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To demonstrate how to load more than one operating system, three different operating systems are loaded to the same SD card.
After the operating systems are installed on the SD card, any one of the operating systems can be booted using a menu that appears on the screen whenever the Raspberry PI is powered up or rebooted.
This tutorial should work on any Raspberry PI board. You can also choose which operating systems you want to install and are not restricted by which ones are installed in this tutorial.
For reference, this is the hardware and software used in this tutorial:
The following operating systems are installed in this tutorial:
The video below shows how to install three operating systems and then how to choose which one to boot into after installation.
Can't see the video? View on YouTube →
When powering up the RPI with multiple operating systems installed, a menu will appear allowing any one of the installed operating systems to be booted.
Either double-click the operating system to boot, or use the up and down arrow keys and the Enter key to boot an operating system.
If no choice of OS is made, the last booted OS will be loaded after a time-out period.
Below is some basic information on the three operating systems installed as shown in the above video.
Raspbian is the "official" Linux distribution for the Raspberry PI and is the most supported distribution. It is based on Debian Linux.
Find more information on the Raspbian website.
RISC OS is a non-Linux operating system. Find more information on the RISC OS Pi page.
Arch Linux is a simple, lightweight Linux distribution that leaves the user to customise the system. Find more information on the Arch Linux ARM website.
After the initial boot into Raspbian, a screen is displayed allowing settings to be changed. Subsequent booting to Raspbian will boot to the command prompt or to the graphical Desktop if settings were changed to do so.
To log in to Raspbian, the default user user name is pi and the default password is raspberry.
To safely shut down the RPI, enter the following from the command prompt:
sudo shutdown -h now
To reboot Raspbian, enter:
sudo shutdown -r now
If in the desktop, there is a desktop icon that can be double-clicked to shut down the raspberry PI, or use the logout button on the right of the bottom task bar to log out to the command prompt.
For more information on starting with Raspbian, see the article on 10 things to do after buying a Raspberry PI.
RISC OS boots straight into the graphical desktop without any user name or password required.
To shut RISC OS down, middle-click the raspberry icon on the bar at the bottom right of the screen(using the mouse scroll button to click). Click Shutdown on the menu that pops up.
The power to the PI can now be switched off, or click the Restart button to reboot the RPI.
Arch Linux boots straight to the command prompt. You will need to log in with the default user name root and default password root.
By logging in as root, you will have privileges to modify any file in the file system, so be careful what you modify as you could corrupt the system by modifying the wrong files.
Arch Linux does not have a graphical desktop installed by default. If a graphical desktop is needed, it must be installed.
To shut down Arch Linux, enter:
shutdown -h now
To reboot Arch Linux, enter:
shutdown -r now