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How to Run Raspberry Pi Desktop on Windows or macOS?

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Raspberry Pi Desktop

Many of the Raspberry Pi users would like to run Desktop on the Raspberry Pi. This article provides you with the steps to use your PC or Mac to run the Raspberry Pi Foundation’s desktop operating system, Debian with the Raspberry Pi Desktop. This OS is very much similar to the Raspbian and both of them are based on Debian, this lets you use your PC or Mac as a kind of substitute for your Raspberry Pi. This makes it pretty useful for testing out the projects when your Pi isn’t handy. You can experience the familiarity with a Raspbian interface with your PC or Mac’s hardware, which is highly powerful than the little Pi.

Raspberry Pi Desktop
Raspberry Pi Desktop

The easiest way to get the Raspberry Pi Desktop up and running is to install the operating system, but that requires you to dedicate the computer to the project. But many of you never like to sacrifice your system, since you want to keep running your Windows or macOS on your computer. So the best option is to run the Raspberry Pi Desktop on a virtual machine, just follow the instructions given below to do this easily.

Related: How to Use the Raspberry Pi as a Network-Wide Ad Blocker?

How to Run Raspberry Pi Desktop on Windows/macOS?

Step 1: The first thing you have to do is to download and install VirtualBox. Because you are going to run Raspberry Pi Desktop on a virtual machine So that you have to download Oracle VM VirtualBox. You can download the software from VirtualBox’s Download page. Just choose the right version for your operating system.

The software can be downloaded from the VirtualBox’s Downloads page. Just choose the version for your operating system. After downloading the executable file, you can install the VirtualBox by following the installation wizard’s instructions.

Step 2: Now download Debian with Raspberry Pi Desktop, Next you have to download the image file of the Raspberry Pi Desktop from the Raspberry Pi Foundation’s site.

Step 3: Now launch the VirtualBox and create a new virtual machine, Now that you have both VirtualBox and Raspberry Pi Desktop downloaded. Now you are ready to launch VirtualBox and create a new virtual machine.

Click “New,” and you will get a screen like this:

Raspberry Pi Desktop
Raspberry Pi Desktop

Now you aren’t going to create a Windows Virtual Machine, hence change the settings. First, choose the descriptive name for your Virtual Machine, then select Linux from the Type drop-down menu and Debian (64-bit) from the Version drop-down menu. After that, click Next.

On the next screen, you can use the recommended memory size of 1024 MB, which corresponds to your Raspberry Pi 3’s memory size.

In the next screen, you are going to add a hard disk to your new virtual machine. Just click create, unless you have to modify the settings. Now click Next on this screen and then click Next.

Finally, you can choose the size of your hard disk. Here we used the recommended size of 8GB, If you want to go with a larger hard disk, you can choose. After doing this click create.

Now you have the settings of your virtual machine in place.

Related: How to Setup Your Raspberry Pi as a VPN Router?

Step 4: Install the Raspberry Pi Desktop. Click Start to initiate the installation of Raspberry Pi Desktop. You will get a screen like this:

Raspberry Pi Desktop
Raspberry Pi Desktop

Now browse to the folder where you saved the image file of your Raspberry Pi Desktop, select the file and click Start. Now you can see a menu titled “Debian GNU/Linux installed boot menu.” You can use the arrow keys – or i – and Enter to select Install.

Now you can see the next screen, Select your preferred keyboard layout and continue by pressing Enter.

Choose Guided – use your entire disk and keep pressing Enter to Select the disk to partition and choose partitioning scheme. Finally, Finish partitioning and write changes to your disk. Just be patient, It will take some time for installing,

Related: How to Set up an FTP Server on the Raspberry Pi?

After some time, the installation wizard prompts you: “Install the GRYB boot loader to the master boot record?” Select Yes, and then choose  /dev/sda. Once the installation wizard has installed everything, you will get a screen like this:

Raspberry Pi Desktop
Raspberry Pi Desktop

Step 5: Now its time to make your virtual machine interactive. Your virtual machine is successfully running Raspberry Desktop now, but the screen size may a bit small, and it won’t get bigger when you click Maximize. You can make your machine more interactive by installing the VirtualBox Guest Additions. Guest Additions makes enables you to resize the screen, use the clipboard, and share files between your PC or Mac and the virtual machine.

To do this, first open Terminal and make sure that your system is up to date:

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get upgrade

You have to type the commands because your virtual machine is not very cooperative, yet.

Now you are ready to install the VirtualBox Guest Additions:

sudo apt-get install linux-headers-$(uname -r) virtualbox-guest-dkms virtualbox-guest-x11

With Guest Extensions installed, click on the Devices menu and select Shared Clipboard > Bidirectional.

If you rebooted your virtual machine now, you can use the same clipboard on both your PC or Mac and the virtual machine. You can even resize the screen. But let’s not reboot, yet. Instead, First add our user to the vboxsf group to enable file sharing between the virtual machine and PC or Mac:

sudo adduser pi vboxsf

Now you are ready to shut down your virtual machine and set up a shared folder. The following is the shutdown command:

shutdown -h now

Related: How to Use Raspberry Pi as a Chromecast Alternative?

Step 6: Now you have to set up a shared folder, To set up a shared folder, right-click on your virtual machine’s name and select Settings, or press Ctrl+S with your virtual machine selected.

You can see the menu that opens, select Shared Folders.

Raspberry Pi Desktop
Raspberry Pi Desktop

Click the button with the green plus sign that adds a new shared folder.

From the Folder Path drop-down many, select Other and then the folder that you would like to share. When you are ready, click OK and check Auto-mount.

Raspberry Pi Desktop
Raspberry Pi Desktop

If you start your virtual machine again and launch the file manager, you can see your shared folder with a prefix “sf_” in the /media directory. Any file you put in that folder will also show up in the corresponding folder in/on your PC or Mac, and vice versa.

That’s all, you now have Raspberry Pi Desktop running on a virtual machine on your PC or Mac, and you can just use the clipboard and manage folders when you are working on your next project.

Thank you for reading this post.

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