HowTo: RaspberryPi – The first configuration

After in the article RaspberryPi – setup for nerdiys! described how to get a RaspberryPi up and running, here we explain which first settings have to be done before you can really start.

The RasperryPi is set to English by default and also to a non-German keyboard layout. This leads for example to the fact that the keys "Y" and "Z" are swapped.
How to fix this and make other important settings is explained in this article.

Safety instructions

I know the following notes are always kind of annoying and seem unnecessary. Unfortunately, many people who knew "better" have lost eyes, fingers or other things due to carelessness or injured themselves. Data loss is almost negligible in comparison, but even these can be really annoying. Therefore, please take five minutes to read the safety instructions. Because even the coolest project is not worth injury or other trouble.

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Helpful articles:
Before you can start with the installation of 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 you have to do to prepare the RaspberryPi:
RaspberryPi – setup for nerdiys!

Required tool:

Required material:

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

Open configuration menu

Then start the RaspberryPi by connecting the power supply and wait until you see the following picture on the screen.

This is the default desktop of Raspian. To enter the settings menu, click on the red raspberry in the upper left corner, then on "Preferences" and then on "Raspberry Pi Configuration".

This is the RaspberryPi settings menu. To work through all items we work from left to right through the menu tabs and start in the tab "System" and click there on "Change Password".

Set password

Im Bereich „Change Password“ könnt ihr das Passwort für den aktuellen Benutzer “pi” einstellen. Beim lokalen Arbeiten, also mit angeschlossenem Bildschirm und Tastatur+Maus braucht ihr es noch nicht.
Since we control the RasPi later over the network, we should change the default password and set our own. This is especially important, because unchanged default passwords are a popular security hole for hackers and co.

To change the password, you have to enter the same password twice. Please note that you are currently still using the English keyboard layout of a QWERTY keyboard. This means various special characters and the letters "Z" and "Y" are swapped. If this bothers you, you can change the password later after the keyboard layout has been set correctly.
Otherwise click "OK" and your new password will be applied.

The remaining settings in the System tab

Unter “Hostname” könnt ihr den Namen eures RasPi einstellen. Unter diesem Namen lässt sich der RasPi dann zum Beispiel im Netzwerk finden. Wenn ihr den RasPi zum Beispiel als Datei-Server nutzen wollt könntet ihr ihn hier “Server” oder “NAS”(für Network Attached Storage) nennen.
Die restlichen Einstellungen im Menü-Reiter “System” können so wie auf dem Bild bleiben. Für die meisten Fälle müsst ihr sie nicht umstellen.


Bevor wird auf “OK” klicken wechseln wir zum Reiter “Interfaces”.

There you can select which RaspberryPi typical functions should be activated.
With such selection options one should always activate as much as necessary and at the same time as little as possible. So do not activate everything across the board, but really only the functions that we need for the specific use case of the RasPi.
In the current case, this is only the SSH and VNC service.
The SSH service allows us to access the RasPi later via SSH tunnel.
The VNC service allows us to virtually redirect the desktop to another PC and thus also control the RasPi from another PC.
Stellt beides auf “Enabled” und wechselt dann zum Reiter “Performance”.


Im Reiter “Performance” lässt sich lediglich die “GPU-Memory” einstellen.
“GPU” steht dabei für “Graphics Processing Unit” also die Grafikkarte des RaspberryPi.
This shares the memory with the CPU (Central Processing Unit) of your RasPi.
Solltet ihr nun einen Anwendungsfall haben bei dem ihr verstärkt eure Grafikkarte nutzt bzw. diese mehr Speicher benötigt, kann hier etwas mehr Speicher der CPU “weggenommen” und der GPU zugewiesen werden.
Unless you have a use case where you need more graphics card memory, I would leave this value at 64.


Im Bereich “Localisation” lassen sich nun diverse Einstellungen zum Standort bzw. Sprachraum einstellen.
Als erstes klicken wir dazu auf “Set Locale” um die Systemsprache, Land und den Zeichensatz einzustellen.

Localisation: Set Locale

Hier lässt sich nun bei “Language” die Systemsprache einstellen.
Diese sollte auf de (Austrian Germany) eingestellt werden. Ich weiß nicht ob es beim „Austrian Germany“ einen Unterschied zum “deutschen Deutsch” gibt. Bisher ist mir aber weder einer aufgefallen noch habe ich eine andere Auswahlmöglichkeit für die deutsche Sprache gefunden.
Unter “Country” sollte das Land auf “DE (Germany)” gestellt werden.
Der “Character Set”(=Zeichensatz) sollte auf den “UTF-8” Standard gestellt werden.
Dann sind wir mit den “Locale”-Einstellungen soweit fertig und können das Fenster mit einem klick auf “OK” schließen.

Localization: Set Timezone

Um nun die korrekte Zeitzone der Systemuhr einzustellen müsst ihr auf “Set Timezone” klicken.
Dort stellt ihr bei Location die Zeitzone auf “GMT+1” was der Zeitzone von Deutschland entspricht und schließt das Fenster indem ihr auf “OK” klickt.

Localization: Set Keyboard

Now it is about the previously mentioned keyboard layout. In principle, this sets which letter is behind which keystroke on the keyboard. This varies from country to country. But since most German keyboards have a German keyboard layout, we will set it that way now.
Klickt dazu auf “Set Keyboard”. Daraufhin öffnet sich ein Fenster in dem ihr im Linken Bereich “Country” zuerst das Land auf “Germany” und dann im rechten Bereich “Variant” die Variante auf “German” stellen müsst.
Klickt dann auf “OK” um die Einstellungen zu speichern und das Fenster zu schließen.

Localisation: Set WiFi Country

Die letzte Einstellungen die noch zu machen ist, ist die Einstellung des “WiFi Country”.
This setting is also legally relevant, as it tells the radio part of the installed WLAN card in which country the WLAN card is operated. This is important because different radio frequencies may be used in the respective countries. To avoid interference with devices or the laws of the German state, you should also set this to the correct country.
Dazu klicken wir auf “Set WiFi Country” und stellen dann im Bereich “Country” den Wert “DE Germany” ein. Dies bestätigen wir mit „OK“ um die Einstellung zu speichern und das Fenster zu schließen.

Save settings and restart

Nun wurden alle Einstellungen vorgenommen. Damit das System diese nun auch übernehmen kann muss der RasPi einmal neu gestartet werden. Klickt dazu bitte auf “OK” und in dem daraufhin aufpoppenden Dialogfenster auf “Yes”.
The RasPi will reboot and you should find yourself back on the RasPi desktop after a few minutes.

Configure wifi connection

To make the RasPi accessible via the network, it must of course be connected to the network. This can be done by cable or much more comfortable (but also a little slower) via WLAN access.
Starting with the RaspberryPi 3, a WLan card is installed from the factory.

To connect to a wireless network, click on the icon with the two red crosses in the upper right corner. A list with all available wireless networks will appear. Select your network in this list, enter your password and confirm this with a click on "OK". The RasPi should then connect to your wireless network.
If the RaspberryPi is connected to a WLan you can see that the symbol with the two crosses has changed. It has now become a typical wlan symbol that also shows how strong the signal strength is. Because the RasPi has a small antenna on the board, its reception strength is not always the best. If it is not strong enough it might actually help to use a wlan dongle via the USB port.

This completes the first basic configuration for now.

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

Have fun with the project

I hope everything worked as described for you. If not or you have questions or suggestions please let me know in the comments. I will then add this to the article if necessary.
Ideas for new projects are always welcome. 🙂

PS 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 think it's cool that I share the information with you, I would be happy about a small donation to the coffee fund. 🙂

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