It’s worthwhile to upgrade to Debian Buster 10 to have Python 3.7 with system / GPIO libraries not always easy to install otherwise. It is generally not worthwhile to upgrade the OS in place. Instead, copy off your files, do a fresh Debian install, and copy your files back. Keep the original SD card in case some setup is hard to figure out.
The best way to upgrade the Raspberry Pi operating system is get a new SD card and load the OS from scratch as described below.
Copy any wanted files from Raspberry Pi
~ home directory to your PC with
This is in case the original SD card fails.
Setup SD card
The contents of the SD card are erased in the following procedure. We suggest getting a new SD card so that you have the original SD card with working configuration in case there’s an issue.
Download Raspberry Pi OS Lite Image
Write the OS image to SD card using [Raspberry Pi Imager]](https://www.raspberrypi.org/software/) or the manual Linux-based process below.
Enable SSH by changing to the SD card
bootdirectory, and type
- Linux / WSL / MacOS:
- Linux / WSL / MacOS:
Manual Linux setup
If you prefer to manually load the Raspberry Pi SD card image:
Before and after inserting the SD card into your PC, type
Assuming the SD card was at
lsblkto find SD card mount point):
unzip -p *raspios*lite* | sudo dd of=/dev/mmcblk0 bs=4M status=progress conv=fsync
ddfrom instantly saying it’s done, helping avoid mistakenly removing the SD card before it’s done writing. This will take 5-10 minutes depending on your SD card speed.
Ensure the writing has completed:
Headless Raspberry Pi first boot
Without a monitor and keyboard on the Pi, the Avahi dæmon on the Raspberry Pi will make it easy to find your Raspberry Pi when you plug into your LAN.
Note: changing the
hostname of your Raspberry Pi also changes the Avahi address correspondingly.
Put the SD card into the Pi, plug an Ethernet cord into your LAN router/switch and from your PC:
Update Pi software
apt install rpi-update rpi-update apt update apt upgrade
Raspberry Pi Configuration
Raspberry Pi reliable long-term install tips
Avoid overclocking the Raspberry Pi for best long-term reliability. Use a heatsink kit for high-stakes remote operations.
- completely headdless Raspberry Pi setup