If I made an install of Raspbian with all the stuff I want setup on a virtual machine, could I then image it and use it to run on a raspberry pi system? I am asking because I want to test stuff out on my laptop and then just plug it in my pi when I get it all figured out.

  • which virtual machine would you be using? ... which version of RPi do you have? .... is it supported by the virtual machine?
    – jsotola
    May 18, 2018 at 0:26
  • What is your laptop’s operating system (Windows, Linux, macOS)? I will post an answer according to your operating system.
    – user81004
    May 18, 2018 at 5:29
  • Windows 7, don't know what VM software, was going to figure that out if it was possible.
    – Michael H.
    May 18, 2018 at 13:24

1 Answer 1


I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but you can't do what you propose (at least not in a practical way). Reason is that Raspbian is compiled to run on an ARM processor, and AFAIK, there are no laptops with ARM processors that also run an OS with support for VMs. In other words, a true Raspbian VM will only run on an ARM processor, and therefore won't run on your laptop.

There are Raspbian VMs to be sure, and you can download and run them on your laptop. But they've been compiled for execution on an Intel processor. Consequently, they could not be plugged in to your RPi.

  • 1
    Actually, you can, with the magic of QEMU, but it’s painfully slow from my experience.
    – user81004
    May 18, 2018 at 5:21
  • I tried QEMU, but had absolutely no luck with it. Have you actually gotten something working with it? If you know how to do this, please post an answer as we'll all learn something.
    – Seamus
    May 18, 2018 at 15:08
  • I followed a guide on the internet, and it worked quite well, except if I remember correctly, the VM had only 512/256 MBs of RAM, and it can’t boot with more RAM, I tried. I am busy right now, I am trying to install Windows on ARM on my Raspberry Pi 3. I will post an answer when I am done.
    – user81004
    May 18, 2018 at 15:09

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