Handy Raspberry Pi Commands

cheat sheet of tips mainly for headless RPI

First time set up

default password for “pi” is “raspberry”

First time set up: sudo raspi-config

update everything: sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get upgrade


start GUI: startx

shut down: sudo shutdown -h now


ssh into the pi: ssh pi@ip.address

copy files to pi: scp filename pi@ip.address:~/destination/foldername/

copy files From pi: scp pi@ip.address:~/source/file /destination/directory/

VNC - desktop sharing

install VNC: https://www.raspberrypi.org/documentation/remote-access/vnc/

start a vnc server: vncserver :0 -geometry 800x600 -depth 16

stop: vncserver -kill :0


check network config and get ip address: ifconfig

edit config: sudo nano /etc/network/interfaces


edit startup: sudo nano /etc/rc.local

Mount USB drive

  1. plug in the usb drive
  2. find what the drive is called with ls -l /dev/disk/by-uuid/, normally it will be /sda1
  3. create a directory to connect to the drive, i.e. a mount point: sudo mkdir /media/usb
  4. make the main user, i.e. pi, the owner of the mount point: sudo chown -R pi:pi /media/usb
  5. mount the drive: sudo mount /dev/sda1 /media/usb -o uid=pi,gid=pi (replace /dev/sda1 with your actual drive name if it is not the usual setup)

Use a HDMI to VGA adapter

If you are trying to use an HDMI to VGA adapter, the pi will not detect the HDMI screen and will default to using composite video only. You need to edit your /boot/config.txt file on the pi’s SD card to manually tell it to use HDMI. See eLinux RPiconfig for full info about config.txt.

  1. Put your pi’s SD card in a computer’s card reader.
  2. Find config.txt in the boot directory (which will likely be the only thing you can see from your computer).
  3. Open /boot/config.txt in an editor.
  4. Uncomment the line hdmi_safe=1
  5. save


On rpi2 with the newest version of Raspbian Stretch, you can enable a new hardware OpenGL driver. Run sudo raspi-config, look in Advanced > GL Driver. Select the new driver, then select finish and reboot the pi.

Try it out with a few OpenGL games:

sudo apt-get install neverball

sudo apt-get install oolite