Installing Raspbian Stretch Lite in your Raspberry Pi 3 model B


Please note that the new OS version (Raspbian Buster Lite) can be found at this link.

Using Raspberry for a number of home applications is something fantastic. But Raspberry comes with a low performance hardware, so many times you could need to use as resources as possible dedicated to your applications, instead wasting them for apps that you don’t need (for example desktop environment).
Usually Raspberry kit comes with NOOBS pre-installed inside SD card, but you can also choose to install directly a minimal core and use it from your external PC by SSH.
In this guide I will show you hot to install Raspbian Stretch Lite, the official Raspberry Foundation OS.

What do you need


ONLY if you want to configure Raspbian from a monitor and not from a SSH remote connection:

I strongly suggest to evaluate to buy a case with cooling system (fans) if you are thinking to use your raspberry for resources intensive applications (for example cryptocurrency mining).
You also need a PC (notebook or desktop) with an SD card reader


  • Raspbian Stretch Lite disk image (you can get it from Raspbian Stretch download folder)
  • an image flashing software like, for example, Etcher
  • (to configure RPI from remote SSH connection without HDMI cable/monitor/keyboard) a remote SSH connection software like Putty

Step-by-step guide

Download and install in your PC Etcher (if not available).
Download Raspbian Stretch Lite disk image (ZIP version) in a local folder and extract the .img file.
Insert your SD card in your PC/SD card reader.
Run Etcher in you PC.
Click over Select Image and select Raspbian disk image previously downloaded. Now Etcher should also have recognised your SD card. Otherwise, click change and select correct SD card.
Click on “Flash! button and wait for operation to be completed.


In my case, I don’t want to use an HDMI connection to my TV in order to finalize system setup (my Raspberry will be connected only via WiFi).
So, before using it and after having flashed its SD, let’s configure WiFi and SSH connection directly modifying files inside SD card.
Extract SD card and re-insert it in your PC.
From our File explorer, in “This Computer” we can see 2 SD partitions:
We will create a connection configuration file under boot partition.
Open your notepad and paste following lines:

ctrl_interface=DIR=/var/run/wpa_supplicant GROUP=netdev

Replace «your_ISO-3166-1_two-letter_country_code» with your ISO Country Code (such as CA for Canada), «your_SSID» with your wireless access point name and «your_PSK» with your wifi password.
Save this file under boot partition, naming it as “wpa_supplicant.conf”.
In addition, we will create a new file named “ssh” (without extension) under boot partition also to enable SSH in our raspberry. It is not important what is contained in this file: when Pi boots, it looks for the “ssh” file and if it is found, SSH is enabled and then the file is deleted.
So, let’s open a new Notepad window:

Go to : File -> Save as

Select boot partition in left column.
Insert in “File name” field value “ssh” and click “Save”. Be aware that notepad sometimes saves files adding “.txt” extension. So, control saved file and be sure that its extension is NOT included.
Extract SD card from your SD reader and insert it in your raspberry.
Power it on, wait a few minutes for first boot, check its IP address in your router and connect to it from Putty (or whatever connection program you are using for ssh) using default ssh port (22).
Default user: pi
Default password: raspberry

Once connected, make your system up to date:

sudo apt-get update


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