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Remote Pi lightweight setup

Prepare a lightweight command-line only setup for your Raspberry Pi

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You can no longer carry out a light install without the built in GUI

Since March 2016 the way that you install Raspbian has changed. You are no longer offered the opportunity to install without a GUI.

However, you can disable the GUI and free up processing resources. You may want to do this before you set up your remote Pi.

Should you turn off your Pi's GUI (graphical user interface)?

The default Raspberry Pi installation includes a full stack graphical interface. This graphical interface is great when you're starting out with Linux, but when your projects become more advanced it's a drag. As you develop your ability you'll realise that the graphical interface on hardware of limited resources, such as the Pi, is actually pretty hefty. It eats up a considerable amount of power, computational resources, memory and storage that would otherwise be available to your project.

When you're building IoT devices which are mostly accessed remotely it's usually beneficial to disable the graphical interface. You can then focus on making your project lean and mean, and using the limited hardware you have in a more efficient manner (you can re-enable it later if required).

This page shows you how to disable the graphical interface to free up processing resources for your projects.

Prerequisites

  • a Raspberry Pi with power, and an SD card with Noobs and Raspbian installed.

Additionally, for the initial setup only, you will need:

  • a USB keyboard
  • a USB mouse
  • a Monitor with HDMI connection.

Boot up without a GUI using raspi-config

When you boot up your Pi you'll see a graphical desktop with a big Pi logo. This is the GUI we're going to remove.

First open Terminal: Raspberry menu > Accessories > Terminal.

Next, open raspi-config from the command prompt, by typing:

sudo raspi-config

You'll get a dialogue box like this:

Raspi-Config dialogue box (April 2016)

Use the arrow keys to select:
3 Boot Options. Press Tab ->| to highlight and press Enter. Then, select: B1 Console if you require a login when you reboot, or B2 Console Autologin if you don't. Make sure you know your passwordIf you select B1 you'll need your login to get back into your Pi each time it reboots. By default this is: Username: pi Password: raspberry - unless you've changed it. April 2016 We're going with B2. Press Tab ->| to highlight and press Enter. You'll be back at the first raspi-config screen. Press Tab ->| twice to highlight and press Enter. When it asks you to reboot, select Yes. When your Pi reboots you'll be dropped into the command-line prompt instead of the desktop. Job done! Remotely accessing your Pi If you haven't done it yet you'll want to install Dataplicity. This will make remote access easy and reliable if you want to roam to other networks with your Pi (3G, WiFi, or your office for example). So without further ado, here's how to do that. Getting your GUI desktop back If you decide you want to re-enable a graphical desktop you can simply use raspi-config again. At the prompt type: sudo raspi-config You'll get the raspi-config dialogue box. Then, select: B3 Desktop if you require a login when you reboot, or B4 Desktop Autologin if you don't. Press Tab ->| to highlight and press Enter. Make sure you know your login details if you choose B3! You'll be back at the first raspi-config screen. Press Tab ->| twice to highlight and press Enter. When it asks you to reboot, select Yes. When your Pi reboots you'll be dropped into the desktop instead of the command line.

Updated about a year ago

Remote Pi lightweight setup


Prepare a lightweight command-line only setup for your Raspberry Pi

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