raspbian buster update raspberry pi4 raspbian buster update system

It’s almost done, all you have to do is restart Raspbian!

raspberry pi4 raspbian buster update complete

And now, your Raspberry Pi is ready!

Configure the Lite version of Raspberry Pi OS

Configure WiFi connection

The Lite version without graphical interface does not have a version of Piwiz.Desktop. Fortunately, the raspi-config utility is still available. Connect in SSH or directly on the Raspberry

Read Also
SSH Connection to Access a Remote Raspberry Pi

Execute command

sudo raspi-config

Go to the Network Options menu.

Configurer l'accès au réseau WiFi à l'aide de Raspbi-config

Then in the Wireless LAN menu

Configurer l'accès au réseau WiFi à l'aide de Raspbi-config

Manually enter the name of the WiFi network (SSID) to which the Raspberry Pi should connect. Go to OK with the arrow keys then Enter to continue

Saisir le SSID du réseau WiFi

And the WiFi password. Finish the configuration by confirming with OK. The Raspberry Pi immediately connects to the WiFi network.

To find the IP address, run the hostname -I command


6/06/2020 WiFi configuration and keyboard of the Lite version of Raspberry Pi OS

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