Setting up your SD card

Before you can power up your Pi Zero, you will need to program in the SD card with an Operating System

Much like your computer has Windows, Mac OS X or Linux on it to make it run, the Raspberry Pi needs something to help it boot and run software. That software is Raspbian Linux (a flavor of Debian Linux). You can check out our tutorial on What Is Linux if you're curious to learn more

If you just want to get rockin, grab the latest Raspbian Jessie operating system from the Raspberry Pi downloads page

Just click the button below!

Raspbian Wheezy 5-15 or earlier do not support the Zero! Try Jessie instead

Once downloaded, unzip the zip file, the full image is about 4.5 Gigabytes.

Next up grab your SD or micro SD card reader and plug it into your computer

Now follow our guide for Windows or Mac OS X to burn the image

Once you're done, plug the micro SD card into the slot indicated. It will fit snugly in place but you won't hear or feel a 'click'

This guide was first published on Nov 26, 2015. It was last updated on Oct 21, 2018. This page (Setting up your SD card) was last updated on Nov 25, 2015.