Do you miss NOOBS? Install Multiple Operating Systems on Your Raspberry Pi with PINN

Installing an operating system (OS) on a Raspberry Pi differs from performing the same task on a standard computer. As such, installing multiple operating systems if a different proposition.

NOOBS was great for this, but the Raspberry Pi Foundation’s preferred installer has been retired. Worse still, its replacement doesn’t handle dual or multi-booting.

Fortunately, there is an alternative: PINN. Below you will learn how to install one or more operating systems on a Raspberry Pi with the PINN is not NOOBS operating system installer.


What happened to the NOOBS?

First released in 2013, NOOBS (New Out Of Box Software) was designed to make it easy to install an operating system on a Raspberry Pi.

But in 2020, Raspberry Pi Imager was released. This has most of the same functionality as NOOBS, while adding support for larger SD cards. But, Raspberry Pi Imager doesn’t support multi-booting, that’s where PINN comes in.

Note that while you can still use NOOBS if you have a copy on your computer, it is no longer being updated. Moreover, its selection of operating systems is likely to decrease over time.

Benefits of using PINN for multiple Raspberry Pi operating systems

Other Raspberry Pi tools have been developed to support dual-booting and multi-booting. BerryBoot was designed for multiple operating systems and is still available. Meanwhile, the WD PiDrive Foundation Edition software has, like NOOBS, been retired.

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PINN has two key advantages. First of all, in addition to supporting the installation of multiple Raspberry Pi operating systems on a single SD card, it offers simple yet advanced configurations.

Second, PINN has an online option. This browser-based interface helps you create a multi-boot Raspberry Pi disk image on the fly. You can, for example, set up PINN on your phone while on the bus, download the installer, copy it to an SD card, and boot it on your Raspberry Pi.

Before continuing, make sure you have:

  • A formatted microSD card of at least 8 GB (be careful to avoid fake SD card scams)
  • Keyboard and mouse
  • Raspberry Pi connected to a monitor
  • Ethernet cable connected or Wi-Fi network available

The next two sections look at installing multiple operating systems on a single Raspberry Pi SD card using PINN, configuring software on a Raspberry Pi, or pre-configuring in the browser.

How to Use PINN to Boot Your Raspberry Pi Multiple Times

To create a multi-boot SD card for your Raspberry Pi, download pinn-lite.zip from SourceForge. (The PINN GitHub page will provide further information if this link changes.)

Once the file is downloaded, unzip it to a folder on your computer. Meanwhile, make sure the formatted microSD card is inserted in your PC. Copy the contents of pinn-lite.zip to the root of the microSD card. This means that the files and folders in pinn-lite.zip are not in a folder on the microSD card.



Extract pinn-lite.zip

Safely eject the SD card from your computer, insert it into your Raspberry Pi and turn it on.

PINN will detect if you have an Ethernet cable connected to the Raspberry Pi. If not, you will be prompted to connect to Wi-Fi. Once done, you can start browsing the available operating systems, grouped into tabs: General, Minimal, Media, Games, Test, Legacy and Utility.


Choose multiple Raspberry Pi operating systems to install

These titles describe what is available in each. For example, you’ll find Kodi-based systems and audiophile tools under Media, while Lakka, Recalbox, and RetroPie can be added under Games.

To install multiple operating systems on your microSD card:

  1. Put one X in the box next to the operating systems you want to use
    Select the operating systems to install
  2. keep an eye on installation space total, because you cannot exceed this
  3. If you want to restart at any time, click Delete (c)
  4. Click on information to open a website for the selected operating system to learn more
  5. When you’re ready to go, click Install (I)
  6. Click on Yes to confirm and wait for the operating systems to be downloaded and installed
    Confirm installation


Once the process is complete, the Raspberry Pi will reboot. Your Raspberry Pi now has multiple operating systems.

Click on Okay to continue, and you’ll see the PINN splash screen (which you’ll see every time you reboot or power on), from which you can select the operating system you want to use.

In addition to selecting and clicking Startupyou can arrange the order of operating systems and mark one as default.

Pre-configure Raspberry Pi multiboot on the go with PINN Online

A faster option that you can set up on the go is available through the PINN website. It’s essentially the same software, but with the menus for creating recovery.cmdline embedded in a series of web pages.

Start by visiting the PINN website. Here you will see the different options available to you, on several pages. The process is simple.

  1. Choose the right media: SD card, USB keyor a combination of SD card and USB
    Select installation media
  2. Select a SD card size Where USB drive size which corresponds to the media you are using (100 MB are reserved for the PINN software)
  3. In the next screen, select your Raspberry Pi board. You will notice that every board is available, from the original Raspberry Pi Model A to the Raspberry Pi Compute Module 4. Make sure the choice matches your board correctly.
    Select your Raspberry Pi board

The following screen is divided into tabs: Games, Media, General, Minimal, Test, Legacy. The partitions and operating systems offered correspond to those of the main PINN tool. Note that the size, maintainer, and homepage links for each operating system are included. Also note that the available operating systems are determined by the Raspberry Pi board you have selected.

  1. Select the partitions or Raspberry Pi operating systems you want to install on the SD card
  2. keep an eye on Available figure at the top of the screen, and avoid exceeding the disk capacity
  3. When you’re done, click following
  4. Adjust the slider(s) to determine the size of each partition
    Select partition size
  5. Click on following when you are done, then download both files, pinn-lite.zip and recovery.cmdline
    Download a PINN configuration
  6. Finish by unzipping pinn-lite.zip and replacing recovery.cmdline in the unzipped version by download recovery.cmdlineand copying the unzipped directory to the bootable media

The SD card or USB key (or both) can then be connected to the Raspberry Pi and the computer powered on. Make sure the computer is connected to Ethernet or Wi-Fi before installing an operating system.

You can then proceed to select operating systems from the PINN menu, as previously described. The difference here is that only the operating systems you selected on the website will be displayed.


Install multiple operating systems on Raspberry Pi

Click on To install or press I on your keyboard to install operating systems. Once this is complete, the Raspberry Pi will reboot and you will see a boot selection screen. This will appear each time the Raspberry Pi boots, allowing you to choose which operating system you want to use each time you use it.

Multi-boot your Raspberry Pi with PINN

With so many operating systems available for the Raspberry Pi, it makes sense to have an easy way to install several at once. This way you can easily switch between them.

While Raspberry Pi 4 computers probably have enough processing power and RAM to handle a full operating system with specific software running, older models are better suited to the more stripped-down Linux software for a purpose. particular. Think Kodi on OSMC or LibreELEC, or Recalbox, or RetroPie—it’s a long list.

For these disk images, dual-booting and multi-booting are particularly useful solutions. PINN makes choosing and installing your multi-boot Raspberry Pi operating systems easier, arguably more so than NOOBS. Meanwhile, the PINN website allows you to start the next multi-mining installation setup of your Raspberry Pi on any device with a browser.


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