Tell you what I did, and what I think went wrong.

What I did:

  1. Setting up Raspberry Pi headless way.

  2. Downloaded Raspbian Lite version

  3. Used etcher to write image to SD card

  4. Added ssh to folder in SD card

  5. Plugged in SD card, Ethernet cable and power cord

  6. Found IP address of Raspberry Pi on router page.

  7. SSH into Pi, logged in with default password

  8. Downloaded RealVNC.

  9. Changed settings in raspi-config boot to desktop with password

  10. Used VNC to Pi, it connected

  11. Asks for me to log in to the Pi, used default username, password

  12. Screen turns black, and then goes back to the username password login page

What I think I did wrong: Is it possible to boot to desktop with the lite version?

  • 1
    You are correct, the lite version of Raspbian (omits the graphical support). Commented Oct 30, 2017 at 22:05
  • So I should download the full version? Commented Oct 30, 2017 at 22:23
  • If you need the GUI that would be the easiest way. Commented Oct 30, 2017 at 22:28
  • Or run sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get install lxde. That will install lxde, the default environment. However, it might not include the Raspberry Pi Foundation's user interface optimizations, so if that's important to you then you should probably just use the full version.
    – anonymoose
    Commented Oct 30, 2017 at 22:40
  • Thank you very much! If anything goes wrong I'll be sure to ask on stack exchange Commented Oct 31, 2017 at 9:44

2 Answers 2


If you want to install raspbian desktop you could simply run

sudo apt-get install raspberrypi-ui-mods

If you want a desktop for personal use, you're better off installing the Raspbian Stretch Desktop instead of using the Raspbian Stretch Lite OS. The Lite image doesn't include a desktop by default, it is a minimal image. This makes it suitable for smaller SD cards and is perfect for Raspberry Pi's that doesn't need to be running a desktop. If you want a desktop interface, install Raspbian Stretch with a desktop if it satisfies you.

  • ...you're better off installing the Raspbian Buster Desktop
    – Ingo
    Commented Aug 27, 2019 at 18:03

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