On this page I’m going to document the changes I have personally made to my Raspberry Pi and the reason for them.
This page is mostly to help me restore my Pi after a format, but I’ve put it up here in case it is useful to anyone else.
Connect a wireless USB dongle (or plug in a network cable), a keyboard and mouse. There are only two USB sockets so either use a wireless keyboard and mouse that share a dongle or connect to a powered usb hub first.
First time boot
Raspi-Config is the screen that appears on the Raspberry Pi when you boot it for the first time. Each option has quite a detailed explanation.
- Run expand_rootfs
- Run change_pass (then choose pi’s password)
- Run set_locale (en_gb was already selected, just had to set it as default)
- Run ssh and enable
- Run boot_behavior and always boot to desktop
Once we’re in raspbian
Using the GUI
Run wpa_gui and connect to the wireless (or plug in a network cable)
Moving to Putty
Putty allows you to use your main computer to run commands on the PI. Download it here. Run and connect to the raspberry pi ip address, type pi as the username and your password.
Apt-get lets us download new packages from the internet. It installs them for you too. A little housekeeping before we start
sudo apt-get update
It is also recommended to upgrade the packages we already have. This will take 15 minutes or longer.
sudo apt-get upgrade
Sudo works like ‘Run as Administrator’ on Windows, but on the Pi you must write it before the command
GUI package installer
It’s easier (when not using Putty) to use a GUI to install packages. It also lets you search more easily (so you don’t need to know the exact package name). The programme to do this is Synaptic, but we first need to download it; so we’ll use apt-get again
sudo apt-get install synaptic
VNC is a remote desktop application that allows you to see the Raspberry Pi desktop from your main computer. Download it with
sudo apt-get install x11vnc
Once that is installed type
and when prompted enter a password
To run VNC type
x11vnc -bg -usepw
Putty will fill up with text showing the application is running. Open VNC and connect to [Raspberry Pi IP]:5900.
-bg lets x11vnc run in the background after you start it.
You should now be viewing the same desktop as you would see through the HDMI connection
Shortening the VNC command
Make a file called vnc.sh with the following content
x11vnc -bg -usepw
then to start vnc type
Synaptic package manager
You’ve now got a GUI package manager and you have remote access to SSH and the desktop from your main computer. Using the GUI we can now install some of the other applications we need
Chromium web browser
Open Synaptic from the desktop menu. You’ll need your password.
Click on Search and type
Tick the box next to the chromium result and select ‘Mark for installation’ then ‘Mark’
Click on ‘Apply’ then ‘Apply’ again.
Personally I want to run this on an upright monitor and I want to ensure that the screensaver does not come on / the screen does not go blank after a certain amount of time.
Stopping the screen going blank
Connect to the pi with Putty. Type the following
sudo nano /
A text file will appear on the screen. You should to do this in putty as you need root access to the text file. If you don’t have putty use the terminal in the GUI.
Press the down arrow on the keyboard until you hit this line
Replace this line with
xserver-command=X -s 0 -dpms
(ensure that you have removed the # from the start of the line)
Press Enter. Your file is now saved.
Rotating the display
Turn off the Raspberry Pi and remove the SD card. Put the SD card into a computer and edit config.txt. Add the following lines to the config file
#display_rotate=1 90 degrees
#display_rotate=2 180 degrees
#display_rotate=3 270 degrees
#display_rotate=0x10000 horizontal flip
#display_rotate=0x20000 vertical flip
I personally need 270 degrees so I remove the # from #display_rotate=3
No HDMI cable?
If connecting to the Raspberri Pi without a TV connected you may wish to remove the # from
To force it into 720p
sudo apt-get install ddclient
Run through the installation