I'd like to "install" a programm on the Pis SD card before I instert it into the Pi and ideally configure it to run after boot.

When I insert the SD card into my PC, all I can see is the boot folder, I don't know where to put my files.

Basically, what I want to do is prepare a SD card with Raspbian and my own program configured to start on boot before it has ever been in the Pi.

Is this possible? If so, how?


1 Answer 1


It is possible to easily change Raspbian by modifying the boot sector (e.g. including ssh etc).

To perform more complex actions (such as adding programs) is possible, but requires a Linux computer and involves quite a few steps.

It is questionable whether this is worthwhile for a one-off installation, but is effective to make a custom image for use by others.

The excellent tutorial explains one method in detail.

NOTE This does NOT allow the installation of software (but you can modify configuration files etc.) - the techniques to allow this effectively require building a new image.

  • Thank you :) Well yes, I was hoping I could simply put a SD card with my own program installed into the Raspberry Pi and boot it up. Since I don't have another linux around and installing a VM just do to this would be overkill I will just install it traditionally (boot up, copy files, etc...). But thanks a lot for your answer :)
    – Stefan
    Commented Mar 22, 2019 at 7:28
  • The link is dead.
    – jake
    Commented Mar 22, 2019 at 15:18

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