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How to install any Linux distribution on a Raspberry Pi from scratch and without problem? Step by step guide

How Raspberry Pi computers are low and medium power, require operating systems that are capable of giving life to devices that do not have many physical resources. Linux is an option that adapts to these needs.

One of the qualities of Linux is that it is capable of reviving old computers and little hardware, as is this case. Learn step by step what you should do to install any Linux distribution in Raspberry.

These are the best distributions (operating systems) suitable for these computers. Everybody is based on this free and open source system.

Learn step by step how to install any Linux distribution on a Raspberry Pi mini computer

Before beginning the installation of any operating system, You should know that you need to be clear about the objective of the installation and what use you will give the equipment. This defines the software features and avoid unnecessary consumption of physical resources in minor tasks.

Let’s see:

General details

The installing an operating system on Raspberry Pi It has changed a lot since this mini computer was unveiled in 2012.

You are now required to have some conditions on hand before following these steps:

  • Connection to Internet.
  • A card Micro SD and an adapter.
  • You must have installed Raspberry Pi Imager on a Windows 10 computer.

Open Raspberry Pi Imager

  • You must have downloaded the image of the operating system you want to install, in case of manual installation.

Download Raspberry Pi Imager

There is more than one way to install an operating system on this mini computer, but the best and our recommendation is to use the official form offered by the manufacturer.

Learn how to install Raspberry Pi Imager, which will allow you to install any operating system quickly and safely:

  • Open Google and writes “Raspberry Pi OS”.
  • Select the first search, which shows the web

Raspberry Pi website

  • Find the section “Install Raspberry Pi OS using Raspberry Pi Imager”.
  • Press the button “Download for Windows”.

Download Raspberry Pi Imager

  • Choose the destination folder and “Guard”.
  • Later, run the installer and follow the steps of the installation wizard.

Install from Raspberry Pi Imager

The safest way to accomplish an installation is to follow the steps and select the correct version of the operating system:

  • Run the program “Raspberry Pi Imager”.
  • To select the option “Choose OS”.

Install OS on Raspberry PI devices

  • Will give you a list of official Linux distributions for Raspberry.
  • Choose the option of your preference.
  • Now, you must to select the option “Choose SD Card”.

Install Rasbian from Raspberry Imager

  • Choose the card that is connected with the adapter in your Windows 10.
  • Once you do, the button is enabled “Write”. You must press it.
  • All the data on your Micro SD card will be erased or formatted to do the installation.
  • Wait for the installation reaches 100%.

Perform a manual installation

A manual installation means that you do not use the program “Raspberry Pi Imager” to correctly place the ISO image on the Micro SD card.

There are other similar programs and in these cases, you should do the following:

  • The Web offers the image of all authorized operating systems.
  • At the start of the official website, look for the tab “Software”.
  • Select the button “Our software”.

Download Manuelmente OS for Raspberry Pi

  • Find the section “Manually install an operating system image”.
  • Press the button “See all download options”.
  • Find the section “Third-party software”.

Authorized OS for Raspberry Pi

  • Download one of the six authorized operating systems.
  • Now you can use one of those images (ISO) to be installed with the program of your choice. Similarly, you must do it directly on a Micro SD card, as we explain in this step by step.

List of the best Linux distributions to install on a Raspberry Pi mini computer

In this section we will show you the operating systems that are licensed by the Raspberry Pi Foundation to be installed on their computers.

You will also find the most used operating systems so far:


Official LibreElec We

These are the acronyms of “Libre Embedded Linux Entertainment Center”, which is a license-free operating system. It has the ability to run quickly on 64-bit ARM processors, such as those used by modern Raspberry Pi. Its development began in 2016 and fits perfectly to KODI, a multimedia center designed for the entertainment sector, so developers use it to couple Smart TV to them.

Ubuntu Desktop

Ubunto Desktop website

It is Ubuntu’s option to turn your Raspberry Pi into a computer middle class, with which you can develop office automation tasks and run Open Office programs, for example. It is the best option available so far to have a desktop minicomputer with the physical resources offered by Raspberry Pi.

Ubuntu Server

Ubuntu Server download site

When you want to turn your Raspberry Pi into a server, this is the best free and license-free option. A) Yes you can configure your computer as an email server, a place in the cloud and provide a well-developed data management environment. If you are an experienced developer, you will have no problem configuring this OS, which is friendly and lightweight, with which you can quickly adjust your projects.

Ubuntu Core

Ubuntu Core download site

This is a version designed for the Internet of Things (IoT) concept, but being very heavy for the physical characteristics of a Raspberry Pi, the developers created a lighter version that people could work with without cluttering the team. This lightweight version specializes in optimizations for security and enables reliable updates. Without a doubt, a difficult option to despise.


Retropie for Raspberry PI

Designed for “Retro-gamers” They miss those low-resolution gaming apps that won the hearts of millions of people in the 1990s and 2000s. It allows you to turn your Raspberry Pi into a video game console with a retro look, nothing to do with a PSP 5, but what will facilitate access to any arcade project that you have in mind.


TLXOS download site

It is the only paid operating system that is authorized by the Raspberry Pi Foundation (Although it is not based on Linux), but it allows a 30-day trial so that the developers know their full potential as an administrator of the Internet of things concept. Devices that have internet access and are linked to a command center, such as the one that developers can create with this program, can be remotely managed.

Kano OS

Kano download site

It is designed to allow children access to a computer, a kind of parental control that will allow parents to be calmer by being able to monitor what your children are doing while they are busy with other tasks. Its interface resembles a video game, in which children can make basic access settings and visual adjustments. Parents save money and show children how to use a computer.

Flint OS

Flint OS interface

If you did not know, Android is also an operating system that is available for Raspberry Pi devices and it does so through Flint OS, which has a desktop version for a reduced hardware environment. It is an open source proposal that allows developers to modify it at will to adapt this version to their personal projects. The best thing is that it has Google Play, so there is access to millions of applications in this store.

SolydX RPI

SolydXK website

It is based on the Debian system, which is also a Linux distribution, and It is compatible from version 2 of Raspberry Pi, because the first version is already discontinued. Its interface consumes less physical resources than the rest of its competitors, it only requires a 4 Gb storage space, well below that of any of the operating systems that you will see in this list. More than a multimedia center, it also allows to develop office automation tasks.

Fedora 25

Fedora website

Of dozens of operating systems that can be installed on Raspberry Pi devices, Fedora 25 is the one that fits each physical characteristic. It has an average value of between 40 euros and 50 euros, and is compatible from version two of Raspberry. One of the great disadvantages is that it has a small number of developers to create solutions to different user needs. For this reason, it still does not have massive support even though it has some popularity.

Manjaro Linux

Manjaro interface on Linux

This operating system has three different versions to suit Raspberry devices: KDE Plasma, text mode, and XFCE. The three versions are quite light and solve any task desired by developers. The XFCE version is actually a desktop that allows you to use Raspberry devices as if it were a desktop computer, so there is a lot of competition and an upward trend for the use of these devices as minicomputers.


Q4OS website

It has a complete wizard that provides support of all kinds to new users. Its interface and usability is inspired by the Windows environmentThat is why it is accepted by members of this new community who want to take the first steps. It is based on Linux, which makes it a fast and lightweight alternative. Like the hardware, is intended to guide and enable learning to this new universe of possibilities.

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