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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

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

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.

Prerequisites

You would need the next:

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

1. Download and extract the DietPi disk image

Download the DietPi installer image 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-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. Flash 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 USB medium selected is the correct one.

All data on the USB medium and 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 selections screenshot

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

Boot the target PC from 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 dialogs.

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.

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 id 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 GB for a minimal running system
  • 5 - 10 GB for a typical running system with X11

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

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!!! info “DietPi Survey” folder. It is a 7z archive format so you will need to install either 7zip for Windows or other alternative tools.

DietPi-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 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).

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 tutorial (made by community)

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