Hey guys I hope that this question has been asked so many times.Live in India & I am new to Raspberry Pi hack. All I have is an old laptop of mine, HP DV6700 to be precise. It doesn't have an HDMI port (It has a VGA port, some long hdmi like port & a S-video port) & I don have a TV which has an HDMI port. I want to connect my Rpi to my laptop to use it. What are the things that I should buy? Thank you.

  • Your TV also does not have a external input using Cinch aka RCA connector that you can use as monitor?
    – ikku
    Commented Dec 2, 2012 at 15:39
  • Lets say I don have a Tv. Its very old and barely runs the cable. I want to use it for my laptop. Thank you @ikku.
    – thanmai
    Commented Dec 2, 2012 at 16:31
  • 3
    Connect with ethernet. Then you can access the pi using ssh on the laptop. Setting up and running the pi without a screen, "headless", may be a bit harder than with a screen, but it is definitely possible.
    – Frepa
    Commented Dec 2, 2012 at 17:44
  • 5
    In that case it depends on what you want: 1. command line control, or 2. full graphics X. Those connectors you describe are useless for the Raspberry Pi, they are all output. So if you want option 1, you have 2 choices 1a: serial or 1b: ethernet, if you want X you don't need to buy anything just configure the RPi and the laptop.
    – ikku
    Commented Dec 2, 2012 at 18:33
  • Thanks for commenting ikku & Frepa. I need a full graphics X type of output.
    – thanmai
    Commented Dec 4, 2012 at 9:09

5 Answers 5


This is not possible to connect your laptop as a screen. It has video out ports (whatever it is hdmi, VGA or so). You need to have some video input ports (as most of TVs has).

The only way is to use SSH as mentioned in some of the comments.

  • Okay i was going through few of the sites, and found that there is a cable which has VGA at one end & HDMI on the other. Can i use that to connect to my laptop & get video o/p. Also can i control it through my keyboard at the same time? Thanks for helping
    – thanmai
    Commented Dec 4, 2012 at 9:08
  • 3
    @thanmai: No, you can't. As codewarrior said, your VGA and S-video port are outputs. Your laptop needs a video input port to display the video emitted by the RPi's HDMI output. The cable your described can be useful if you want to display your laptop screen on a TV for instance. You can also get an external video capture card connected to a USB or the PCMCIA port. To control your RPi with your laptop keyboard, you will need SSH. Commented Dec 4, 2012 at 10:06
  • @Morgan +1 for the detailed explanation... Commented Dec 4, 2012 at 10:42

You could use VNC on your RPi and on your laptop to have a remote access visually. Just search the internet for a good VNC client, I personally use TightVNC.

Also if you'd prefer to use the Remote Desktop Protocol (this could be useful if your working at a company that blocks VNC's ports, most companies at least allow outgoing RDP connections) then use XRDP on the RPi and just normal Remote Desktop on your windows machine.

  1. An ethernet cable. Apparently, the Pi has a built-in feature called auto-MDIX that allows you to directly connect it to your laptop with an ethernet cable, no router/hub/switch/modem required.
  2. A mini-usb cable. Of course, chances are that if you have a Pi and are planning to use it, you will have this already, but I am including it just for completeness' sake.
  3. A power source. The Raspberry Pi Foundation does not recommend using your laptop (or desktop, for that matter) as a power source (500-700 mA is a lot to source from a USB port intended for data), so it would probably be best to use a dedicated power supply. When shopping, look for a USB power supply that sources at least 700 mA for the model B and 500 mA for the model A at 5V.

Finally, this link gives you everything that you need to know to start getting the Pi's GUI running on your laptop using VNC (Linux and OS X only, if you don't have Linux then grab Ubuntu and install it on your laptop).


As others wrote, ssh is probably the simplest you can do. If you run an X server on your laptop, you get graphics, too. But it will not be accelerated by the graphics hardware of the PI, I think. The hardware you'll need to buy are: 2 Ethernet cables and a switch, or one cross-over Ethernet cable. Maybe one normal Ethernet cable works, too. If you've got a router for internet access, maybe you can use that instead of the switch (if it has a builtin switch and multiple ethernet ports).

  • Thank you @sebastian. I have a wireless modem & 4 ethernet ports. Should i connect my laptop to modem via ethernet or connect to my modem via ethernet?
    – thanmai
    Commented Dec 5, 2012 at 4:22
  • 1
    @thanmai: connect the pi to the wireless modem with an ethernet cable. Then connect the laptop to the modem either by ethernet or by wireless, either should work. If your TV has a composite (RCA) input, this could be useful while testing, for example to see that the Pi gets an IP address while booting.
    – Frepa
    Commented Dec 5, 2012 at 14:21
  • 2
    You don't need a crossover cable with the raspberry pi (or most other recent (last 10 years) devices since it implements Auto-MDIX (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Auto-MDIX#Auto-MDIX)
    – Kibbee
    Commented Dec 6, 2012 at 2:33

Well since the question is "What to buy?" here's one answer: Get a TV card (or a dedicated video capture card, but TV cards are more common) for the laptop with S-Video input. Such cards exist in USB, PCMCIA and ExpressCard formats and will allow the laptop to capture input from S-Video and display it on its screen. The main (and possibly only) advantage of this method compared to methods shown in other answers is that other devices with S-Video output could use laptop's screen too.

  • Ok will try that AndrejaKo. I will do one more thing i will post a picture of the slots that i have in my laptop so that it would be easier for you to visualize, I am new to all these connecting & Rpi. Thank you everyone.
    – thanmai
    Commented Dec 10, 2012 at 11:02

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