How to Setup Raspberry Pi Without Monitor and Keyboard

Introduction: How to Setup Raspberry Pi Without Monitor and Keyboard

Raspberry Pi is a small single-board computer that runs Linux based operating system called Raspbian.

This instruction will show you how to setup Raspberry Pi (any model) without using Monitor and Keyboard. I will use my Raspberry Pi 3 B+ with Raspbian Buster (release in july 2019).

Step 1: Hardware and Software

Hardware Required:

Raspberry Pi (any model)

Laptop or Desktop

SD Card or USB Flash Drive

Network Cable (Ethernet RJ45)

Power Supply for Raspberry Pi


Raspbian OS -

SD Card Formatter -

Win32 Disk Imager -

Putty -

VNC Viewer -

Step 2: Format SD Card or USB Flash Drive

1. Plug your SD Card or USB Flash into Computer

2. Open SD Card Formatter

3. Select your SD Card or USB Flash

4. Click Format

Step 3: Write Raspbian OS Into SD Card

We'll use Win32DiskImager to write RaspbianOS into SD Card or USB Flash.

1. Open Win32DiskImager

2. Under Image File, Select RaspbianOS (.img) that you just download and unzip

(mine is ../2019-07-10-raspbian-buster.img)

3. Under Device, Select your SD Card or USB Flash

4. Click Write

It would take around 10 minutes to progress.

Step 4: Create an Empty File Named SSH

Next, we create an empty file and named it SSH with no extension. This would enable SSH interface on Raspberry Pi which allow Raspberry Pi to communicates with our PC through Ethernet Port.

1. Go to SD Card or USB Flash directory

2. Right Click > New > Text Document

3. Type SSH with no extension

4. Unplug your SD Card or USB Flash from Computer

Step 5: Connecting Raspberry Pi

1. Plug one side of Network Cable to the computer

2. Plug another side of Network Cable to Raspberry Pi

3. Insert SD Card or USB Flash to Raspberry Pi

4. Power up Raspberry Pi

Step 6: Enable VNC on Raspberry Pi

This step, we'll use Putty to communicates with Raspberry Pi through SSH. Then use it to enable VNC Server on Raspberry Pi.

1. Open Putty

2. Under Host Name, Type raspberrypi.local

3. Under Port, Type 22

4. Click Open

Let's login to our Raspberry Pi in a Terminal Window which just pop up

login as: pi

pi@raspberrypi.local's password: raspberry

pi@raspberrypi:~ $ sudo raspi-config

Now we'll get into configuration (use arrow key to move and Enter to choose)

1. Choose 5 Interfacing Options

2. Choose P3 VNC then Choose Yes to enable (Would you like the VNC Server to be enable?)

VNC has been enabled so let's to the last step

Step 7: Remote Raspberry Pi With VNC

Now we can use our PC to remote Raspberry Pi with VNC viewer through Network Cable or Wireless (if we connect both of them to the same WiFi).

1. Open VNC Viewer

2. In the box, Type raspberrypi.local

A window will pop up and ask you to enter username and password

Username: pi

Password: raspberry

Now finish the setup and enjoy you day.

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6 months ago

But without a monitor and keyboard, how were they able to access these instructions?


10 months ago

How is this possible? Add all the equipment, check, direct wire Pi with LAN cable to WIndows PC, check, use Tera Term to go to raspberrypi.local, check (somehow magic without device even optaining an IP????), get console, check, go to configuration menu, check, install VNC .... WAIT ... where is the Internet connection to download from server if the Pi is tied directly to the PC UN-check. Something is awry if this works for everyone else.


1 year ago


Very nice instructions. However, can I do the same with Ubuntu 20.04 LTS?

Thanks in advance! :)


1 year ago

To fix "cannot currently show the desktop" I had to change
7. Advanced Options > A5 Resolution > DMT Mode 82 (Didn't try other options)
In addition to setting boot options according to irwige comment


1 year ago

I followed this tutorial on my pi4.
I try to connect with putty and get the following error message:
unable to connect to raspberrypi.local . Host does not exist.
I tried looking for help elsewhere, but the explanations became very complicated very quickly.
Any quick thoughts?


Tip 1 year ago

if you get the "cannot currently show the desktop" in your VNC, please use the config panel (via the above "sudo raspi-config") and change this:

3. Boot Options --> B1 Desktop / CLI --> B3 (or B4) Desktop GUI.

This will allow you to have a GUI display without needing to have the HDMI plugged in.



2 years ago

Good work on getting your system up and running!