Adventures with Pi — #1 Set Up Without a Keyboard

May 2, 2018 · 2 min read

The first in what hopefully becomes a series in which I rediscover how much fun hacking things and making them work can be!

Pete told me about a Pi project ( he’s just done and it sounded cool so I went out and bought a Pi of my own to try the same.

Of course I didn’t plan it beyond “buying a Pi” and so I sat excitedly looking at my new toy, slowly deflating as I realised I had neither power, nor keyboard at the ready to do anything with it.

This can’t be the end, right? Right!

There are 2 things I need to achieve (3 if you count finding a power cable, but that’s more of a Layer 8 issue that I’ll skip here):

  1. Install an OS
  2. Obtain remote access to said OS

I have a mouse but we’re doing it all without a keyboard.

Install an OS.

This was really simple — download NOOBS from here and extract it on to a micro SD card.

Place the SD card into the Pi. Plug in a USB mouse, ethernet cable, and monitor, then power cable.

When it boots, select the OS that you want to install and wait whilst it does so.

Obtain remote access to said OS

Once my Pi had booted I had a scan on the network to see if I could find it. Nmap couldn’t see any services listening and no identifier for it being my Pi. After interrogating my routing table I found that it had picked up an IP address so had a proper nmap to see what I could connect to.


Some reading later and it turns out that since November 2016 the default config for the Pi is that it doesn’t enable SSH by default.

Annoying, but it turns out that there’s a way of doing it manually.

First, shut down the Pi. Then remove the SD card and mount it back on your computer. Then, add a file in the root of the SD card called simply ‘ssh’.

Unmount. Pass back to the Pi and boot in.

Et voila!

With user: pi and password: raspberry you can now ssh onto your Pi

ssh pi@<IPADDRESS>

Wherein the first thing you’ll do is issue


and change your password. Right?

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