Peter McDonald
Dec 12, 2018 · 3 min read

It is very easy to get carried away and jump in head first after installing Raspbian on the Raspberry Pi however there are steps that should be considered beforehand.


Changing the root password

By default, the username for the Raspberry Pi is “pi” with a rather predictable “raspberry” being the password. Of course, as this is well known it is a bit of a security risk therefore it is best practice to change the password. To do so simply log into SSH and enter the following command:

  • passwd pi

That is correct, passwd is not a typo, this is the command that Linux uses to allow a user to change their password. After entering the command, you will be prompted for the current password (i.e. “raspberry”). You will then be prompted for a new password and then again to confirm the new password. Of course, ensure that you take a note of the password in your favourite password manager.


Expanding the usable space

If like myself you have installed Raspbian using the image file (rather than using Noobs) you may need to ensure that Raspbian is utilizing the whole of the SD card. There is a handy utility to do this called Raspi-Config. To start this simply enter the command:

  • “sudo raspi-config”

A quick note, sudo allows you to run commands as a higher user (in this case essentially root). raspi-config requires such a level of access. Typing this command will show the following GUI

Raspi-Config

The option we are looking for is “Advanced Options”. Use the down arrow until this is highlighted and then hit enter. We will then see the following:

Raspi-Config Advanced Options

The first entry is the one we are after so simply press enter. You should see a screen flick by and then a confirmation page appears. Press enter, the tool has done its job. There are other tasks that can be carried out in here however I prefer to do these in the command line therefore press the right arrow twice so that finished is highlighted and press enter. This will ask you if you would like to reboot, I would suggest choosing yes to allow the changes to take place immediately.


Performing an update

Even though the image files on the Raspberry Pi website are updated regularly if you have just installed Raspbian it will likely still have updates.

To update the system run the following three command:

  1. sudo apt-get update
  2. sudo apt-get upgrade
  3. sudo apt-get dist-upgrade

The first command updates the list of packages that are available. The second command updates the packages currently installed. Lastly the third command updates Raspbian to the latest version. If there are packages to upgrade you will be asked to confirm that you wish to continue, simply type “y” and press enter.

Depending on how many updates are available this could take seconds through to hours (although more likely minutes if you have recently installed). It is good practice to carry out these commands on a regular basis to ensure that you are fully up-to date. These updates not only bring new features but also fix security holes and fix bugs in the software installed.


Conclusion

After installing Raspbian it is always wise to carry out housekeeping. By doing so you are less likely to run into trouble later. Rest assured however, if for any reason the operating system does go wrong it is a fairly trivial task to wipe the SD card and start from scratch.

Over time I will add to this article but for now this is it.

Peter McDonald

Written by

I am a keen tech enthusiast with a strong interests in voice interaction and security.

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