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I am a complete beginner, an have been having some issues with a Pi 2B. I was helping my school librarian set up a message display. I got a Pi, downloaded the OS, and used Etcher to put it on a USB drive. The Pi turns on (I can see the light over PWR), but no output is detected by the monitor? Did I do anything wrong? I am generally technologically literate.

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You said "and used Etcher to put it on a USB drive". Did you mean SD card? Raspbian needs to be on a (micro) SD card, not a USB stick. See the official setup guide for more info: https://projects.raspberrypi.org/en/projects/raspberry-pi-setting-up

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