I got a pi3 with an SD card+adapter pre-installed with NOOBS. I'm wondering if there is some way to get this running headless through my laptop, on which I have Ubuntu 15.04 installed.

I'm totally new to this so please make all steps as explicit as you can.

3 Answers 3


NOOBS is designed to be a "simple" installer, and requires a keyboard and screen. (It is possible to bypass this, but the steps involved are highly complex.)

ssh is disabled by default. It is possible to make it work in Raspbian by including a file ssh on the boot partition, but AFAIK this can't be done with NOOBS.

The only viable alternative is to use a serial console.


You can use ssh to connect to the Pi. I believe this works with noobs and I guarantee it works with Raspbian.

Plug the Pi into your modem via an ethernet cable and connect your laptop to the modem also.

Open a terminal on the Ubuntu machine and type ssh pi@ipaddress where ipaddress is the address of the Pi(You can find it in the connected device section on your modem).

Then, enter pi and raspberry and you are connected.

  • This didn't work. Might it be possible to use the laptop as the monitor by connecting the pi to laptop with an hdmi cable, and using a usb keyboard?
    – MattF
    Feb 14, 2017 at 20:31
  • @MattF No because the HDMI on your laptop is only output. By "it didn't work" what do you mean? Were you able to find the IP address of your Pi?
    – NULL
    Feb 14, 2017 at 21:38
  • Yes, I was able to find the ip address of the pi after I plugged the pi into my wireless router and plugged my laptop into the wireless router. However, I received this error: matt:~$ ssh pi@<pi_ip> ssh: connect to host <pi_ip> port 22: Connection refused
    – MattF
    Feb 16, 2017 at 0:18

As Millways pointed out, you can put a file called "ssh" in the boot partition, and the Pi will enable SSH on boot.

Since you're running Ubuntu, you could probably connect the SD card to your laptop with the SD card adapter and create the file from there.

I'm not very familiar with Ubuntu, but you should be able to open the file manager, look for the device (it'll show up as a USB drive) labelled "boot," and create a file called "ssh" (with no file extension!).

(Note to readers: This won't work on Windows.)

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