Downloading and compiling packages on the Raspberry Pi can be cumbersome and time consuming even for seasoned engineers. If you just want that Raspberry Pi to work without hours of programming and struggles you will be happy to learn about the new NOOBS installation program.

NOOBS is short for New Out Of Box Software and will make getting started with Raspberry Pi much much easier. NOOBS will help you install the most popular operating systems on your raspberry pi, without the hassle of SD card imaging software and OS configurations.

To get started you need to download NOOBS from the download page, extract it to a SD card, plug the SD card into your Pi and power it up. The boot menu will now ask you which operating system you would like on your Raspberry Pi – you can pick between the following:

  • Archlinux
  • OpenELEC
  • Pidora
  • RaspBMC
  • Raspbian (Recommended)
  • RiscOS

Installing the recommended Raspbian OS will give you a clean install ready to be used for any project your wish – but you are still going to install whatever extra software you want. More interesting is the OpenELEC and RaspBMC installation. These are out-of-the-box media center installations that will turn your Raspberry Pi into a media center in minutes.

What is also cool is that while the NOOBS system installs your selected operating system the loading screen will tell you more about the Raspberry Pi, operating systems and how to use them.

Once NOOBS have installed your OS of choice on your Raspberry Pi, the Raspberry Pi will now boot up in the OS every time you power up the pi. But NOOBS will still be present on the SD card ready to help you if you need it. By holding shift while booting you will boot into the NOOBS recovery interface – from here you can switch operating system, overwrite a corrupted SD card or access a browser so you can Google your problem if you are stuck.

NOOBS is definitely worth checking out if you are just getting started with Raspberry Pi – for more information checkout the NOOBS github page.