HowTo: RaspberryPi – The first configuration

After reading the article RaspberryPi – Setting Up for Nerdiys! has been described as a RaspberryPi is put into operation, it is explained here which first settings are still to be made before it can really go off.

The RasperryPi is set by default in English and also on a non-German keyboard layout. For example, this causes the “Y” and “Z” keys to be reversed.
How to fix this and make other important settings is explained in this article.

Hints for our lovely english readers: Basically, many of the articles on are translations from the original german articles. Therefore, it may happen here and there that some illustrations are not available in english and that some translations are weird/strange/full of mistakes or generally totaly wrong. So if you find some obvious (or also not obvious) mistakes don't hesitate to leave us a hint about that in the comment section. 
Also please don't get confused, that instead of a "dot" often a "comma" is used as decimal separator. 🙂

Safety instructions

I know the following hints are always a bit annoying and seem unnecessary. But unfortunately, many people who knew it "better" from carelessness lost their eyes, fingers or other things or hurt themselves. In comparison, a loss of data is almost not worth mentioning, but even these can be really annoying. Therefore, please take five minutes to read the safety instructions. Even the coolest project is worth no injury or other annoyance.

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Helpful Articles:
Before you can star the first setup of the RaspberryPi you should have prepared it so far that you can control the RaspberryPi via mouse, keyboard and screen. The following article describes what to do to prepare the RaspberryPi so far:
RaspberryPi – Setting up for Nerdiys!

Required tools:

Required material:

In the following list you will find all the parts you need to implement this article.

Open configuration menu

Start the RaspberryPi by connecting the power adapter and wait until you see the following picture on the screen.

This is the default Raspian desktop. To get into the settings menu, click on the red raspberry on the top left, then on “Preferences” and then on “Raspberry Pi Configuration”.

This is the RaspberryPi settings menu. In order to process all points we work from left to right through the menu tabs. To start change to the “System”-tab and click on “Change Password”.

Set password

In the section “Change Password” you can set the password for the current user “pi”. When working locally, so with a connected screen and keyboard+mouse, you do not need it yet.
But since we control the RasPi later over the network, we should change the default password here and set our own. This is especially important as unmodified standard passwords are a popular security vulnerability.

To change the password you have to enter the same password twice. Be aware that you are currently using the English keyboard layout of a QWERTY keyboard. This means various special characters and the letters “Z” and “Y” are reversed (compared to the german standard-layout). If this bothers you, you can also change the password later after the keyboard layout has been set correctly.
Otherwise you click on “OK” and your new password will be accepted.

The remaining settings in the System tab

Under “hostname” you can set the name of your RasPi. Under this name, the RasPi can then be found in the network, for example. If you use the RasPi as a file server, you can call it “Server” or “NAS” (for Network Attached Storage).
The remaining settings in the “System” menu tab can remain as in the picture. In most cases, you do not have to change them.


Before clicking on “OK” we switch to the tab “Interfaces”.

At this tab you can select which RaspberryPi-typical functions should be activated.
With such choices you should always activate as much as necessary and at the same time as little as possible. So do not just activate everything, only the functions you need for the specific application of the RasPi.
In the current case, this is only the SSH and VNC service.
The SSH service allows us to access the RasPi via a SSH tunnel.
The VNC service allows us to virtually redirect the desktop to another PC, allowing us to control the RasPi from another PC.
Set both to “Enabled” and then switch to the “Performance” tab.


In the “Performance” tab, only the “GPU memory” can be set.
“GPU” stands for “Graphics Processing Unit”, ie the graphics card of the RaspberryPi.
This splits the main memory with the CPU (Central Processing Unit) of your RasPi.
Should you now have an application in which you increasingly use your graphics card or this requires more memory, a little more memory of the CPU can be “taken away” and assigned to the GPU.
If you have no use case in which you need more graphics card memory, I would recommend to leave this value to 64.


In the “Localization” area, various settings for the location or language area can be set.
First, we click on “Set Locale” to set the system language, country and character set.

Localization: Set Locale

At thispoint you can set the “system language”.
This should be set to your desired language. In the shwon picture the language is set to German but of course many other languages are possible.

Localization: Set Timezone

In order to set the correct time zone of the system clock you have to click on “Set Timezone”.
For Location you set the timezone to your desired timezone.

Localization: Set Keyboard

Now it’s about to set the previously mentioned keyboard layout. In principle, this sets which key press on the keyboard belongs to the inserted character.
Click on “Set Keyboard”. This will open a window where you have to set the country to your desired setting.
Click on “OK” to save the settings and close the window.

Localization: Set WiFi Country

The last setting to make is the setting of the “WiFi Country”.
This setting is also legally relevant, because it tells the wireless part of the built-in Wifi-card in which country the Wifi-card is operated. This is important because different radio frequencies may be used in the respective countries. In order to avoid disturbances with devices or the laws of your state you should set this to the correct country.
To do this, we click on “Set WiFi Country” and then set the value of your country in the “Country” area. We confirm this with “OK” to save the setting and close the window.

Save settings and restart

Now all settings have been made. To save these settings, the RasPi must be restarted once. Please click on “OK” and in the pop-up dialog box on “Yes”.
The RasPi restarts and you should find yourself on the desktop of the RasPi after a few minutes.

Configure Wifi-connection

In order to make the RasPi accessible via the network, it must be connected to the network. This is possible via cable or much more comfortable (but also a little slower) via Wi-Fi access.

In order to connect to a Wifi, click on the symbol with the two red crosses in the upper right corner. This will bring up a list of all available wireless networks. Select your network in this list, enter your password and confirm this by clicking on “OK”. The RasPi should then connect to your wifi.
Whether the RaspberryPi is connected to a Wifi, you can tell by the fact that the symbol with the two crosses has changed. It has now become a typical WiFi symbol that also indicates how strong the signal strength is. Since the RasPi has a small built-in on board  antenna, its reception strength is not always the best. If it is not enough it could actually help to operate a Wifi-dongle via the USB port.

This completes the first basic configuration.

If you want to know how to control the RasPi over the network via SSH or VNC, there are two more articles here:
RaspberryPi – Controlling the RaspberryPi via SSH
RaspberryPi – Control the RaspberryPi via VNC

Have fun with the project

I hope everything worked as described. If not or you have any other questions or suggestions, please let me know in the comments. Also, ideas for new projects are always welcome. 🙂

P.S. Many of these projects - especially the hardware projects - cost a lot of time and money. Of course I do this because I enjoy it, but if you appreciate it that I share these information with you, I would be happy about a small donation to the coffee box. 🙂

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