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How to install DietPi

The installation of DietPi consists of few steps:

  • Provide an installation media (e.g. SD card for single board computer or USB stick for PC)
  • Get the DietPi image (and put it on the installation media)
  • Boot up the DietPi device and go through one time installation steps

Following these steps you will be able to initially setup DietPi and install additional software packages you would like to use, using dietpi-software.

Select the following tabs for the installation description of your target.

Introduction

Single board computers (SBCs) based on the well known Raspberry PI ARM based architecture gained more and more friends in the last years. The low cost in combination with the power and hardware flexibility makes these SBCs optimal for embedded systems, like e.g. home automation or cloud applications.

Raspberry Pi 1 Model B photo

Prerequisites

To follow this tutorial, you will need the next hardware list:

  • A Raspberry Pi, Odroid or other SBC - open the list of all supported SBC
  • An SD card of at least 4 GiB, and a way to write it on your computer (integrated slot or external SD card reader)
  • Optional: Ethernet (network) cable

Note: Following this guide you could run the installation directly (from a console) or via network. If you choose an installation via network you will not need a monitor or keyboard connected to your SBC or virtualised environment.

1. Download and extract the DietPi disk image

Open dietpi.com and select “Download”. Various supported devices will be displayed. Choose the preferred SBC and click on the Download. The disk image will be downloaded locally.

Example:DietPi for Raspberry Pi download page

Unzip the downloaded file to a local folder.

It is a 7z archive format so you will need to install either 7zip for Windows or The Unarchiver (Macintosh). Both are free of charge and have been tested to unzip the image correctly.

Linux users will need to download and install p7zip (the terminal version of 7zip).

How do I extract DietPi image on Linux

On Debian and Ubuntu-based systems, open a terminal and type:

sudo apt install p7zip

Once p7zip is installed, type the following at the terminal to extract the file:

7zr e DietPi-Image.7z

Replace DietPi-Image.7z with the correct name of your compressed DietPi file, example: DietPi_RPi-ARMv6-Buster.7z. This will extract the DietPi image file for you to use.

2. Flash the DietPi image

At first, download and install balenaEtcher. This application flashes OS images to SD cards & USB drives, safely and easily on Windows, macOS, Linux.

You may also use Rufus to flash the SD card. In the same page, click on Install on native PC (UEFI) tab to see an example of using Rufus.

Start balenaEtcher and make sure you have your SD card inserted into your computer. Locate and select the DietPi image.

DietPi-Etcher-install-01

Next, ensure that the SD card selected is the correct one.

All data on the SD card will be erased!

The flash procedure will wipe the drive clean, so if you choose the wrong one, you may risk losing data.

DietPi-Etcher-install-02

Once you have confirmed all the details are correct, proceed to flash the SD card. This process may take a while.

DietPi-Etcher-install-03

Click here if you want to pre-configure WiFi network

To setup the WiFi, open the SD card folder, and update next two files using a text editor of your choice:

  1. Open the file named dietpi.txt. Find AUTO_SETUP_NET_WIFI_ENABLED and set to value 1.
  2. Open the file dietpi-wifi.txt and set aWIFI_SSID[0] to the name of your WiFi network.
  3. In the same file dietpi-wifi.txt, set aWIFI_KEY[0] to the password of your WiFi network.
  4. Save and close the files

3. Prepare the first boot

Remove the SD card from the PC and insert it into your SBC device, preparing to boot for the first time.
Power on the SBC to login and execute the first boot procedure.

Initial boot duration

Due to a resize of the SD card filesystem this initial boot takes a longer time than further system booting sequences. It may last up to a couple of minutes, depending on the SD card size, SD card speed and system speed.

Introduction

Virtual machine images are great for those occasions where you want to set up a DietPi system very quickly and test things. Also it may be used as a Debian based Linux system with a small footprint for development purposes, e.g. with the X11 window system. The small footprint makes it optimally usable on PCs without a huge built in RAM. Also several VMs may be run for different applications.

One big advantage of such a VM is that it needs only a couple of minutes coming to a running DietPi system.

One of the options of a virtual machine is Oracle VirtualBox.

DietPi-VirtualBox-program

Prerequisites

As a starting point you need a PC with a running VirtualBox software on which the DietPi system will run.
On this PC a free harddisk space of about

  • 1.2 GiB for a minimal running system
  • 5 - 10 GiB for a typical running system with X11

is needed. A recommended size is at least a free space of 10 GiB.

1. Download and extract the DietPi disk image

Download the DietPi VirtualBox file “DietPi_VirtualBox-x86_64-Buster.7z” from dietpi.com and
unzip the downloaded file to a local folder. It is a 7z archive format so you will need to install either 7zip for Windows or other alternative tools.

DietPi-VirtualBox-download-image

The zip file contains a couple of files, the important one is the .ova file which has to be imported into VirtualBox.

DietPi VirtualBox 7zip archive content

2. Import of the .ova file in VirtualBox

As next, the VirtualBox virtual machine has to be setup by importing the .ova file (via \File\Import Appliance):

VirtualBox appliance import screenshot

In the following dialog the user has to choose DietPi_VirtualBox-x86_64-Buster.ova as the file which shall be imported.

VirtualBox appliance import selection screenshot

Keep the settings in the next dialog and klick “Import”.

After the importing has finished the DietPi VirtualBox virtual machine is present:

VirtualBox virtual machine list screenshot

3. First boot of the new VirtualBox image

Press the start button (green arrow) to ‘boot up’ your system based on the DietPi image. If you do not have a wired LAN connection you have to change the network settings matching to your environment (files \boot\dietpi.txt and \boot\dietpi-wifi.txt).

Introduction

Virtual machine images are great for those occasions where you want to set up a DietPi system very quickly and test things. Also it may be used as a Debian based Linux system with a small footprint for development purposes, e.g. with the X11 window system. The small footprint makes it optimally usable on PCs without a huge built in RAM. Also several VMs may be run for different applications.

One big advantage of such a VM is that it needs only a couple of minutes coming to a running DietPi system.

One of the options of a virtual machine is VMware Workstation Player.

DietPi-VMware-program

Tested with Windows 10

This description relates to VMware Workstation 16 Player on a Microsoft Windows system.
VMware Workstation Pro as well as VMware Fusion for MAC were not tested but should work also.

Prerequisites

As a starting point you need a PC with a running VMware Workstation Player software on which the DietPi system will run.

On this PC a free harddisk space of about

  • 3 GiB for a minimal running system (1.5 GiB in switched off state)
  • 5 - 10 GiB for a typical running system with X11

is needed. A recommended size is at least a free space of 10 GiB.

1. Download and extract the DietPi disk image

Download the DietPi VMware file “DietPi_VMware-x86_64-Buster.7z” from dietpi.com and
unzip the downloaded file to a local folder. It is a 7z archive format so you will need to install either 7zip for Windows or other alternative tools.

DietPi VMware download image

The zip file contains a couple of files, the important two are the .vmx and .vmdk file which have to be copied to a VMware machine folder (The folder can be located anywhere on the PCs harddisk).

DietPi VMware 7zip archive content

2. Add the files in VMware

As next, the VMware virtual machine is setup by just opening the .vmx file (via Open a Virtual Machine):

VMware file open screenshot

In the following dialog the user has to navigate to the directory where the .vmx and .vmdk file were stored. Then choose DietPi_VMware-x86_64-Buster(.vmx) as the file which shall be opened.
After this the DietPi VMware virtual machine is present and can be started:

VMware virtual machine list screenshot

3. First boot of the new VMware image

Press the Play virtual machine (green arrow) to ‘boot up’ your system based on the DietPi image. Possibly you have to acknowledge in an appearing dialog “I Copied it” and go on. If you do not have a wired LAN connection you have to change the network settings matching to your environment (files \boot\dietpi.txt and \boot\dietpi-wifi.txt).

Additional information

For information about running DietPi in an VMware ESXi environment, you can read this article: Running the DietPi VMware image on ESXi 6.7.

Introduction

Virtual machine images are great for those occasions where you want to set up a DietPi system very quickly and test things. Also it may be used as a Debian based Linux system with a small footprint for development purposes, e.g. with the X11 window system. The small footprint makes it optimally usable on PCs without a huge built in RAM. Also several VMs may be run for different applications.

One big advantage of such a VM is that it needs only a couple of minutes coming to a running DietPi system.

One of the options of a virtual machine is Microsoft Hyper-V.

DietPi-Hyper-V-program

Tested with Windows 10

This description relates to Hyper-V on a Microsoft Windows system.

Prerequisites

As a starting point you need a PC with a activated Hyper-V on which the DietPi system will run.

Hyper-V activation within Windows

Hyper-V needs to be activated within Windows (e.g. see there). The activation is done by enabling all Hyper-V features in the Turn Windows features on or off within the Apps and Features area in the Windows settings.

Hyper-V activation

On this PC a free harddisk space of about

  • 3 GiB for a minimal running system (1.5 GiB in switched off state)
  • 8 - 10 GiB for a typical running system with X11

is needed. A recommended size is at least a free space of 10 GiB.

1. Download and extract the DietPi disk image

Download the DietPi Hyper-V file from dietpi.com (will be redirected to GitHub/yumiris) and
unzip the downloaded file to a local folder. It is a 7z archive format so you will need to install either 7zip for Windows or other alternative tools.

DietPi Hyper-V download image

The zip file contains a couple of files, the important is the .vhdx file which have to be copied to a Hyper-V machine folder (The folder can be located anywhere on the PCs harddisk).

2. Add a Hyper-V virtual machine

As next, a Hyper-V machine is generated. Right click on your PCs node in the left tree and open the dialog wizard for the machine generation (“New” -> “Virtual Machine”):

DietPi Hyper-V machine generation

In the following wizard you have to set the following:

  1. Give your machine a name (“Specify Name and Location”)
  2. Select the Hyper-V Generation: Select Generation 1 (“Specify Generation”)
  3. Choose your RAM size (e.g. 2048 MB)
  4. If you have already configured a network, select your network. Otherwise let it “Not connected” and change it afterwards
  5. Choose to use extracted .vhdx Hyper-V disc file (see above)

If you have not set up any network connection, go on with the Virtual Switch Manager and add a network. Select that network in your virtual machine settings afterwards.

DietPi Hyper-V network management

3. First boot of the new Hyper-V machine

First, click on Connect to open a window of the virtual machine:

DietPi Hyper-V open machine windows

Then press Start to boot up the machine:

DietPi Hyper-V machine start

After this, your machine should boot up.

Additional information / troubleshooting

Network connection not found
In the case that you did not setup your network configuration properly, the booting procedure will not find a network connection and may respond with this boot console output:

DietPi Hyper-V boot without network

Then you have to check and repair your network configuration within the Virtual Switch Manager.

Enable Secure Boot option (machines of generation 2)
It may also be necessary to deselect the “Enable Secure Boot” option in your virtual machine settings (at least select “Microsoft UEFI Certificate Authority”):

DietPi Hyper-V safe start option

Generate a Hyper-V virtual machine of generation 2
An option to get a Hyper-V generation 2 machine is to generate your own Hyper-V virtual machine via a Debian network installation (booting the Hyper-V machine from a Debian netinst.iso like you would do it on a PC). Install a minimal Debian machine (i.e. no X11 desktops, etc.). Afterwards run the procedure described in section “Make your own distribution”.

Introduction

The Native PC images are great for those occasions where SBC performance is just not enough. One example could be Intel NUC Kit. It is a small, versatile, upgradable, and affordable desktop PC with the same basic feature set as that of a much larger machine.

DietPi-Intel-NUC

It could be also a great way to make use of an old computer that’s not capable of running the latest version of Windows or macOS.

UEFI or BIOS?

First, you have to find out whether your PC contains UEFI (Unified Extensible Firmware Interface) or BIOS (Basic Input/Output System):

  • In case of an UEFI based PC see the “UEFI Installer image” tab.
  • In case of a BIOS based PC see the “BIOS Installer image” tab or “BIOS direct write image” tab.

BIOS Installer image” or “BIOS direct write image”?

The “BIOS installer image” is used to boot from and install the DietPi system on a different target boot drive (storage medium). In contrary to that the “BIOS direct write image” is used to be write the image directly to the target DietPi boot drive.

Prerequisites

You would need the next:

  • one working PC with internet access, helping to write the boot media
  • one bootable USB drive (e.g. flash disk, at least 2 GiB), to hold the DietPi installer image and to boot the target PC
  • target PC to be installed

1. Download and extract the DietPi installer image

Download the UEFI installer image DietPi_NativePC-UEFI-x86_64-Buster_Installer.7z from dietpi.com and unzip the downloaded file to a local folder. It is a 7z archive format so you will need to install either 7zip for Windows or other alternative tools.

DietPi download UEFI installer image

Download Rufus and run the application. There is a portable version of Rufus available which doesn’t require any local installation.

Be careful if you run alternative applications!

While Balena Etcher is recommended for installing DietPi on SBCs, it does not provide good results for UEFI images. The same also with win32diskimager, which does not work as an alternative.

2. Write image to USB drive

Start Rufus application and make sure you have your USB drive inserted into your computer. Follow the next steps:

  1. Select the USB device
  2. Select the downloaded DietPi image
  3. Select GPT as partition scheme
  4. Select UEFI as target system
  5. Click on Start button

Ensure that the selected USB medium is the correct one.

All data on the USB medium and later on the target PCs harddisk will be erased!

Before starting the installation first make a backup of the data available on the target PC and USB drive if you need it later again!

Rufus UEFI installer image selections screenshot

3. Boot the target PC and install the image on the local disk

Boot the target PC from the USB image and install the image on the local disk / harddisk. Put the USB stick into the target PC and boot from this USB stick.

BIOS settings

It may be necessary to change BIOS settings to enable the UEFI boot. This action is not described here.

During the initial boot, the following dialog may appear to boot from the USB stick:

Bootloader menu screenshot

After booting the graphics selection dialog appears:

Clonezilla main menu screenshot

You can select the default settings. In case of problems, please select “Safe graphic settings”.

Once this step is completed, you will able to select a different keyboard. If necessary, change your keyboard settings and go through the appropriate dialogues.

Then the installation process begins with the help of the wonderful Clonezilla tool.

Select the image file to be installed on the target PCs harddisk. Normally you should only see one single option:

Clonezilla source image selection screenshot

After this, you have to select the target PCs harddisk where your DietPi shall be installed. In this example there is only one harddisk present:

Clonezilla target drive selection screenshot

After this, the installation process starts with several steps, e.g. showing the process of the image copying:

Clonezilla processing screenshot

These steps take some time, be patient! Otherwise buy an SSD. :-)
At the end the system executes a shutdown.

For the first boot up of your PC disconnect your USB stick from the target PC and power on the PC to login and execute the first boot procedure.

Prerequisites

You would need the next:

  • one working PC with internet access, helping to write the boot media
  • one bootable USB drive (e.g. flash disk, at least 2 GiB), to hold the DietPi installer image and to boot the target PC
  • target PC to be installed

Remark: If your PC is not able to boot from a USB drive you can do a similar installation by burning the installer image onto a DVD and boot from the DVD. The same installation procedure will take place. Do not forget to eject your DVD before the installed DietPi shall boot from the hard disc for the first time.

1. Download and extract the DietPi installer image

Download the BIOS installer image DietPi_NativePC-BIOS-x86_64-Buster_Installer.7z from dietpi.com and unzip the downloaded file to a local folder. It is a 7z archive format so you will need to install either 7zip for Windows or other alternative tools.

DietPi download BIOS installer image

Download Rufus and run the application. There is a portable version of Rufus available which doesn’t require any local installation.

2. Write image to USB drive

Start Rufus application and make sure you have your USB drive inserted into your computer. Follow the next steps:

  1. Select the USB device
  2. Select the downloaded DietPi image
  3. Select MBR as partition scheme and BIOS or UEFI as target system
  4. Click on Start button

Ensure that the selected USB medium is the correct one.

All data on the USB medium and later on the target PCs harddisk will be erased!

Before starting the installation first make a backup of the data available on the target PC and USB drive if you need it later again!

Rufus BIOS installer image selections screenshot

3. Boot the target PC and install the image on the local disk

Boot the target PC from the USB image and install the image on the local disk / harddisk. Put the USB stick into the target PC and boot from this USB stick.

BIOS settings

It may be necessary to change BIOS settings to enable the boot from the USB stick. This action is not described here.

After booting the graphics selection dialog appears:

Clonezilla main menu screenshot

You can select the default settings. In case of problems, please select “Safe graphic settings”.

Once this step is completed, you will able to select a different keyboard. If necessary, change your keyboard settings and go through the appropriate dialogues.

Then the installation process begins with the help of the wonderful Clonezilla tool.

Select the image file to be installed on the target PCs harddisk. Normally you should only see one single option:

Clonezilla source image selection screenshot

After this, you have to select the target PCs harddisk where your DietPi shall be installed. In this example there is only one harddisk present:

Clonezilla target drive selection screenshot

After this, the installation process starts with several steps, e.g. showing the process of the image copying:

Clonezilla processing screenshot

These steps take some time, be patient! Otherwise buy an SSD. :-)
At the end the system executes a shutdown.

For the first boot up of your PC disconnect your USB stick from the target PC and power on the PC to login and execute the first boot procedure.

Prerequisites

You would need the next:

  • one working PC with internet access, helping to write the boot media
  • one disc drive, to hold the DietPi system. It is written with the direct write image and will be the disk drive in the DietPi system.
  • target PC to be installed

1. Download and extract the DietPi direct write image

Download the BIOS direct write image DietPi_NativePC-BIOS-x86_64-Buster.7z from dietpi.com and unzip the downloaded file to a local folder. It is a 7z archive format so you will need to install either 7zip for Windows or other alternative tools.

DietPi download BIOS direct write image

Download Rufus and run the application. There is a portable version of Rufus available which doesn’t require any local installation.

2. Write image to disc drive

Start Rufus application and make sure you have your disc drive connected into your computer. This may e.g. be done using an USB to SATA controller if you use a SATA disc drive. Follow the next steps:

  1. Show advanced drive properties and select List USB hard drives
    (in case that you have connected your disc drive via a USB adapter)
  2. Select the disc drive device
  3. Select the downloaded DietPi image
  4. Click on Start button

Ensure that the selected disc drive is the correct one.

All data on the disc drive will be erased!

Before starting the installation first make a backup of the data available on the disc drive if you need it later again!

Rufus BIOS direct write image selections screenshot

3. Boot the target PC

For the first boot up of your PC disconnect your disc drive from your working PC and connect it to the target PC. Then power on the target PC to login and execute the first boot procedure.

4. First logon on DietPi

After the system has booted up, you can continue following the instructions on the screen, or connect via network:

  • If you have a keyboard and a monitor connected to your system you login via this console.
  • If you have a headless system (e.g. an SBC without keyboard resp. monitor) you have to use a terminal program (e.g. putty) to connect to the system via an ssh connection.

A login prompt will appear. Use the initial credentials:

  • login: root
  • password: dietpi
Click here if you want to connect via network (running a headless install)

WARNING

On first login DietPi will immediately upgrade system and packages. If your network connection is not stable it is recommended to perform this step locally instead.

IP Scanning tool

For the following steps we require an IP Scanning tool to determine the IP address of the Raspberry Pi.

  • For Windows, you could try Advanced IP Scanner. Download the tool from here.

  • For Linux, you can use nmap command:

    sudo apt-get install nmap # for installing Nmap
    
    sudo nmap -sn 192.168.1.0/24 #For scanning IP address
    

Alternatively you may also determine the IP address in the DHCP status page of your DHCP server (often included in a router).

Connect to DietPi via SSH

  • A popular SSH Client for Windows is PUTTY. You can download putty from here. Enter in the Host Name field the IP address found during the scanning, select SSH and then click on Open button. DietPi-SSH

  • Most Linux distributions come packaged with an ssh client. Type in your Terminal next command (replace the sample IP address 192.168.1.20 with the one found via scanning the network):

    ssh root@192.168.1.20
    

To further proceed you’ll need to accept the DietPi GPL license. Hit the Enter key on your keyboard to do this.

dietpi-login01

DietPi will then immediately begin to search for and install updated software packages, which will take some time to complete.

Once the packages have been updated, DietPi will ask you to confirm whether you would like to enable user analytics.

DietPi Survey

DietPi Survey is optional, and not enabled by default. It is anonymous, secured and requires a minimal data transfer. ALL the shared details are published on the dietpi.com/survey page. Checkout and see how DietPi is used!

dietpi-data

The default DietPi password is public, so you’ll be asked to change this at the next stage for both the root and dietpi user accounts. Select OK and hit Enter, then provide your password (twice) to confirm.

You can change the password again later by typing passwd at the terminal or also via the command line script dietpi-config (within the “Security options”).

dietpi-password

5. Further steps

The base installation of DietPi is minimal by design, allowing you to choose what software you want to install and use: Just run dietpi-software and install DietPi Optimised Software.
You can return to the DietPi-Software tool to make further changes at any time by typing dietpi-software at the terminal, or enter dietpi-launcher and select DietPi-Software tool.

If you want to make further changes to your DietPi configuration, you can run dietpi-launcher at the terminal to view all the available DietPi tools, including DietPi-Update to update your device and DietPi-Backup to back up your device.

For more details, check DietPi Tools section.

YouTube tutorials (made by community)

A video tutorial on How to install and initially configure DietPi made by Roberto Jorge.

Further videos: