I installed two operating systems on my raspberry pi using NOOBS. In my configuration the pi works headless, that means I won't be able to chage the os to start at runtime since I have no monitor and keyboard attached.

How can I change the OS to which the pi boots?

1 Answer 1


For doing so, login to your raspberry py with putty or another SSH client.

Now you have to change one value in the noobs.conf. To be able to access this config file you have to do some stepps:

Make directory to mount

mkdir /tmp/noobs

mount noobs partition

sudo mount  /dev/mmcblk0p3 tmp/noobs

look which os is on which partition

cat /tmp/noobs/installed_os.json

This part is interesting:

"name" : "RISC OS",
"partitions" : [

the mmcblk0p 5 is important

edit the noobs.conf with e.g. nano and change the value default_partition_to_bootto the partition number

sudo nano noobs.conf


Now finally perform a reboot to chage to the other os

sudo reboot

If you want, you can make a shell script which changes the value and performs a reboot. That would make it easier, if you want to do this often.

  • hi, I can't find this noobs.conf anywhere. I did mount all the mmcblk0pX partitions and I am unable to find this file. My NOOB have 4 os installed.
    – ricardo
    Aug 26, 2016 at 15:03
  • 1
    @Ricardo new versions of NOOBS has these config files at mmcblk0p5. See the Noobs partitioning explanation
    – Max Coplan
    Oct 16, 2019 at 19:28

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