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raspberrypi-ua-netinst Issue Count


The minimal Raspbian unattended netinstaller for Raspberry Pi.

This initially was a fork of raspbian-ua-netinst. Because of extensive changes and improvements it became independent.
Some of the main differences are:

  • improved performance out of the box
  • full featured kernel and bootloader from (compatible with apt)
  • more installer customization options
  • ability to install via onboard wireless lan
  • better compatibility with accessory

This project gives Raspbian power users the ability to install a minimal base system unattended using the latest Raspbian packages, regardless when the installer was built.

The installer with the default settings configures eth0 with DHCP to get internet connectivity and completely wipes the SD card from any previous installation.


  • completely unattended, you only need a working internet connection through the ethernet port or use the onboard wireless LAN (supported on model 3B, 3B+, 4B and 0W)
  • DHCP and static IP configuration (DHCP is the default)
  • always installs the latest version of Raspbian
  • configurable default settings
  • extra configuration over HTTP possible - gives unlimited flexibility
  • installation takes about 20 minutes with fast internet from power on to sshd running
  • can fit on a 512MB SD card, but 1GB is more reasonable
  • default installation includes fake-hwclock to save the current time at shutdown
  • default installation includes NTP to keep time
  • /tmp is mounted as tmpfs to improve speed
  • no clutter included, you only get the bare essential packages
  • option to install root to a USB drive


  • a Raspberry Pi (from model 1B up to 4B, 3A+, 3B+ or Zero including Zero W)
  • SD card with at least 1GB, or at least 128MB for USB root install (without customization)
  • ethernet or wireless LAN with a working internet connection

Install instructions

  1. Write the installer to the SD card
  2. Provide unattended installation settings (optional) or follow the first boot steps later
  3. Power on the Raspberry Pi and wait until the installation is done

Writing the installer to the SD card

The installer archive contains all firmware files and the installer.

Go to our latest release page and download the .zip file.

Format your SD card as FAT32 (MS-DOS on Mac OS X) and extract the installer files.

Note: If you get an error saying it can't mount /dev/mmcblk0p1 on /boot then the most likely cause is that you're using exFAT instead of FAT32. Try formatting the SD card with this tool.
Further methods are described in doc/


Under normal circumstances, you can just power on your Pi and cross your fingers.

If you don't have a display attached, you can monitor the ethernet card LEDs to guess the activity status. When it finally reboots after installing everything you will see them illuminate on and off a few times when Raspbian configures on boot.

If the installation process fails, you will see SOS in Morse code (... --- ...) on an led. In this case, power off the Pi and check the log on the sd card.

If you do have a display, you can follow the progress and catch any possible errors in the default configuration or your own modifications. Once a network connection has been established, the process can also be followed via telnet (port 23).

If you have a serial cable connected, installer output can be followed there, too. If 'console=tty1' at then end of the cmdline.txt file is removed, you have access to the console in case of problems.

Installer customization

You can use the installer as is and get a minimal system installed which you can then use and customize to your needs.

All configuration files and folders have to be placed in raspberrypi-ua-netinst/config on the SD card.
This is the configuration directory of the installer.

Unattended install settings

The primary way to customize the installation process is done through a file named installer-config.txt. Edit or create this file in the config folder on the SD card.

If you want settings changed for your installation, you should only place that changed setting in the installer-config.txt file. So if you want to have vim and aptitude installed by default, edit or create the installer-config.txt file with the following contents:


That's it!

Here is another example for a installer-config.txt file:






All possible parameters and their description, are documented in doc/

Advanced customization

More advanced customization as providing files or executing own scripts is documented in doc/

First boot

The system is almost completely unconfigured on first boot. Here are some tasks you most definitely want to do on first boot.
Note, that this manual work can be done automatically during the installation process if the appropriate options in installer-config.txt) are set.

The default root password is raspbian.

  • Set new root password: passwd
  • Configure your default locale: dpkg-reconfigure locales
  • Configure your keyboard layout: dpkg-reconfigure keyboard-configuration
  • Configure your timezone: dpkg-reconfigure tzdata

Create a swap file with dd if=/dev/zero of=/swap bs=1M count=512 && chmod 600 /swap && mkswap /swap (example is 512MB) and enable it on boot by appending /swap none swap sw 0 0 to /etc/fstab.


The output of the installation process is logged to file.
When the installation completes successfully, the logfile is placed in /var/log/raspberrypi-ua-netinst.log on the installed system.
When an error occurs during install, the logfile is placed in the raspberrypi-ua-netinst folder and is named error-\<datetimestamp\>.log

Reinstalling or replacing an existing system

If you want to reinstall with the same settings you did your first install you can just copy the original config.txt back and reboot.

Note: If the original installation was performed with cleanup set to 1, then the files necessary for a reinstallation will not be available.

cp /boot/raspberrypi-ua-netinst/reinstall/config.txt /boot/config.txt

Remember to backup all your data and original config.txt before doing this!


We take no responsibility for ANY data loss. You will be reflashing your SD card anyway so it should be very clear to you what you are doing and will lose all your data on the card. Same goes for reinstallation.

See LICENSE for license information.

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