Boot up a Raspberry Pi – New Bootloader

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So, you have managed to get your hands on a brand new Raspberry Pi, Micro SD card, power supply, and all the other goodies to start your journey into the Microcomputer world, your fingers itching to get started with Scratch, Python or setup a computer for your family to surf on. You egerly insert the SD card, keyboard, mouse, HDMI cable and power.

Nothing, just a black screen greets you. So you pick up your phone and look and find instructions like “On your main PC, download…”.

What you have needed up till now is a second computer to put an operating system onto the Micro SD card. If you did not have access to one, you would need to buy a pre-imaged SD card, but these are slightly more expensive and may not be fully up to date, or may even be of limited storage space. You have a card already, so what can you do?

Well in the not too distant future, that will not be a problem, as on the 8th February 2022, the Raspberry Pi foundation announced the beta testing of a new bootloader that will let you boot your Raspberry Pi onto the internet to download the image. All you will need is a monitor and a keyboard and mouse.

At the moment, you will need to manually upgrade your bootloader to see the new boot options, but once the testing is complete all future Raspberry Pi computers will come with this bootloader installed from the factory!

For now, though you can use a 2nd computer to create a bootloader upgrade Micro SD card and update your Raspberry Pi.

Once you have the new bootloader, you will just need to power on with a blank SD card, or a USB memory stick or a USB hard-drive installed plus network cable, screen keyboard and mouse and a few quick button presses and mouse clicks later your Raspberry Pi will boot up and greet you with a fresh new desktop ready for your adventure to begin!

This is an excellent update by the Raspberry Pi foundation and it will mean that you no longer need a second computer just to create an SD card!

Here is a fantastic video from the Raspberry Pi Foundation showing off this new feature!