The main configuration tool in Raspbian is called raspi-config and will allow us to configure most settings in relation to how we Pi boots and runs, to invoke this tool we need to run this command in terminal;

sudo raspi-config

raspi-config Main Menu , use keypad / tabs / enter / esc key to navigate

Option 1 and 2 are self explanatory – you MUST change your password from the default raspberry if you have your Pi networked. Option 3 takes us to the boot options where we can decide whether or not we want to boot straight to desktop or into command line.


Choose option B1 for boot to Desktop options

Option 4 takes us to localisation / language / wifi options – only change that if you DO NOT reside in the UK , if so choose options to match your country – this is important with the WiFi options. We will now have a look at option 5 where you can configure your Pi to certain hardware requirements. Some of these are fairly self-explanatory but I will take you through the options, not all are essential. The trick is to save on ‘resources’ i.e minimise demand on the processor;

raspi-config hardware configuration (GPIO)

  1. Camera – enable only IF you are using a Camera
  2. SSH – essential if we need to access our Pi remotely i.e log in via a different computer (command line).
  3. VNC – if we need to use our Pi as a ‘Remote Desktop’ we enable this option – remember to set a separate password for this.
  4. Serial Peripheral Interface will allow us to communicate with components  such as Temperature sensor, distance sensors and segment displays.  (SPI pinout)
  5. Inter-Integrated-Circuit bus (I2C) essentially does the same but can connect to more devices at the same time – ideal for robotics / micro controllers. (I2C pinout)
  6. The Serial port is useful for communication between your Pi and modems / printers but is now considered a fairly outdated protocol – USB is a better alternative.
  7. 1-W interface will communicate with a sensor through 1 wire only BUT still needs power (G +Vs) so really 3wires (huhhh ?!?!). (1-W pinout)
  8. Remote GPIO Pinout will enable the API so that you can control GPIO ports from a smartphone or computer – useful for home automation – see examples here.

More on some of these ports from Electrical Engineering (StackExchange) here.

Option 6 will give us access to overclock options – mostly available to the full size Raspberry Pi’s (2,2B, 3B)- thread with caution here unless you know what you’re doing. The short explanation is that we CAN make our Pi perform better by ‘overclocking’ BUT this will result in higher power draw and processor temperatures.

Overclock configuration tool.

Advanced Options (7) gives us access to a few important options that can improve performance and display options;

A1:  This will expand our filesystem so that we can make use of ALL the storage on our SD card but requires REBOOT to activate after exiting raspi-config.
A2:  If using an old VGA screen we might have to activate overscan to improve screen area.
A3: Only needed IF Pi is used as a gaming or graphics heavy device; allocate more memory to GPU
A4: Choose between sound to HDMI (TV/Monitor) or 3.5mm jack (headphones/speakers)
A5: Again if you have an old ‘legacy screen/monitor’ adjust screen resolution to best fit.
A6: If it ain’t broke – don’t touch it – OK !!

A3: GPU memory allocation


A5: screen resolution tool


Now if you have already booted in to Desktop (Raspbian Jessie) and you’re NOT quite ready for the command line yet – FEAR NOT because the brilliant Raspbian developers have now included a tool in the menu bar ;

Menu —> Preferences —> Raspberry Pi Configuration

This will give you access to ALL the configurations as described above in a GUI format , just remember a few options WILL require reboot !
More in-depth information about the raspi-config tool.

Happy hacking fellow geeks and geekettes !!

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