Orange Pi Zero Windows Quick Start Tutorial

Get up and running fast with the Orange Pi Zero single-board computer in this Orange Pi Zero Windows quick start tutorial. Use Windows 10 to set up a micro-SD card with a Linux operating system to run on an Orange Pi Zero. Communicate with with the Orange PI headless via an Ethernet connection from a Windows computer.

Orange Pi Zero Windows Quick Start Tutorial
Orange Pi Zero Windows Quick Start Tutorial

In the above image it can be seen that the Orange Pi Zero is powered from a micro-USB connector at the right of the board. An Ethernet cable on the left connects to the network and allows access to the board from a Windows computer.

This tutorial shows the minimum that must be done to get the Orange Pi Zero up and running. You will know that your board is working if you can successfully complete the tutorial.

Orange Pi Zero Tutorial Hardware

The following hardware is needed for this tutorial:

  • Orange Pi Zero board (website at orangepi.org)
  • Micro-SD card, 4 GB or larger capacity
  • 5V power supply with micro-USB micro-B type connector and 1.5A to 2A capacity
  • Ethernet cable, RJ45
  • Internet router
  • Windows computer
  • SD card reader, if your computer does not have a built-in card reader

If you don’t have a card reader with a micro-SD card reader, then you will need a micro-SD card to standard SD card adapter. Most micro-SD cards are sold with an adapter in the package.

Orange Pi Zero Windows Quick Start Overview

This tutorial covers the following in the tutorial steps that follow:

  • Download a disk image program for Windows (Win32DiskImager)
  • Download the Ubuntu server disk image for the Orange Pi Zero (Ubuntu_server_dolphin-p2.img)
  • Use the disk image program to write the Ubuntu image to SD card
  • Insert micro-SD card into Orange Pi Zero
  • Connect the Orange Pi Zero to the network and to the power supply
  • Log in to the Orange Pi Zero over SSH using the PuTTY program running on Windows
  • Resize the SD-card partition to use all of the disk space
  • Update the operating system software

Orange Pi Zero Quick Start Tutorial Steps

Before starting with the tutorial, download and install 7-zip which is used to uncompress the Ubuntu Linux disc image.

1. Download Win32DiskImager

Download Win32DiskImager. Either download the the zip file Win32DiskImager-1.0.0-binary.zip if you don’t want to install the program. Just unzip it and run it from the folder. (With 7-Zip installed, right-click Win32DiskImager-1.0.0-binary.zip and then select Extract to “Win32DiskImager-1.0.0-binary\” from the menu that pops up to extract it to a folder of that name.)

Or download the installer win32diskimager-1.0.0-install.exe if you are happy to install the program on your computer.

2. Download Ubuntu Server Disk Image

Either go straight to the Ubuntu Server for Orange Pi Zero link, or go to the Orange Pi resource page and find the Orange Pi Zero to see all downloads.

Download the ubuntu_server_dolphin-p2.img.xz compressed disk image from the above link. On the resource page the link to the above file is called ubuntu server. Make sure you scroll all the way down to Orange Pi Zero.

3. Uncompress the Disk Image

If you installed 7-zip as suggested at the start of these tutorial steps, then you can right-click on the downloaded compressed Ubuntu server image and select 7-Zip → Open archive from the menu that pops up.

You will see Ubuntu_server_dolphin-p2.img in the 7-Zip window. Drag this file from 7-Zip and drop it into the desired folder, or onto the Windows desktop.

Extract Ubuntu Disk Image
Extract Ubuntu Disk Image

4. Write the Ubuntu Disk Image to SD Card

Insert the micro-SD card into the card reader, or in the SD card adapter and then into the card slot in the PC if present.

Start the Win32DiskImager program. If you extracted the program from the zipped file to a folder, simply open the folder and double-click Win32DiskImager to start the program.

Win32 Disk Imager
Win32 Disk Imager

In the Win32 Disk Imager window, make sure that the correct drive is selected in the Device list. This drive must be the SD card that was just inserted.

Use the small folder icon next to the Image File box to open a file dialog box. Use the dialog box to navigate to the uncompressed Ubuntu image file. Click the Write button to write the image to the SD card.

Write the Disk Image to the SD Card
Write the Disk Image to the SD Card

In the confirmation dialog box that pops up, click Yes to continue.

When the disk imager program has finished writing to the SD card, click the OK button in the Complete dialog box and then exit the program. Windows may pop up a dialog box asking you to format the disk, just click Cancel. Finally eject the SD card.

5. Download PuTTY

Download PuTTY and install by double-clicking putty-64bit-0.70-installer.msi. Just do a standard install by clicking Next in each of the Setup Wizard windows.

6. Boot the Orange Pi Zero

Insert the micro-SD card into the card socket of the Orange Pi Zero. Connect an Ethernet cable to your Internet router. Power up the board by plugging the 5V power supply into the micro-USB power connector.

7. Find the IP Address of the Orange PI

For this step, log in to your Internet router. Refer to your router manual or search on the Internet for logging in instructions. There are many makes and models of routers, so each will be slightly different.

The basic principle is to find the IP address of your router and type it into the address bar of a web browser. This should take you to a login page for the router. Find the default user name and password from the router manual. Log in and find the list of connected devices. You should find OrangePI in the list and see its IP address.

As an example, for a router found at 192.168.1.1 – surf to this address in a web browser, which brings up the login screen. After logging in, the list of connected devices can then be found by navigating to DHCP Server and Clients List using the menu as shown in the image below. Remember that the details of your particular router will probably be slightly different from this example.

Finding the Orange Pi IP Address
Finding the Orange Pi IP Address

In this example, the IP address of the Orange Pi is 192.168.1.103. Take note of the address of your Orange PI, it is needed in the next step.

8. Log in to the Orange Pi using PuTTY

Start PuTTY and enter the IP address found in the previous step as shown below. Click the Open button to connect to the Orange Pi.

Connecting to the Orange Pi with PuTTY
Connecting to the Orange Pi with PuTTY

When the security alert dialog box pops up, click Yes to continue. At the login prompt, enter orangepi for the user name and hit the Enter key. Enter orangepi again for the password. If all goes well, you will arrive at a Linux command prompt.

Orange Pi Ubuntu Prompt
Orange Pi Ubuntu Prompt

9. Resize the SD Card Partition

After logging in for the first time, a warning message will appear that has to do with resizing the file system. Enter the following command to resize the file system to use the entire SD card.

Enter orangepi for the password when prompted. Type y to start the resizing. Now reboot the system by entering:

When the system reboots, PuTTY will pop up an error message to show that the connection was closed. Click the OK button. Restart PuTTY and log in again as before. If you can’t get it to connect, wait a few minutes to allow the Orange Pi to finish rebooting. Usually a “connection refused” message appears if the system has not finished booting.

10. Update Ubuntu

Finally update Ubuntu by entering the following commands. You will need to enter your password after entering the first command.

Hit Enter when prompted to continue with the software update.

Shutting Down

When finished using the Orange Pi, it is best to shut Ubuntu down by entering the following command.

This will safely shut Ubuntu down. The power supply can then be removed from the board.

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