How can I get back to NOOBS? My Pi boots straight into the SCRATCH animator and I can't get anything else. Note I tried holding down the shift key when booting but it still went straight to SCRATCH, bypassing NOOBS.

6 Answers 6



sudo raspi-config

in terminal and select item 3 to change boot item

  • 3
    You know, you solved the poster's problem, but you didn't technically answer the question. Why doesn't holding shift work to get to NOOBS recovery console?
    – Fambida
    Dec 2, 2014 at 5:49
  • I think this gives the user the option of selecting Desktop GUI and from their the option to use the Shift key becomes active again, but I could be wrong. Sep 24, 2016 at 3:17
  • But what if I wanted to get into NOOBS? Either holding or rapidly tapping shift does nothing
    – Max Coplan
    Oct 15, 2019 at 21:21

If you get stuck booting to scratch

  • press Ctrl+Alt+F2 to get out of scratch and back to the boot window.
  • Then press Ctrl+c to interrupt the process.
  • Then press Ctrl+c again to cancel the shutdown of the system.

From there, type raspi-config and go to the second option and change the password for the 'pi' user. Now go to the third option and start with login required and use the 'pi' user and your new password to log in.

Once you log in to the terminal, run the raspi-config command again and you can now change it to Enable a lot to Desktop Log in as 'pi' at the graphical desktop.

Boom! No need for another computer...


You have to repeatedly tap Shift rather than holding it down. From Shift on Reboot does not lead to Noobs Menu this post states:

It depends on the particular keyboard, but sometimes holding down Shift doesn't work, and repeatedly tapping Shift works instead.

  • I've tried rapidly tapping and holding shift, and neither work
    – Max Coplan
    Oct 15, 2019 at 21:21
  • 1
    The accepted answer did not work for me. Tapping the left shift key twice per second worked the first time I tried it.
    – Chuck H
    Feb 22, 2020 at 21:26

You can do it by mounting the NOOBS partition, usually is the first partition in disk, and adding the following entries, in this partition, at the begining of the first line of recovery.cmdline file runinstaller and at the end vncinstall.

  • runinstaller is for booting into NOOBS installer.
  • vncinstall is for enabling vnc on NOOBS.

runinstaller quiet ramdisk_size=32768 root=/dev/ram0 init=/init vt.cur_default=1 elevator=deadline sdhci.debug_quirks2=4 vncinstall

You can add an empty ssh file too(in the NOOBS partition), to enable SSH after installing the OS you want. Now just reboot and you should be able to use VncViewer to connect to your Raspberry Pi in a local network.

To conect to your Raspberry Pi you need to have at least an Ethernet conection to it, you can check its new IP Address using the following command:

nmap -sP <Network Address>/<Network Mask>

The output will contain some network device called recovery(must be your Raspberry Pi) and you can use its address to connect to it.


If the Raspberry Pi OS is corrupted and you are stuck somewhere in between of the booting phase then Press "Shift" key when you see the Raspberry logo in the beginning of the boot process to go back to NOOBS screen to install the new OS or fix the configurations.

  • 1
    Did you read the OP note about holding down the shift key not working? Jul 21, 2017 at 0:14

For me, tapping Shift key at the boot OS selection menu allowed me to configure which OS for NOOBS to install (re-install in my case). I also had the ability to set up WiFi at that point without having to plug in an ethernet cable.

  • That answer has already been given.
    – Chenmunka
    Apr 17, 2021 at 20:35

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