Raspberry Pi 3 – Basic Setup without using Monitor and Keyboard (Headless Setup)

This tutorial/video In the project we will see how to setup raspberry PI without monitor and keyboard. This type of setup is often called the headless setup of Raspberry PI. Before going into the basic setup details, let’s take a brief look at the high performance single board computer – Raspberry PI.

Raspberry PI is a small pocket-sized computer developed by the Raspberry PI Foundation of the United Kingdom. Although the main reason for the development of the Raspberry Pi series was to teach the basics of computer science and programming for school students, Raspberry has reached a broad range of user like Pi makers, hobbyists, electronics enthusiasts and even in the field of robotics.


The main issue is that, when we buy this $35 small computer, we get the board and we need to connect it to the monitor or TV via HDMI and a keyboard or mouse through USB to use its capability.

But there’s a way to get started with raspberry PI without monitors and keyboards. As already mentioned, this type of setup is called raspberry PI’s headless setup.

Hardware requirements for Headless setup of Raspberry Pi

  • A Computer/ Laptop with Internet connection
  • Raspberry Pi 3
  • 5V – 2A Power Supply (Recommended by the Raspberry Pi) with microUSB connector
  • MicroSD Card (minimum 8GB)
  • SD Card Adapter
  • Ethernet Cable (in addition to the one used for computer)
  • Access to the internet router

Now Lets Start Headless Setup of Raspberry Pi

Formatting the microSD Card

First, we need to format the microSD card properly, on which we are going to install the operating system for Raspberry PI. For this, I have used the official SD card format tool from this website

Download the SD card format software and install it. Insert the microSD card into the adapter and plug the adapter into the computer’s USB port. Some adapters will be of microSD for standard SD and should be inserted into a dedicated SD card slot.

Open the SD Card Formatr tool and select the correct drive that we need to format. Then, go to options and set the format size adjustment to on. Then format the microSD card.


Download the Operating System

Here, we need to download the operating system for our Raspberry PI. I have used the official operating system of the Raspberry PI Foundation – Raspbian.
It can be downloaded from this link.

Click to Download OS

As you can see there is three variant of OS: Raspbian Buster with desktop and recommended software, Raspbian Buster with desktop, Raspbian Buster Lite. I am using Raspbian Buster with desktop and recommended software.

After downloading the OS (it will be downloaded in zip format), opening the contents in the folder. You will see the operating system file with extension IMG (image file).

Writing the Raspbian OS on microSD Card

We need to write this OS on a microSD card. For this I will use win32 disk imager software. This is a free software that you can use to write image file on SD card.

It can be downloaded from the link given below

Click here to download

Open the Win32 Disk Imager software and first select the correct drive letter of the microSD card (assuming that the microSD card is already inserted and formatted). Then select the Rasbyian JC Image File (.IMG), which we have downloaded and unzipped into a folder by clicking on the folder icon.

You can then click the Write button on win32 Disk Imager. The size of the Rasabian JC image file will be around 4GB and therefore depending on the write speed of the microSD card, it will take anywhere between 1 and 10 minutes to complete the writing of the image file.


Enabling SSH (Secure Shell)

In the recent Raspibian operating system, the SSH server is disabled by default. If you’re using your Raspberry PI with a monitor and keyboard, we can enable SSH in the Preferences menu or using the terminal window with the help of Raspberry PI configuration settings.

Since we are installing raspberry PI without monitors and keyboards (i.e. headless methods), we don’t have access to the terminal yet.

An alternative way to enable SSH servers. After being done with writing Rasabian OS on a microSD card, open the SD card and 0 “SSH0 Create a file with the name and do not make any extensions in the boot partition of the microSD card.

First open the SD Card. After that click on the empty space and make a New Text Document.

Now Rename the ‘ New Text Document ‘  to ‘ SSH ‘ and press the enter . When you press the enter If  you will get warning message just click on Yes.

Now, you can put a microSD card in the slot on raspberry PI. Before powering it, we need two more tools to continue setup.

Since we don’t yet have access to Raspberry PI’s command prompt, we need a device called Putty, which acts as a remote SSH server so that we can access Raspberry PI’s command prompt from the remote computer.

Click here to download Putty

Another software we’re going to need is advanced IP scanners. This tool will scan for devices connected to the router and display the corresponding IP addresses.

We need the IP address of Raspberry PI. So, download advanced IP scanner from here.

Click here to download Advance IP Scanner

Lets Boot up the Raspberry Pi

After completing all the above steps we are now ready to boot raspberry PI. Before turning on power, make sure raspberry PI is connected to the Internet via Ethernet cable. After plugging in raspberry PI in Ethernet cable and micro USB cable, turn on its power supply


The first thing we need to do is get the IP address of Raspberry Pi. Open the Advanced IP Scanner tool that we just downloaded and selected the run option. Click the scan option after the tool is opened.

The tool then lists all devices connected to the router with their IP addresses. In our case the IP address of our Raspberry Pi is Pay attention to this IP address.

Then, open the putty and enter the IP address of Raspberry PI in the host name (or IP address) area. The rest of the regions such as port 22 and connection types as SSH are unchanged.

Now click on the open if we are doing everything wright the warning message is popup from putty about the SSH .

Just click on the yes. If SSH is successfully enable you will get login page.

If this is the first time you’re using your Raspberry PI or the default password hasn’t changed, enter the default username as PI and when you enter, you’ll need to enter the password that’s raspberry.


Username – pi

Password – raspberry



Congratulation You have Successfully Login Into raspberry pi by using SSH

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2 Thoughts to “Raspberry Pi 3 – Basic Setup without using Monitor and Keyboard (Headless Setup)”

  1. Arpit

    Very Nice post and very informative . Thanks a lot .

  2. Shivam

    Very informative it helps a lot to boot my raspberry without monitor

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