How to boot your Raspberry Pi

Linux users will be familiar with dual booting their systems. We often have Linux alongside Windows or some other Linux distribution. The Raspberry Pi, itself a tiny $ 35 Linux computer, isn’t particularly well known for dual-booting, but it is possible; all we need is a little help.

PINN is a website which creates a custom installation script tailored to our specific needs. With PINN we can install multiple operating systems on a single micro SD card or USB stick. PINN does not download an operating system to our cards, but creates an installation file that, when executed on our Raspberry Pi, automatically downloads and installs all of our operating system options. From there, all we have to do is reboot, select a new operating system, and we’re ready to build more great Raspberry Pi projects.

For this project you will need

  1. A Raspberry Pi, we decided on a Raspberry Pi 4
  2. 32 GB FAT32 formatted micro SD card
  3. Ethernet connection for your Raspberry Pi
  4. Keyboard, mouse, HDMI and power for your Raspberry Pi
  5. A pc

How to create a custom installation with PINN

We start the process by creating a custom installation script through the PINN website.

1. On your PC, navigate to https://pinn.mjh.nz.

2. Insert a blank FAT32-formatted 32GB microSD card into your computer.

3. Click on SD Card to set the destination storage device. This will not prompt you for the drive, but rather allow Pinn to be properly configured for use on an SD card.

(Image credit: Toms Hardware)

4th Choose the size of your microSD card. In our case it was a 32GB card.

(Image credit: Toms Hardware)

5. Choose your Raspberry Pi. Model. We decided on a Raspberry Pi 4. Choosing the right model is critical because it determines which operating systems can be installed.

(Image credit: Toms Hardware)

6th Click on the headings to filter the operating system selection. There are many different operating systems available for the Raspberry Pi. We can install a general operating system like Raspberry Pi OS, Twister or Manjaro. We can also install specialized operating systems such as DietPi (servers and appliances) and Kali Linux (network security).

(Image credit: Toms Hardware)

7th Click on the operating system of your choice Then click Next.

(Image credit: Toms Hardware)

8th. Use the slider to divide the room on the microSD card between your OS choice.

(Image credit: Toms Hardware)

9. Download the zip file contains the installation and the recovery.cmdline file.

(Image credit: Toms Hardware)

10. Extract the contents of the ZIP into a new folder called PINN.

11th Copy the recovery.cmdline into the new folder. We downloaded a replacement file that contains specific instructions for our installation. This new file replaces the existing version in the PINN folder.

(Image credit: Toms Hardware)

12th Copy the contents of the PINN folder to your microSD card.

(Image credit: Toms Hardware)

13th Eject the microSD card and plug it into your Raspberry Pi.

Setting up the installation

After we have configured our microSD card and ready for installation, we switch to the Raspberry Pi and complete the installation, where PINN downloads and installs the selected operating system.

1. Connect ethernet, keyboard, mouse, HDMI and at last energy to your Raspberry Pi. PINN will boot up automatically to complete the installation. This takes about 30 seconds.

2. Make sure your operating system selection is displayed and when you are ready Click Install to start the download and installation process. You will be asked to confirm the installation, answer with yes Continue. Depending on the internet connection and the Raspberry Pi model, this can take some time.

(Image credit: Toms Hardware)

3. Once the installation is complete Click OK Start anew.

(Image credit: Toms Hardware)

4. When you restart the system for the first time, the first operating system on the drive is started as usual. Go through the standard setup for your chosen operating system and then start anew the Raspberry Pi.

With each subsequent boot, the Pi boots into the OS selection screen of PINN. Click on the operating system select, then click on BOAT to run.

(Image credit: Toms Hardware)

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