Raspberry Pi 400 just arrived, very excited! I can connect it to my laptop via direct Ethernet and ping it.

Unfortunately, the monitor won't be here for a while... and I'm eager to get going. All I need to do is enable SSH, and I can take it from there.

Since I have a keyboard, I'm hopeful I can type in the commands needed to enable SSH. I won't see what I'm typing, but as long as I type it correctly, I can then SSH and take it from there.

On a fresh, new Raspberry Pi 400, with keyboard but no screen, what is the sequence of keystrokes needed to enable ssh?


I do not have an SD card reader either; I am using the default SD card that ships with the RPi 400.

  • No need for blind typing... See the 'Note' in the official Pi documentation at raspberrypi.com/documentation/computers/…
    – Dirk
    Commented Oct 10, 2021 at 15:03
  • enable ssh when you first write an sd card. as easy as making a file... after that look at enabling vnc and hf without a monitor. stackoverflow.com/a/46322448/14237276 probably also other answers
    – Abel
    Commented Oct 10, 2021 at 16:39
  • @Abel See edit that I don't have an SD card reader. Commented Oct 10, 2021 at 17:38
  • ctrl+alt+ (one of the F keys) F1? will drop you into a terminal login session from the desktop login. from there punch in the default credentials and you can try to blindly raspi-config.... might be able to touch \boot\ssh too
    – Abel
    Commented Oct 10, 2021 at 19:14

3 Answers 3


do you have a USB thumb drive?

  • flash raspberry pi lite version on USB thumb drive
  • create empty ssh file in first partition
  • remove SD card from Pi400
  • insert USB drive
  • boot
  • ssh into pi400
  • insert SD card

Now do the following

sudo mount /dev/mmcblk0p1 /mnt
sudo touch /mnt/ssh
sudo umount /mnt
sudo poweroff
  • remove USB drive from pi400
  • power up
  • now SSH will work

The above assumes the Pi400s now come with the ability to boot from USB - one would hope so since that's been possible for over a year now


If you are like OP and don't have an SD card reader and want to enable SSH because you don't (yet) have a video display:

Do the following:

  1. Insert the MicroSD card with Raspian OS in the card slot
  2. Boot RPi (wait 2 minutes for the OS to boot up)
  3. Type ctrl + alt + F1 to get a TTY console. (The console is already logged in at this point.)
  4. Type sudo touch /boot/ssh Enter which should create a file indicating that you want SSH running at startup
  5. Type reboot Enter and your RPi should reboot with SSH enabled

You should now be able to SSH into your Pi400 with default credentials (pi / raspberry)

If you DO have an SD card reader:

  1. Take the MicroSD card that has Raspbian OS on it and put it in a MicroSD card reader and put it in any computer. Heck, you could probably put the MicroSD card in the MicroSD card port of a tablet or an Android phone and do these next steps from within your phone.
  2. Navigate to the boot partition of the MicroSD card and create a file called ssh (no extension, empty file.)
  3. Put the MicroSD card back in your Pi and boot. SSH service should be enabled.

Source: https://www.raspberrypi.com/documentation/computers/remote-access.html#enabling-the-server

  • 1
    did you even read the whole question? the big bold bit at the end
    – Bravo
    Commented Oct 11, 2021 at 2:05
  • This doesn't answer the question. It ignores the OP's requirements.
    – Chenmunka
    Commented Oct 11, 2021 at 15:14
  • OP changed his requirements mid stream. So I added a step-by-step of blindly typing in the creds and adding the /boot/ssh file. It covers most people's use cases and OPs weird case of not having an SD card reader.
    – Pretzel
    Commented Oct 11, 2021 at 23:32

You seem to have ruled out all the usual Answers.

If you want to try a blind copy I suggest the following should work, although on first boot you usually need to complete configuration.

This assumes the SD Card has Raspberry Pi OS, not NOOBS.

sudo touch /boot/ssh

If you then reboot the Pi ssh should be enabled.

A few warnings; the first thing you should do is change password.

NOTE a direct connection to laptop Ethernet gives limited access (it is unusual to even have an Ethernet port). You will be unable to update or install new software.
You would be better to connect to your router Ethernet port. This is the way Pi are designed to work.

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