Raspberry Pi – Minimal Headless Setup

For my own quick reference, mostly taken from here:

  1. See end of article if SD card was previously used.
  2. Download Raspbian from https://www.raspberrypi.org/downloads/raspbian/
  3. Download and install Win32DiskImager from https://sourceforge.net/projects/win32diskimager/
  4. Using Win32 Disk Imager, write the ISO to the SD card
  5. Add a file called wpa_supplicant.conf in the boot drive with the following (adding your own SSID and password):
    ctrl_interface=DIR=/var/run/wpa_supplicant GROUP=netdev
  6. Add a blank file named ssh (with no file extension) to the boot drive to enable ssh. In Windows notepad or similar, save the file as “ssh” (with the quote marks) to avoid it adding a .txt file extension.
  7. Insert the SD card to the Raspberry Pi, and plug in to power. Wait a few seconds, then use the Fing app to get its IP address on a home network, and use Putty to SSH in using default credentials of pi / raspberry.
  8. Change the default password by running
Edit: Make Raspberry Pi Email You Its IP Address
As mentioned above, I’ve previously used the Fing app to find the IP address of the Pi on my home network. Recently, I’ve needed to access the Pi on a university network and wanted to do so without connecting it to a monitor and keyboard / mouse. Here’s a script to email the IP address of the Pi to myself every time it’s booted. Just modify the email and password (I’m using a secondary email account so I don’t care about the password being stored in plain text):
#pip install netifaces
import pip
def install(package):
if hasattr(pip, 'main'):
pip.main(['install', package])
pip._internal.main(['install', package])
if __name__ == '__main__':

import smtplib
import netifaces as ni
import socket

ip = ni.ifaddresses('wlan0')[ni.AF_INET][0]['addr']
hostname = socket.gethostname()
message = hostname + "\n" + ip

fromaddr = 'myemail@gmail.com'
toaddrs = 'myemail@gmail.com'
username = 'myemail@gmail.com'
password = 'password'
server = smtplib.SMTP('smtp.gmail.com', '587')
server.sendmail(fromaddr, toaddrs, message)

Add the following to /etc/rc.local after the line “# By default this script does nothing.” and point it to the script you just saved:

sleep 20
python /path/to/script.py

If the SD card was previously used in a Raspberry Pi, the partitions will need to be merged again.

  1. Open Disk Management.
  2. Right click and select Delete Volume for both partitions on the SD card.
  3. Right click and select New Simple Volume to create one partition for the whole SD card. Make sure the partition is FAT32. Win32DiskImager will create two partitions again, but this way it initially sees the whole SD card.


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