Manufacturers recommend using Raspbian, which can be downloaded from the Raspberry Pi homepage
Like all computers, the Pi requires an operating system – but one isn’t supplied. The Raspberry Pi Foundation recommends an operating system called Raspbian, which is a version of Linux.
Using a normal Windows PC, launch a web browser and visit the Raspberry Pi website to download the operating system. Scroll down to find the section labelled ‘Raspbian “wheezy”‘, then click the link next to the ‘Direct download’ label to download the latest version of Raspbian; the file was called ‘2012-08-16-wheezy-raspbian.zip’ at the time of writing.
Choose Save from the pop-up box. If using Internet Explorer and a bar appears at the top warning that the download has been blocked, click on the bar and choose Download File.
The file is several hundred megabytes (MB) so will probably take a few minutes to download. When done, navigate to the downloaded file, right-click it, choose Extract All, then click the Extract button on the window that appears. This will then create a folder called ‘2012-08-16-wheezy-raspbian’ (or similar) with the operating system inside.
More in the Raspberry Pi series:
Raspberry Pi hardware
Choose a display for the Raspberry Pi
Connecting peripherals to the Raspberry Pi
Connect the Raspberry Pi to a network
Log on to the Raspberry Pi
Build or buy a case
Updating your subscription status