I have not yet gotten my raspberry pi but would like to familiarize myself with the Linux environment and Raspian Operating System. Is there such a thing as a software simulator that can simulate the Raspberry Pi operating systems in Windows?

EDIT This question is different because it focuses on QEMU.

  • How does the other Q&A not address QEMU? – Ghanima May 6 '15 at 19:29


There certainly is. QEMU is a free simulator that can run Raspbian or any other operating system on Windows. It might be helpful to point out that apt-get does not work how it comes. You can run it on a guest computer because it does not need to be installed and you can learn Linux and Raspbian.


  1. When you download, run the .bat file.
  2. Password is "raspberry" of course.
  3. To get to GUI and Desktop enter "startx".
  4. Make sure to shut the simulator down correctly just like on a real Pi.
| improve this answer | |
  • There's nothing wrong with your answer, but keep in mind that Raspbian is just a hardware specific compilation of Debian, a very widespread GNU/Linux distribution that's been around for several decades. For most intents and purposes, if what you want to do is get familiarity with the OS, you can just run Debian via a live CD or x86 install on a PC -- you do not need to deal with the hassles and significant performance hit of using a hardware emulator such as QEMU. – goldilocks May 5 '15 at 1:36
  • One difference w/ stock Debian would be that the default desktop environment is probably GNOME, whereas on Rasbian it is LXDE, but you can install either one on either one (which is a decent beginner exercise if you are trying to learn the ins and outs of the OS). – goldilocks May 5 '15 at 1:37
  • Another more efficient option here, if you want to use a simulator, is to use OS level virtualization instead of hardware virtualization. A major purpose of operating systems is to abstract away hardware differences, so the OS is more or less the same thing regardless of the make and model of computer you use it on. I.e., you do not need to duplicate the hardware in order to run the OS, and OS level simulators such as virtual box do exactly that. This is much faster. – goldilocks May 5 '15 at 1:46

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