Installing Raspbian 9 on a Raspberry Pi Zero

Getting Started

Raspberry Pi Zero W

Thanks to Graham Weldon, I recently got a Raspberry Pi Zero W to play around with. Having installed Debian on my Beagle Bone Black, naturally I wanted to install it on this box too.

I primarily followed the instructions from the

Installing the Base Image

Because the Raspberry Pi Zero is not an officially supported Debian platform, I stuck with the Raspbian distro. I used the Raspbian Stretch Lite base image to keep it minimal. I looked into DietPi, but it was more focused on embedded systems and at this point I’m just looking for low-power servers that are closer to stock Debian.

I flashed the image onto a 32 gig microSD card with Etcher for OSX.

With my microSD card ready I plugged in my mini-HDMI adapter and HDMI cable, a micro-B OTG USB hub and a USB keyboard and USB ethernet cable and booted into Raspbian.

Configuring Raspbian

The default user/password combination on Raspbian is pi and raspberry, which you’ll want to immediately change with passwd. I created the .ssh directory to hold my credentials later.

mkdir .ssh

I then used the built-in raspi-config command to enable SSH and to configure the hostname, wifi, timezone and locale.n

sudo raspi-config

I then copied over my SSH key so I wouldn’t need to use my password when logging in.

scp ~/.ssh/ pi@
ssh pi@
sudo su -


Now that I was able to SSH over and sudo to root, there were a few final steps. Raspbian has the swap configured, which isn’t very useful on a system booting off an SD card.

dphys-swapfile swapoff
dphys-swapfile uninstall
update-rc.d dphys-swapfile remove

To ensure the latest versions of the base install:

apt-get update
apt-get upgrade

Then I rebooted the box and unplugged the ethernet, video, and keyboard. It was now on my network via wifi and ready to be remotely administered.