Dexcat
Posts: 5
Joined: Mon May 25, 2015 1:32 am

Multiboot on NOOBS without Internet? Or with WiFi?

Mon May 25, 2015 2:51 am

First and foremost, sorry if I come across as bitter in this post. This has been an issue I've been grappling with for months.

My only viable Internet connection is WiFi, so the newest releases of NOOBS have caused more problems than they have solved. I got a B+ (Not a Pi 2) a while back, and when it worked I loved it. However, trying to upgrade to the latest OS releases has proven to be extremely difficult.

I'm trying to have a multiboot setup on a 32GB MicroSD card. The problem is that since NOOBS only has Raspbian on it, that's the only thing I can install. I've read a multitude of possible solutions to this, and for one reason or another, none of them have worked. I'll list the reasons why for the sake of thoroughness.

If anyone can tell me any way to create a multiboot setup offline, or through WiFi, I would greatly appreciate it.
Also, my "main" computer I'm using to do this is a dual-boot Windows 7 / Linux Mint 17.1 system.

Connect NOOBS to the Internet through a hardwired connection!
After dragging my entire Pi setup downstairs, moving around some furniture, and navigating a maze of cables, I finally managed to get a hardwired connection to the Internet. I booted up NOOBS and it couldn't reach anything online. No list, no online help, nothing. Even if it did get it to work, I'm not too keen on going through all that every time I want to do something like this.

Just get BerryBoot!
BerryBoot, as it turned out, led to some instability in my OSes. Most significantly it couldn't maintain a WiFi connection; It would last minutes at best, seconds at worst. OSes installed by other means could stay connected just fine.

Look up a guide to manually add the image to NOOBS/manually install the images side-by-side!
I have found very few guides that didn't simply amount to "Get NOOBS" or "Get BerryBoot". The ones that I have found have been difficult to follow, and will often skip steps due to assumed reader knowledge.

fruitoftheloom
Posts: 27225
Joined: Tue Mar 25, 2014 12:40 pm

Re: Multiboot on NOOBS without Internet? Or with WiFi?

Mon May 25, 2015 11:35 am

Why not start with an older version of NOOBS which is compatible with the B+ prior to the changes "" 08-Jul-2014"" ??

http://downloads.raspberrypi.org/NOOBS/archive/
Take what I advise as advice not the utopian holy grail, and it is gratis !!

Dexcat
Posts: 5
Joined: Mon May 25, 2015 1:32 am

Re: Multiboot on NOOBS without Internet? Or with WiFi?

Mon May 25, 2015 5:48 pm

fruitoftheloom wrote:Why not start with an older version of NOOBS which is compatible with the B+ prior to the changes "" 08-Jul-2014"" ??
That was the first thing I tried. Unfortunately, the older images that are on it lack some features that I need, and doing a standard update and upgrade on them didn't help. It's why I'm so desperate to get the latest releases.

beta-tester
Posts: 1554
Joined: Fri Jan 04, 2013 1:57 pm
Location: de_DE

Re: Multiboot on NOOBS without Internet? Or with WiFi?

Mon May 25, 2015 7:00 pm

Dexcat wrote:If anyone can tell me any way to create a multiboot setup offline, or through WiFi, I would greatly appreciate it.
1. prepare yor SD card for NOOBS (or NOOBS lite, if you are not intended to install Raspbian) and copy NOOBS to that SD card as usual.
2. download the additional OS'es you want to have on the NOOBS sd card from http://downloads.raspberrypi.org/
NOOBS lite files are:

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/bootcode.bin
/BUILD-DATA
/INSTRUCTIONS-README.txt
/recovery7.img
/recovery.cmdline
/recovery.elf
/RECOVERY_FILES_DO_NOT_EDIT
/recovery.img
/recovery.rfs
/riscos-boot.bin
/defaults/
/os/
to add arch for example, copy the following files from the web to the sd card

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/os/arch/
/os/arch/os.json
/os/arch/partition_setup.sh
/os/arch/partitions.json
/os/arch/release_notes.txt
/os/arch/boot.tar.xz
/os/arch/root.tar.xz
/os/arch/arch.png
the procedure is always the same...
you have to create a subfolder to /os,
copy all *.sh, *.json, *.tar.xz

3. and copy os_list.json (os_list_v2.json) to /os/
4. and modify the them. delete all entries, you don't need and change the URL to the local filepathes
(there you also can check an see the files you have to download fro web and copy to sd card)

now you have a NOOBS sd card with preloaded OS'es, and you don't need internet to install the OS'es
PS.: maybe steps 3 and 4 are not needed...
i can't remember exactly, i deleted my custom NOOBS installation images recently.
{ I only give negative feedback }
RPi B (256MB), B (512MB), B+, ZeroW; 2B; 3B, 3B+; 4B (4GB)

Dexcat
Posts: 5
Joined: Mon May 25, 2015 1:32 am

Re: Multiboot on NOOBS without Internet? Or with WiFi?

Mon May 25, 2015 8:32 pm

Working on that now, beta. I'll check back in with the results.

Dexcat
Posts: 5
Joined: Mon May 25, 2015 1:32 am

Re: Multiboot on NOOBS without Internet? Or with WiFi?

Mon May 25, 2015 9:16 pm

Okay, here's what I've found.
beta-tester wrote:PS.: maybe steps 3 and 4 are not needed...
i can't remember exactly, i deleted my custom NOOBS installation images recently.
I tried to do it without steps 3 and 4, and there were no changes in the list.
beta-tester wrote:3. and copy os_list.json (os_list_v2.json) to /os/
4. and modify the them. delete all entries, you don't need and change the URL to the local filepathes
(there you also can check an see the files you have to download fro web and copy to sd card)
On a cursory glance it looks like os_list.json isn't supposed to be in /os, but rather is meant to be split up between the directories inside /os. (Don't quote me on that, though.) In the default NOOBS setup, /os/Raspbian has a version simply called os.json that reads like this:

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{
  "name": "Raspbian",
  "version": "wheezy",
  "release_date": "2015-05-05",
  "kernel": "3.18",
  "description": "A community-created port of Debian wheezy, optimised for the Raspberry Pi",
  "url": "http://www.raspbian.org/",
  "username": "pi",
  "password": "raspberry",
  "supported_hex_revisions": "2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,d,e,f,10,11,12,14,19,1040,1041"
}
I first attempted the suggested idea of adding in os_list.json and modifying it accordingly, which didn't produce any change. I then tried again, this time copying the relevant data into a new os.json file in the new subdirectory rather than have os_list.json in the /os directory. This produced a blank entry in the list that didn't work because it lacked partitioning information (partitions.json).

I'm also not sure if I'm correctly changing the source URLs to their proper local equivalents, as I'm not completely sure what kind of files it's expecting to receive.

W. H. Heydt
Posts: 16094
Joined: Fri Mar 09, 2012 7:36 pm
Location: Vallejo, CA (US)

Re: Multiboot on NOOBS without Internet? Or with WiFi?

Mon May 25, 2015 9:55 pm

Here's how to do it...

Cheat.

Get a TP-Link TL-WR702N (costs about $20). Configure it as an AP client for your wireless access. Connect it to your Pi using the RJ-45 (Ethernet) jack. Your Pi will now think you have a *wired* connection. Proceed to install as many OSes as you want.

Dexcat
Posts: 5
Joined: Mon May 25, 2015 1:32 am

Re: Multiboot on NOOBS without Internet? Or with WiFi?

Mon May 25, 2015 10:12 pm

W. H. Heydt wrote:Get a TP-Link TL-WR702N (costs about $20). Configure it as an AP client for your wireless access. Connect it to your Pi using the RJ-45 (Ethernet) jack. Your Pi will now think you have a *wired* connection. Proceed to install as many OSes as you want.
...Okay, while those things do seem pretty neat, I'll only buy stuff as an absolute last resort. I wouldn't really learn much if I just did that :P

But thanks for pointing those out!

W. H. Heydt
Posts: 16094
Joined: Fri Mar 09, 2012 7:36 pm
Location: Vallejo, CA (US)

Re: Multiboot on NOOBS without Internet? Or with WiFi?

Mon May 25, 2015 10:47 pm

Dexcat wrote:
W. H. Heydt wrote:Get a TP-Link TL-WR702N (costs about $20). Configure it as an AP client for your wireless access. Connect it to your Pi using the RJ-45 (Ethernet) jack. Your Pi will now think you have a *wired* connection. Proceed to install as many OSes as you want.
...Okay, while those things do seem pretty neat, I'll only buy stuff as an absolute last resort. I wouldn't really learn much if I just did that :P

But thanks for pointing those out!
Well... The real issue here is that there are a considerable variety of ways to accomplish what you want to do. Some are pure software, and others have covered those methods. Others involve using additional hardware. For instance, if you have another computer you could connect ti wirelessly and share the connection over a wired link. If you have any sort of access point device, you either use it directly (as an AP client, if it can be configured that way), or connect it to the WAN side of router and get wired connections that way. Another alternative would be to take your Pi some place (friends house, relatives house, library, school...) where there is a wired connection, hook it up, and do all the installs, then take it away to use where you only have wireless.

Personally, I wish the download pages had "plug in" files for each OS that could be added to a NOOBS card. I can see why that isn't done though. First it would be a lot of work to maintain, for very little benefit, and second, it kind of defeats the idea behind NOOBS, since anyone who has an actual desire or "need" for a multi-boot Pi has moved out of the newcomer realm.

So, of course, the simplest alternative is to get a small batch of SD cards and put a different OS on each one, then do a shutdown, pull the power and swap cards when you want to swap OS.

beta-tester
Posts: 1554
Joined: Fri Jan 04, 2013 1:57 pm
Location: de_DE

Re: Multiboot on NOOBS without Internet? Or with WiFi?

Tue May 26, 2015 8:08 am

Dexcat wrote:I'm also not sure if I'm correctly changing the source URLs to their proper local equivalents, as I'm not completely sure what kind of files it's expecting to receive.
steps 3 & 4 are wrong - don't do these steps.
NO MODIFICATION AT ANY FILE ARE NEEDED
sorry for that confusing - i am not doing that every day.
but the os_list.json file on the web (http://downloads.raspberrypi.org/os_list.json / http://downloads.raspberrypi.org/os_list_v2.json) shows you precisely what files you have to download for the wanted OS.
ok, i redone a quick test, a custom NOOBS with OpenELEC_Pi1 as additional preloaded OS.

so for me, for OpenELEC_Pi1:
os_list.json shows

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       {
            "description": "OpenELEC is a fast and userfriendly Kodi Entertainment Center distribution.",
            "feature_level": 35120124,
            "icon": "http://downloads.raspberrypi.org/openelec_pi1/OpenELEC_Pi1.png",
            "marketing_info": "http://downloads.raspberrypi.org/openelec_pi1/marketing.tar",
            "nominal_size": 1024,
            "os_info": "http://downloads.raspberrypi.org/openelec_pi1/os.json",
            "os_name": "OpenELEC_Pi1",
            "partition_setup": "http://downloads.raspberrypi.org/openelec_pi1/partition_setup.sh",
            "partitions_info": "http://downloads.raspberrypi.org/openelec_pi1/partitions.json",
            "release_date": "2015-02-09",
            "supported_hex_revisions": "2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,d,e,f,10,11,12,14,19",
            "tarballs": [
                "http://downloads.raspberrypi.org/openelec_pi1/OpenELEC_RPi_System.tar.xz",
                "http://downloads.raspberrypi.org/openelec_pi1/OpenELEC_RPi_Storage.tar.xz"
            ]
        },
this is the important stuff for your needs (the exact URL of the files you need to download):
# the icon: to have the the menu item with an icon

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            "icon": "http://downloads.raspberrypi.org/openelec_pi1/OpenELEC_Pi1.png",
# the os_info: that describes things for the menu entry

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            "os_info": "http://downloads.raspberrypi.org/openelec_pi1/os.json",
# the os_name: is also the folder name (case sensitive?)

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            "os_name": "OpenELEC_Pi1",
# the partitions_info: for NOOBS to know what partition needed and how big they have to be in minimum

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            "partitions_info": "http://downloads.raspberrypi.org/openelec_pi1/partitions.json",
# the tarballs: the first is normally the content of the boot partition, the second is normally the content of the root partition

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            "tarballs": [
                "http://downloads.raspberrypi.org/openelec_pi1/OpenELEC_RPi_System.tar.xz",
                "http://downloads.raspberrypi.org/openelec_pi1/OpenELEC_RPi_Storage.tar.xz"
            ]
# the partition_setup needed after NOOBS partitionized and extracted the OS to the SD to do some post-processing

Code: Select all

            "partition_setup": "http://downloads.raspberrypi.org/openelec_pi1/partition_setup.sh",
and the files structure on the sd card was:

Code: Select all

.
+-- bootcode.bin
+-- BUILD-DATA
+-- recovery7.img
+-- recovery.cmdline
+-- recovery.elf
+-- RECOVERY_FILES_DO_NOT_EDIT
+-- INSTRUCTIONS-README.txt
+-- recovery.img
+-- recovery.rfs
+-- riscos-boot.bin
+-- defaults
|   `-- slides
|       `-- A.png
`-- os
    `-- OpenELEC_Pi1
        +-- OpenELEC_Pi1.png
        +-- OpenELEC_RPi_Storage.tar.xz
        +-- OpenELEC_RPi_System.tar.xz
        +-- os.json
        +-- partition_setup.sh
        +-- partitions.json
        `-- release_notes.txt
i downloaded these files from the web and putted them to the /os/ folder of a NOOBS lite sd card...
nothing else i did, and it worked.

i got an install item in the NOOBS menu,
i could select and install OpenELEC_P1 without internet connection.

PS.: maybe you failed, because of the missing icon, i forgot to mention in my post before... :roll:

PPS.: notice, the more OS you per-load and put to the SD card the more you waste disk-space.
the amount of bytes, your preloaded OS files are, eats the available free disk-space for the installation later on.
not a big deal, if you have a big SD card but maybe painfully, if you have a small one.
{ I only give negative feedback }
RPi B (256MB), B (512MB), B+, ZeroW; 2B; 3B, 3B+; 4B (4GB)

User avatar
procount
Posts: 2737
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Location: UK

Re: Multiboot on NOOBS without Internet? Or with WiFi?

Tue May 26, 2015 9:01 am

@Dexcat - If you have a wifi dongle that is based on the RT5370 chipset, you could always use my modified version of NOOBS that supports wifi (but only for this chipset - thanks to @Jumaka).
It also supports installing an OS from a separate USB stick - so you could download the OS files to a USB stick and then plug it into the Pi and install from there. This way the OS installation files don't take up your valuable SD card space- thanks to @Robbi5.
There are a few other features in it too - have a look at https://github.com/procount/pinn/blob/m ... eatures.md.
Just replace your noob files with those found @ https://github.com/procount/pinn

(usual disclaimers about "beta software" and "use at your own risk" apply, but it works sufficiently for my own needs - hopefully for yours too ;) ).
PINN - NOOBS with the extras... https://www.raspberrypi.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=63&t=142574

beta-tester
Posts: 1554
Joined: Fri Jan 04, 2013 1:57 pm
Location: de_DE

Re: Multiboot on NOOBS without Internet? Or with WiFi?

Tue May 26, 2015 8:15 pm

procount wrote:It also supports installing an OS from a separate USB stick - so you could download the OS files to a USB stick and then plug it into the Pi and install from there. This way the OS installation files don't take up your valuable SD card space- thanks to @Robbi5.
There are a few other features in it too - have a look at https://github.com/procount/pinn/blob/m ... eatures.md.
Just replace your noob files with those found @ https://github.com/procount/pinn
oooh, what a pleasure to read the feature list.
wondering, why NOOBS don't have that features included as well...
the features do not increase the size of the files that much as it could be the reason.
i love the feature of using USB and custom URL and SSH... (is as URL only http allowed, or is TFTP also valid?)
is nano also included? (using vi is a pain to me)

and all files are available as compiled binaries already... nice, i will give it a try soon.
{ I only give negative feedback }
RPi B (256MB), B (512MB), B+, ZeroW; 2B; 3B, 3B+; 4B (4GB)

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procount
Posts: 2737
Joined: Thu Jun 27, 2013 12:32 pm
Location: UK

Re: Multiboot on NOOBS without Internet? Or with WiFi?

Wed Jun 03, 2015 6:04 am

@beta-tester - only http is allowed, no TFTP. And no Nano I'm afraid.
Some of these features may be considered a bit advanced for a newbie, but I find them useful.
I'm working on some other neat features, but they will take a while due to my limited time. Maybe I'll try and add nano too...
Any feedback welcome. you never know - some features might work their way into NOOBS in the long run.
PINN - NOOBS with the extras... https://www.raspberrypi.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=63&t=142574

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