How do I operate my Raspberry Pi from my laptop?

The  Raspberry Pi only has a composite video output for a computer monitor which most VGA monitors don’t have. You can use the telly in the living room with the Pi, because that’s got an HDMI socket, but that old portable telly you have got in your bedroom has only got a rotten composite video input, and the text on the screen looks all fuzzy.

So what are you going to do?

This tutorial assumes you are a home user with a WiFi network, and you have bought the Raspberry Pi kit with the USB WiFi dongle. (If you have not got this, don’t worry, there’s a way round it, see links at the bottom of the page)

Starting at the very beginning..
Switch on your Raspberry Pi, with a monitor and keyboard attached, and go through the prompts on the screen to install the recommended Raspbian software.

Next you need to run the pi config program. If you are installing Raspbian for the first time you’ll see this once the pi has booted up – alternatively you can access it by opening a terminal window and typing:

sudo raspi-config

This will load up the blue configuration screen.

First task is to change your default Pi password. Choose change user password and enter your new password twice to confirm.

Next enable SSH server — this enables us to talk to your pi using a command line interface from another computer.

Advanced options > SSH > Enable

How to access your Raspberry Pi from OS Elementary Luna on your laptop.

On the Pi, click open a terminal and copy and paste the following line:

sudo apt-get install tightvncserver

once it’s finished, start VNC by copying and pasting:


Enter a password, such as “sausages”

Unlike SSH, tightVNC doesn’t automatically start each time you reboot the Pi.
You should now be able to connect to your OS Elementary’s desktop. Hooray! If you want to connect to Raspberry PI from a Windows machine, you’ll have to install a VNC client for Windows.

On your OS ELementary/Ubuntu compuer

Ubuntu’s Remote Desktop Viewer works fine and can be installed with: –
sudo apt-get install xtightvncviewer

Then enter


This will start the viewer on your OS Elementary Luna computer.
A small box will appear on the top left hand corner of the screen.

Enter the R-Pi’s IP address and Port number e.g.

If you don’t know these values, you can determine them using the “Fing” app on your Android tablet. If you cannot use this method, ifconfig to find out the IP address of your Pi:


This will display some information about how your Pi is connected to the network.

The information you’re looking is a class C IP address which will start 192.168
So look for where it says e.g:

inet addr:

and you’re in business!
You will be asked for a password, enter “sausages” or whatever you chose as your password.

If you are running GNOME, Remote Desktop Viewer is available as an Icon. You can install GNOME on OS ELementary.

Not on a WiFI Network?
“Most home networks use something called DHCP, or Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol, to assign a temporary IP address to the devices on your network — so if you were to switch off your pi and reboot, you may be unable to reconnect using the same IP address”.

This is true, but very often the number does not change. You can use the Fing program to determine this, assuming you are on a WiFi network.