Multi-installer NOOBS for the Raspberry Pi

Advanced Options

Aside from the user-friendly installation of multiple operating systems, NOOBS offers the ability to adapt configuration files according to your own needs.

For example, you can extend or completely replace the list of operating systems to be installed. Additionally, you can install different and individualized versions of the same operating system. In a school setting, for example, this approach would allow a teacher to install a system for producing multimedia content for one half of a classroom and a lean Python programming environment for the other half, where both system versions could be incarnations of Raspbian.

A Raspbian image with an integrated "Boot to Scratch" option already exists – Scratch is the name of a programming environment created by the MIT Media Lab. The Raspbian image boots directly into Scratch and allows novice users to bypass the complexities of Linux or Raspbian interfaces.

Adding additional operating system images of your own creation is accomplished by editing some configuration files. Just as easily, you can configure NOOBS in such a way that an image stored on the SD card is installed automatically when the Rasp Pi boots up.

To get NOOBS to perform this automatic installation, you should first copy the image to be installed to the OS folder on the SD card. For a silent installation, simply edit the file recovery.cmdline by adding the option silentinstall to the list of arguments. If several versions of the same operating system exist on the card, you will need to indicate the desired flavor in the flavors.json file.

Additional switches in the recovery.cmdline file allow you to specify that the language and keyboard layout be in English via lang=en or keyboard=en. The display mode described above can also be changed at this point with the display=1 switch setting, which would correspond to HDMI mode.

If you want NOOBS to launch a system automatically after 10 seconds without user input, set the partition=<number> switch. The forcetrigger argument makes sure that the recovery mode starts each time the Rasp Pi is booted up.

All of this can be accomplished via the GPIO connector [10] by unlocking it with the gpiotriggerenable argument. For example, this would allow you to always connect pins number 3 and 25 during the start-up phase to activate recovery mode. Achieving the same outcome by modifying one of the preinstalled images is more complicated. For more information on how to configure operating system images, go to the lower portion of the file, which you can find on the NOOBS GitHub page [11].


Although NOOBS is primarily intended for Rasp Pi beginners, experienced users can also profit from the uncomplicated installation of several parallel systems. Thus, it's very easy to try out different operating systems without having to dig into the depths of the system.

Der Autor

Ferdinand Thommes lives in Berlin and works there as a Linux developer, independent writer, and city guide.

Buy this article as PDF

Express-Checkout as PDF

Pages: 6

Price $2.95
(incl. VAT)

Buy Raspberry Pi Geek

Get it on Google Play

US / Canada

Get it on Google Play

UK / Australia

Related content

  • On the DVD

    NOOBS 1.9.0

  • On the DVD

    NOOBS 1.9.2

  • On the DVD

    NOOBS (New Out Of the Box Software) provides an easy way to install operating systems on your Rasp Pi. 

  • On the DVD

    NOOBS (New Out Of the Box Software) provides an easy way to install operating systems on your Rasp Pi.

  • On the DVD

    The DVD enclosed with this issue comes with a collection of some of the best and most popular Raspberry Pi distributions.