I have a new RPi 4 and I have installed NOOBS from a zip due to the fact that I cannot install software on my computer as it is loaned from my school (i.e. image writing software)

However, once plugged in to a power source, there is just a singular red light and the green light flashes once really quickly.

I read an article online (https://www.makeuseof.com/tag/raspberry-pi-wont-boot-fix/) which said that if the OS was not supported there would only be a red light and no green light, so I wondered if there was any way to install the latest RPi OS version from a zip file rather than an image?

(I tested my download of NOOBS on a RPi Model B [https://socialcompare.com/en/review/raspberry-pi-model-b] and it worked)

  • You might download a portable disk imager (Pi foundation refers a.o. to upswift.io/imgflasher) and use that if you're on Win10. No need for a real install and you can remove it after use. Commented Jun 17, 2021 at 11:45
  • Why do you want to use NOOBS? Many of the problems I've seen on the Raspi are caused directly by NOOBS. SD cards are usually readily available and relatively inexpensive.
    – NomadMaker
    Commented Jul 12, 2022 at 15:34

1 Answer 1


To answer the actual question - the only ways to install an OS without an installer are NOOBS or PINN, which are OS installer/boot managers. Few (if any) experienced users on this site use NOOBS, and even on the Foundation site it is discouraged.

If you do want to pursue this I believe NOOBS is still available, and should run on Pi4 - obviously I haven't tried this.

Many of the NOOBS disks supplied by vendors are obsolete.

A better (and more capable and flexible) option is PINN

NOTE to use either of these you NEED a screen and keyboard

It is possible to install an (uncompressed) image using dd which is ubiquitous on Linux and Unix based OS (including macOS)

If you have another Pi and a SD adapter you can install Raspberry Pi Imager on the Pi (assuming you have sufficient space for the image).

  • Both of NOOBS and PINN worked on the RPi-B but not on the RPi-4. I also tested my micro sd (used for RPI-4) in an SD adapter in the RPi-B and that didn't seem to work either. It may just be an issue with my SD card? Is there any storage size limits that I possibly missed out on? Commented Jun 17, 2021 at 11:45

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