I'm a new user with my first Raspberry Pi 4 (model B), but don't have a separate monitor, keyboard and mouse. I would like to use my laptop (running Windows) to use the Pi.

So far I have:

  • Downloaded the OS (deafault Raspbian, 32-bit) onto a microSD card, loaded it onto the Pi and powered on.
  • Waited till the green light flickers, taking this to mean that the first boot is completed.

After this, I tried connecting the Pi to my laptop via ethernet and WiFi, with the intention to follow these instructions to SSH in and use VNC.

However, I am not seeing any connection to the Pi on my laptop. What do I do? I have checked this question, whose answers call for adding a userconf file in the boot partition of SD, but the instructions were a bit technical for a newbie like me. A simple and idiot-proof set of instructions would be welcome.

  • Does this answer your question? SSH into Raspberry Pi OS Lite not working
    – Dirk
    Commented Jul 19, 2022 at 9:54
  • Hi Dirk. It doesn't, because it involves writing to the boot partition, which seems a bit forbidding to me as a beginner. Besides, it doesn't give stepwise instructions and assumes that one is familiar with the process in general. Commented Jul 19, 2022 at 11:13
  • Boot partition is fat on the sd. If you can make a new file on a thumb drive, you should be able to do this.
    – Abel
    Commented Jul 21, 2022 at 13:03

1 Answer 1


Running the Raspberry Pi 4 headless using a laptop running Windows is fairly straightforward if you know the right steps and a few things to be cautious about.

A list of step-wise instructions follows:

  1. Access the Raspberry Pi Imager for Windows from the official site. Do not select the default 32-bit version, but the 64-bit version if you are using a 64-bit laptop. I was unable to connect with the 32-bit OS on 3 different laptops, two running Win 11 and 1 running Linux (Mint).

  2. In the advanced options (gear icon), do the following: (i) Set host-name to something that you easily remember (I used 'pi'). (ii)Enable password authentication; choose your username and password. (iii) Configure the Wireless LAN, country, Time Zone and the first two 'persistent settings'. (If you don't have your SSID at hand, check network and internet connections through the WiFi icon in the taskbar. Right click the active connection to get details, including SSID). Save this configuration.

  3. Open command prompt (Run>cmd) and give the command ~ipconfig. Store the IP address shown, eg.

  4. Get and install nmap (see). In the nmap window, in 'target', put the IP address(here and replace the last digit with 0/24 - so it now becomes

  5. In the nmap output, search for the open port associated with 'port 22'. This is the IP address to use.

  6. Download PuTTY. Open PuTTY, select 'SSH', ensure the port number is 22. Enter the IP address obtained from Step 7 and press Connect. If the connection times out or is denied, try again. If still timed out/denied, power off/on the Pi.

  7. Once the connection is established, a prompt will appear for login/password - enter these (A warning/confirmation message may appear- click yes/accept).

  8. This step may only be required the first time on a network In the terminal (opened through Putty), type sudo raspi-config Click on System Options > S1 (Wireless LAN) > enter SSID and network (wifi) password.

Details are here.

  1. Now open VNC and connect to the same IP. The Raspbian desktop should appear. (VNC details are at VNC without creating an account

  2. To change the network configuration from here, open the Terminal (top left of screen), and repeat step with sudo raspi-config

  3. You can now use the Pi using laptop keyboard/monitor.

  4. To exit, DON'T shutdown from the menu-directly close the VNC window.* (I am not sure why, but this seems to be faster and I don't need to reconnect each time).

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.