Introduction: Raspberry Pi Stretch - 2018 Tricks

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It has been a while since I last set up a Raspberry Pi from scratch. Some things have changed ( pretty much for the better ). This instructable outlines some of the new things, either new in the system or maybe just newly learned by me. This will be quick; it is heads up sort of thing. Once you know to look for these things the details are out on the web waiting for you.

Step 1: ​New OS

It is called Stretch. Seems better to me. All I plan to use from now on. The rest of this instructable applies to this version. Beware that some setup files may have moved or been renamed, from the old version. But mostly configuration is the same -- except for the new features. You get this OS at the usual location for RPi OS downloads: Download Raspbian for Raspberry Pi

Step 2: ​Leafpad

Ok this is an old one. Lots of directions say edit a file with the command like nano foo.txt. Leafpad is an easier editor as it has a graphical user interface. So use leafpad foo.txt and sudo leafpad foo.txt instead.

Step 3: ​Get Remote Access

With full remote access you can use your computer to control the RPi, that way it does not need a screen keyboard or mouse. Big savings, less filling ( filling up physical space ) . Lesser ways just make it easier to share data. Some of these methods have worked for a while, some I think are new.

Instant Data Exchange

This does not get rid of the keyboard on the RPi but lets you cut and paste data from your PC to your RPi.

You write your data on a wiki on your PC and access the wiki with the RPi browser. It works both ways. All you need on your computers is a network connection.

Edit RPi Files from Your PC

Notepad++ is a great text editor, if you are running Windows you should at least look at it. Will not run on the Pi or Mac as far as I know. But if you run it on your PC it can remotely edit files on your RPi. This includes text, config, Python, and others ). It is also it is easy see:

( note that Filezilla may also let you do this )


I used to use windows remote desktop not VNC. Now I have dropped remote desktop, as VNC now just seems better and easier to install. It even lets you cut and paste between your host and remote machines. To set up you need to enable on the RPi and install a viewer on your PC.


This lets you share files with other OSs. Not new, but still worth setting up. Google it.

Step 4: ​Backup and Copying of Whole Machine

Old ways of backing up and Copying are Obsolete!

Well mostly, the old ways of backing up had some problems. Some of the common ones:

  • Many steps, complicated
  • Very sensitive to the size of the sd cards

Now under accessories you can find SD card copier. It will copy between different sizes of SD cards ( as long as the data will fit ). Easy to use, one step. Google it or use one of these links:

I once wrote an instructable on this: It still works, and may have some uses, but this SD card method seems like the way to go.

Backup Your Pi

Step 5: ​MySQL

MySQL used to be good relational database for the Pi, it still is. And a good DBMS is nice to have. But it is not open source. MariaDB is close to the same thing, and even responds to MySQL commands. It may be what you get if you try to install MySQL ( it did for me ). Now I am careful to distinguish the two and try to explicitly find the MariaDB software and documentation. Configuration is almost the same but not quite. ( Note one of the nice things about this DB is it has good remote access over the web, and is multiuser. ) Use MariaDB as a keyword for searches and installs first. More information on Google and:

Step 6: ​Python

I use Spyder to work with Python on the RPi, but it is a special install. Stretch now includes a much nicer IDE than Idle, the old one. It is called Thonny Python IDE ( Programming → Thonny Python IDE ) Side note: probably time for most of us to switch to ( or start with ) Python 3.

Step 7: That Is It

That is it so far. A version of this instructable is also at the wiki page: Raspberry Pi Stretch - 2018 Tricks I will try to keep the wiki up to date as I find new information. Have fun with your Raspberry Pi, it is a great little computer.