4 May 2022

Install AdGuard-Home on RaspberryPi

I’ve used Pi-Hole for longer than I can remember, so it’s time to test drive another solution, AdGuard Home, to see how it compares on my network.

To start, as the title suggests you’ll need a RaspberryPi. While not required, I recommend starting with a new fresh image of the RaspbianOS on it. The next thing you’ll want to do, which I won’t cover in this article, is set up your RaspberryPi with a static IP address and then enable SSH on it so that you can connect to it.

Install AdGuard Home

Before you get started make sure to update your RaspberryPi using these two commands. After that you will be ready to get started.

sudo apt-get -y update
sudo apt-get -y upgrade 

The easiest way to begin the installation of AdGuard Home and get it ready to go is to copy and paste the command below and then run it. It will take care of everything; downloading the proper version for your RaspberryPi, installing it, starting it as a service on boot.

curl -s -S -L https://raw.githubusercontent.com/AdguardTeam/AdGuardHome/master/scripts/install.sh | sh -s -- -v

After a few minutes, the installation completes and you are ready to proceed. Towards the bottom of the output from the install, there are a few lines that tell us what IP the RPi is listening on, on port 3000. Open your browser and go to the third entry which should be the same as the static IP address you applied to your RaspberryPi before we got started. Referencing the example in my image above, I would be going to: You should be greeted by a five-step getting started wizard.

Using my RaspberryPi 3, I prefer to only use my wired ethernet connection. I usually go into the OS and disable the WiFi. So on this page, I will select my ‘eth0’ interface as the one that I want to listen to for DNS calls on.

Create your username and a password.

Time to set up your devices to point their DNS to your “new” AdGuard Home.
At this point, this is when you should be repointing the DNS in your router to now be pointing at your RaspberryPi’s IP address. This will make all of the devices on your network that is pulling a DHCP address from your router start to use AdGuard Home.

Note: This is also when I like to go back into my RaspberryPi’s NIC to statically repoint it’s DNS setting to its own IP address since it is now able to resolve DNS.

The last step is to open the dashboard and login.


The dashboard is what you see as soon as you log into your AdGuard Home. It is where you get to see at a single glance the summary of all of the statistics it has collected. From the number of allowed and blocked DNS queries, to what the top queried and blocked domains are, you can even see which clients are being the “chattiest” and making the most DNS requests. Being the summary page, you can use it as the launchpad to click around and dive deeper into what the devices on your network are doing and who they are talking to.

The only other thing really worth mentioning on the dashboard is the “Disable Protection” button that is near the top of the page next to the ‘Dashboard’ title. If you ever need to troubleshoot an issue with one of the devices on your network, this is how you can easily disable all of the DNS blocking/filters that AdGuard Home is doing so that you can [hopefully] rule it out as the culprit.


Under ‘General Settings’ I like to enable the longest log and statistic retention. Being that this is for a home network, I’m not too concerned about anonymizing the client IP info.

Under the ‘DNS Settings’ I like to set my upstream DNS servers. I personally use Cisco’s OpenDNS. Here is a link to known DNS providers that you could choose from if you don’t want to use Cisco. I also have it run the requests in parallel for faster results. However, I tend to leave almost everything else set to its default values.

Examples you can set as your Upstream DNS Servers:

  • regular DNS (over UDP) –
  • regular DNS (over TCP) –
    • tcp://
  • encrypted DNS-over-TLS
    • tls://dns-unfiltered.adguard.com
  • encrypted DNS-over-HTTPS
    • https://dns-unfiltered.adguard.com/dns-query
  • encrypted DNS-over-QUIC (experimental) –
    • quic://dns-unfiltered.adguard.com:784
  • DNS Stamps for DNSCrypt or DNS-over-HTTPS resolvers –
    • sdns://...
  • an upstream for specific domains
    • [/example.local/]
  • a comment –
    • #comment

One of the final ‘DNS Settings’ I like to apply is at the very bottom of the page. I want to limit the use of my DNS to only machines that are on my home network. To do this, under “Allowed clients” I’m adding the CIDR notation for my home network.

I’m adding “” so that it will apply to every address from thru However, while not wrong, this is probably going to be overkill for most home networks that only use a single subnet.

So depending on your home network’s IP address space, you could probably choose to just use a /24 – so it would look more like In this example, it would allow all the addresses from thru Again, match up that address space (ie the third octet) to what is in use on your network if you use the /24. If your home network uses a different


Filters are an easy way to quickly block or allow, many different popular sites and services. For example, if you had a hatred for social media, by flipping a toggle in this menu, you could completely cut off and block all services from Facebook on your network.

Note this is not blocking applications, aka Layer 7, it is simply blocking a list of know domains that are owned and/or used by the specific service or website.

The ‘Filters’ is also where you can add/remove DNS blocklists. AdGuard Home comes with quite a few pre-defined lists that you can choose to enable if desired. To get there, click on ‘Filters’, then ‘DNS blocklists’, then click on the ‘Add blocklist’ at the bottom of the page.

Next, you will click ‘Choose from the list’ to start adding the pre-defined blocklists. Alternatively, if you had a custom list you wanted to add, you could do so right here using the ‘Add a custom list’ button.

Here is where the magic happens. This is where you can select any or all of the pre-defined block lists. When you are done, click the save button.

Query Log

This page is a comprehensive log of everything that AdGuard is doing. You can see what client on your network is making what DNS query. You can filter to see what DNS queries are getting processed or blocked. It is also here that you can see what external resolver answered a particular DNS query. It’s not as snazzy or flashy as the graphs and top charts on the dashboard, but if you are trying to look for the dirty details of whats going on, then your answer is definitely going to be here in this query log.

AdGuard Home service – Start/Stop/Restart/Status

To control the AdGuard Home service and manage it from the command line of your RaspberryPi you can use the following commands.

sudo /opt/AdGuardHome/AdGuardHome -s status
sudo /opt/AdGuardHome/AdGuardHome -s start
sudo /opt/AdGuardHome/AdGuardHome -s stop
sudo /opt/AdGuardHome/AdGuardHome -s restart

Likewise, if you need to you could also uninstall or re-install the AGH service.

sudo /opt/AdGuardHome/AdGuardHome -s uninstall
sudo /opt/AdGuardHome/AdGuardHome -s install

Test if AdGuard Home is working

So your devices should be pointing to AdGuard Home. To test if the ad-blocking is working you have a couple of options.

On your Windows machine open a command prompt, then type this command.

nslookup doubleclick.net

If AdGuard Home is working, it should return “” as the answer. Meaning that it can not lookup the IP address of the domain “doubleclick.net”.

The other way that you can test your new ad-blocking abilities is by going to a URL and checking how well it blocks ads. A quick google search returned this site as one option to test ad-blocking: https://adblock-tester.com/ I’m sure you can find others…

What is AdGuard Home missing

  • No Layer 7 Application filtering capabilities

AdGuard does not have any packet inspection capability. Because it can not inspect packets it can not actually block or filter based on content or applications. AdGuard relies completely on DNS and the reputation of the actual domain/URL that is being called. Instead of blocking the content itself, it blocks the IP address lookup for the domain being requested. If you need to block/filter content you will need to look into some sort of Next-Gen Firewall as a solution.

  • Blocking all Ads

AdGuard and Pi-Hole both suffer from the inability to block ALL ads. This is because sometimes the advertisements, and the content you are actually wanting, come from the same domain. Because they are coming from the same place we are unable to block the actual domain name.

Some examples of a few sites that serve ads and content from the same domain name include:

  • YouTube
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Instagram.
27 March 2022

Monitor Desk Mount

After getting a new desk you need to get some hardware to finish dialing it in how you want. For me, after getting a new desk at home, one of those things that I needed was a way to mount my monitor. I spent more hours reading through product reviews than I’d like to admit, but the end result was something I’m happy with.

So heading into my search I had a few things in mind. First, I’m not against purchasing expensive items if their value is worth it. That said, I did not want to go spending a few hundred dollars on a new mount. I felt like there were so many Chinese knockoffs on the Amazon alone that I could surely find a good deal on something of middle-of-the-road quality. Ideally, I wanted to spend under $100 on it. The second thing I really wanted was a mount that would fit dual monitors The plan was to search for a dual monitor stand so I could have two screens running. The third thing I was looking for was for it to be a clamp-on style mount. Having a child in my house I wanted something that would be secured to the desk. Something that I wouldn’t have to worry about being top-heavy and toppling over if the little one was screwing around and “bumped” the desk too hard.

So now that I laid out my wants, how did I do, and what did I decide to get?

After reading a ton of reviews I decided to shift from a dual monitor to a single monitor stand. Having two individual arms would allow me better flexibility on the screen size. With my current monitors being two different sizes (32″ and 21″) this makes things easy and in the future, I don’t ever have to worry about the monitor size as a limitation.

I had lots of clamp-style mounts to choose from on Amazon. It ended up being pretty easy to find one that I liked. However, one thing that I hadn’t originally considered getting was a reinforcement bracket for the clamp. It helps to distribute the pressure from the mount’s clamp and protects the desk from stress fractures over time. It’s basically just a small steel plate that sits between the desk and the clamp. After looking at my desk and giving it some thought, I figured it’d be worth the few extra bucks it cost.

My final purchase was a fully articulating arm for up to a 32″ monitor. I spent $32.99 on it and I feel like I got a good deal on it considering how high some of the arms can cost. The one I purchased was the MountUp Single Monitor Desk Mount.

I paired that with the WALI Steel Reinforcement Bracket for $16.99

And because nothing can ever go smoothly, the VESA mount holes on the arm and one of my monitors were different sizes. So I ended up getting the Husky Mounts VESA adaptor for it for $10.95. It solved my issue no problem.

So I managed to get a solution that works for me all for $50 per monitor (not including the VESA adaptor). I think that I did alright getting everything I wanted for $100.

What sort of monitor stand or mount do you use?

Category: Gadgets | LEAVE A COMMENT
15 October 2021

Dell iDRAC RED007

So I was updating the iDRAC (version 8) firmware on some servers, and I kept getting stuck on an error. You’re supposed to be able to upload a new firmware’s .exe file and the iDRAC can do its thing to extract the firmware image and update itself… Well, that simply wasn’t working for me. The error I kept seeing was:

RED007: Unable to verify Update Package signature

I of course consulted Google to see what it knew, and it didn’t disappoint. The common reason for this error is that the iDRAC module isn’t aware of the certificates used to sign the ‘new’ firmware you’re trying to apply. (This happens after firmware versions 2.40.x from what my googling would tell me.) The recommended workaround for this is to incrementally step up each firmware version until you get to the newest firmware. As you should, fingers crossed, have the signature certs loaded from each incremental load.

I headed over to the Dell website and downloaded all of the incremental firmware releases that I was missing and tried to try applying them in incremental order. Well, crap…. that didn’t work for me.

After a bit more googling, I found a KB post that talked about extracting the firmware’s .img file from the .exe. Let us try that…

I was able to launch 7zip and then use that to view one of the .exe files I had downloaded from the Dell website. Low and behold, sitting there was a “firmimg.d7” file. I extracted that .d7 file, and attempted to load it into my iDRAC, then attempted to install it…

What do you know… I found that I was able to successfully upload and install that “firmimg.d7” to my iDRAC modules with no issues. That solved that issue!

23 April 2021

Owlcam Dashcam

My vehicle got broken into 3 times within a year. I was getting tired of going down to my car, and then feeling violated after realizing someone had broken into it. I was also getting tired of paying the deductible to get the car fixed after each break-in. I needed to find a solution! With so many things these days being ‘cloud-based’, ‘always on’, or ‘IoT connected’, I found it odd that there isn’t a large market of dashcams battling it out in this arena. Cellular connected “smart” dashcams seem to be a fairly new-ish niche in the dashcam market and there are currently only a few players. The Owlcam dashcam caught my eye early on in my searching and ultimately, in the end, they are who I chose to use as the dashcam on my vehicle for now. Other brands/vendors are now making products though, so it’ll be interesting to see how this niche matures and what sort of dash cameras and features will become available.

So I’m creating this writeup as I wasn’t able to find a lot of info about Owlcam when I was looking into dash cameras. There were a few mixed reviews that were helpful, highlighting the good features and those that still needed improvement. And a few bad reviews I found of Owlcam that were usually not of the camera itself but related more toward the business of what happened when the original startup was bought out (ie – service interruptions and service cost increase).

Important note: This review consists purely of my own opinions and feelings about the Owlcam device. I have not been compensated in any way.

I’ll be reviewing the Owlcam 5.0 in this article, it’s Owlcam’s newest camera. Its main improvements include IR LEDs to better light up the interior of the vehicle – even in pure darkness, 160GB onboard storage which equates to 160 hours of video, and a new “OK Presto, I’m being pulled over.” voice command to record your interaction with any law enforcement.

Like its predecessors, it still includes 4G LTE, A.I. surveillance, live video view into the vehicle, two-way talk with the vehicle (great for parents of driving teens), voice tagging, anti-theft beacon, video history, real-time alerts and notifications, and reports you can forward to your insurer to expedite your claim. One feature (or rather perk that I hope I never have to use) that I really love about Owlcam is that if someone breaks into your vehicle and steals your dashcam, they will replace it for you if you provide them with the video and police report. Since your video gets pushed to the cloud, it’s not a problem to retrieve. If that were to happen with any other brand of dashcam, you’d have to drop both the cash to replace the camera on your own and then dole out your insurance deductible to fix your ride.

The box is nothing fancy. It lists all of the dash camera’s specs on it.

It opens up and has a card describing everything that is inside the box and instructions.

The OwlCam is small enough that it easily fits into the palm of my hand.

It was pretty easy to plug the connector into my vehicle’s OBD port and route the cable up to the center of my windshield. I used their tool to tuck the cable out of view. I then attached the appropriate tailpiece for my vehicle for the mount and stuck it up in my front window. The camera has a magnetic point on the bottom of it that “snaps” onto the mount. That was it. In less than 15 minutes, I had opened everything, read the instructions, and installed it in my vehicle. So simple!

I download the Owlcam app from the App Store before I had gone out to install my dashcam. After I mounted the Owlcam, I started the car which also turned on the Owlcam. When you first start the OwlCam it will display a QR code. From the OwlCam app, you can scan the QR code and it will join/link your OwlCam to your account. I was instantly able to start viewing a live feed from my Owlcam. That part of the setup only took a couple of minutes and it too was simple! The app itself is pretty easy and intuitive to tap thru and find either the settings or the video clips you have saved.

Overall the OwlCam dashcam is super simple to install and set up. I’ve been impressed with how easy it was. Now comes some time for “field trials”… I’m going to try it all out for a week or so and I’ll report back, in this post, about how I feel about it and any likes/dislikes after I’ve had some time to actually utilize it.

Day 1: It’s been over a day now that I’ve had it installed and I got to drive around and try it out. I’ve got no problem admitting that I’m still on the learning curve trying to figure out what all it can do. Being my first dashcam, it’s going to take me a bit to get used to it.

The camera itself seems to be working as expected. It’s recording both the interior and exterior. I’ve been able to successfully issue the “OK presto” command and tag clips while driving. I’ve also been able to fetch the clips on my phone from the device. I can’t wait to catch my wife on camera being silly, hee hee hee. For those of you who are curious, when giving the “OK presto” command, it’ll tag a 21-second clip for you. One thing that I have yet to figure out is the difference between “OK presto” and their new “OK presto I am being pulled over” commands. The latter being one of the new features that they tout about the 5.0 camera.

My biggest disappointment so far is that no notifications have popped up on my cell phone. NO ALERTS AT ALL! I have the Owlcam app set up to notify me of ‘Yellow’ events. These are small movement events. The camera is successfully catching stuff because when I look in the app, I can see it catch the movement of my neighbor either parking his car or leaving. I’ve triple-checked my iPhone and the app definitely has permissions to give notifications. So…. What gives? How will I know if someone is peeping into my vehicle. Or worst case, and my biggest concern, will I even be alerted on a ‘Red’ event if someone is breaking into my vehicle. I’m hoping this is just user error on my part.

Day 5: So the “no alerts” issue has been fixed. I did end up opening a support ticket for it though. Support was easy to work with and pleasant enough for me. It ended up being an issue on their end and they got the problem patched up. I was actually surprised when the first alert came though as I hadn’t realized it was fixed.

The camera itself has been working well. The video quality has been good. My only current complaint is that when pulling the video history and watching it, it can be a bit grainy and laggy streaming it to my phone. The exported video isn’t bad, just the streaming video.

Day 8: So I’ve had the dash camera for just over a week now. It’s a neat device. It definitely does what it claims. It records what going on, both inside and outside the vehicle. It’s AI is pretty good at recognizing movement and bumps. I’ve been able to get yellow alerts (tracking movement) and red alerts (bumps). The “bumps” were actually from getting my vehicle serviced, not from bumps “in the wild”.

While I don’t have personal experience with any other dash cameras, I have to say that this dash camera has met my desires. It will alert me when someone breaks into my vehicle, I’m comfortable enough to believe in that.

The application (at least on iOS) isn’t bad. It’s pretty intuitive overall. My main grievance with it is actually with managing the video clips. Deleting unwanted clips takes more work than it should be. You have to select and delete each clip individually, and the fact that it records both the internal and external clip for each ‘event’ it captures, means that you have to do multiple taps to delete. There should be an option to select multiple clips and remove them. Anyways, that is just my two cents…

Overall Opinion: It’s a keeper. If you’re in the market for a new dash camera, I would recommend that you check out the Owlcam and compare its features to other cameras that you are considering. I think you’ll find it impressive and that it’ll be worth your while!

Category: Gadgets | LEAVE A COMMENT
24 April 2020

RDP on Raspberry Pi

If you are like me, the computers around my house are predominately Windows based. Which is fine until you try to remotely connect to the desktop of your RPi. The Raspbian OS just doesn’t work MS’s Remote Desktop Protocol out of the box.

It can though, and all it takes a few is a few steps to enable to the RDP on Raspbian. And in my opinion, since I’m mostly on Windows, it is well worth it just for the convenience. I’ll be using Raspbian Buster in my examples below. If you’re not already on Buster, check out my article on upgrading Stretch to Buster.

Installing Xrdp on Rpi

Lets begin by updating your RPi with the following commands.

sudo apt update && sudo apt upgrade

Lets install Pixel on our RPi. Pixel is the default desktop environment on Raspbian desktop images. It’s stable, light weight, and fast. Which is perfect for running remotely on our RPi. To install Pixel, use the command below.

sudo apt-get install raspberrypi-ui-mods xinit xserver-xorg

After installing Pixel, it’s time for a reboot

sudo reboot now

Next we install the Xrdp package. It is available in the default Raspbian repositories. Use the command below to install Xrdp.

sudo apt install xrdp

The service will automatically start once it has installed, but we can check it’s status with the following command. It should display the status of “running” on the screen.

systemctl show -p SubState --value xrdp

Lastly we need to add the user that is running the service to the “ssl-cert” group. Xrdp uses the key file “/etc/ssl/private/ssl-cert-snakeoil.key” which is only read-able to the users of the “ssl-cert” group. USe the folowing command to add the user to the group.

sudo adduser xrdp ssl-cert

Your RPi now supports RDP! You can easily connect to it using the MS Remote Desktop Connection your Windows machines.

Connecting to your RPi from Windows

From your windows machine, click on the ‘Start menu’ or Windows Search field and type “remote”.

Once the Remote Desktop Connection App launches, enter the IP address of your RPi. Then click the “Connect” button.

Enter the login credentials for your RPi. Then click ‘Ok’.

BAM! Just like that you have successfully connected to and just RDP-ed into your RPi. Well done!

18 April 2020

Network (RPi) Printer

Using a simple RPi we can turn an otherwise normal USB printer into a network printer. Making it easier to print from anywhere in your house, and using any computer in your house. Literally breathing a bit more life into your “old” printer that you were just considering tossing away.

We’ll take advantage of the CUPS software to make this happen. CUPS stands for Common Unix Printing System and is what runs most Linux printing software. It’s going to be the bit that does the communication to your printer to properly print your files. Lets get started…

To save some time before you do do this… First check if your printer is supported by visiting this link: https://www.openprinting.org/printers

Setting up CUPS

Open a terminal window or SSH into your RPi.

Make sure your RPi is up-to-date with the following commands:

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get upgrade

Install CUPS with the following command

sudo apt-get install cups

Add the user ‘pi’ to the ‘lpadmin’ group. This will allow your user ‘pi’ to access all of the administrative functions of CUPS without having to be a superuser. Use the following command.

sudo usermod -a -G lpadmin pi

We need to make CUPS accessible to your whole network. Currently it is only accessible on the RPi itself. To allow it to accept all traffic, use the following commands.

sudo cupsctl --remote-any
sudo /etc/init.d/cups restart

You can now access the RPi print server from any computer on your network. Use the following command if you are unsure of your IP adderss.

hostname -I

Now with that IP address open a web browser and enter the following url, replacing <ip-address> with the IP address of your RPi


To allow our CUPS printer server to talk to Windows and to let our windows computers print to it, we need to setup SAMBA on the RPi. Use the following command to install SAMBA.

sudo apt-get install samba

After installing SAMBA, we will need to make a few edit it’s configuration file. Use the following command to open it’s config file in the nano editor.

sudo nano /etc/samba/smb.conf

Scroll down to the end of the file. Edit it to make it match the following:

# CUPS print server  
comment = All Printers
browseable = no
path = /var/spool/samba
printable = yes
guest ok = yes
read only = yes
create mask = 0700

# Windows clients look for this share name as a source of downloadable
# printer drivers
comment = Printer Drivers
path = /var/lib/samba/printers
browseable = yes
read only = no
guest ok = no

Save and exit the editor by pressing ‘Ctrl-X’, then ‘Y’, then ‘Enter’

Restart SAMBA with the following command to load our configuration changes.

sudo systemctl restart smbd

Adding a printer to CUPS

Now with the software portion installed, we need to add the printer to CUPS. Make sure that you have turned the printer ‘On’ and that you have it connected to your RPi.

Open a web browser and enter the following url, replacing <ip-address> with the IP address of your RPi


Click on the ‘Administrative’ tab at the top of the page.
Then click the “Add Printer” button.

On the ‘Add Printer’ screen select the name of the printer you want to set up, and click “Continue”.
In this example, we are setting up a HP LaserJet P2055d printer.

Note: If your printer appear on the screen, make sure that it is indeed ‘On’ and connected to your RPi. After verifying that it is, if it is still not appearing, you may need to try restarting your RPi while leaving the printer ‘On’ and connected.

This screen is where you give your printer a name, set a description for it, and a location. The most important thing to do on this screen is to click the tick box for “Sharing: Share This Printer”

On this screen you will select the model of your printer. CUPS tries to auto-detect the model of printer and will select a driver based off what you select. Your selection will differ from mine. Once you are happy with your selection, click the “Add Printer” button at the bottom.

The final screen will let you set the default printer options; paper size, tray, resolution, double-sided, etc….

While not required, I like to give the RPi one more reboot after adding the printer.

To check the status of the print and it’s print queue, use the following command on the RPi.

lpq HP_LaserJet_P2055d

It will display the printer name and if it’s “ready” and if any print jobs are pending.

Adding RPi printer to Windows 10

One thing I noticed when trying to add the printer to to my Windows 10 machines is that I had initially had problems auto-detecting and adding it. It just simply would not work. After a bit of searching the internet, I found a solution that did work for me.

Click on the ‘Start Menu’ and start typing “Printers”, then click on ‘Printers & scanner’.

Click on ‘Add a printer or scanner’

Windows will begin searching for printers… After a moment a link that appears that says “The printer that I want isn’t listed”. Click on that link.

This will open a ‘Add Printer’ window.
Click on the option “Select a shared printer by name”

Enter the “name” of your shared printer in the following format, then click ‘Next’.


  • Replace <RPi/CUP-IP_Address> with the IP address of your RPi
  • Replace <PrinterName> with the name of your shared printer

Note: You might have to manually select your printer driver if it is not automatically detected.

The page will show that the printer has been successfully added, and it will appear in your “Printers & scanners”

You can now print to your RPi printer!

12 April 2020

Upgrade Raspbian Stretch to Buster

These instructions are taken from the Raspberry Pi Blog.

As with all major version changes, it is my recommendation to download a new clean image and start fresh with a clean system. (Raspbian Download page)
I don’t know what changes people have made to their system, and so have no idea what may break when you move to Buster. The instructions below will likely work on your system. However, that does not guarantee that it will work on your system.

I cannot provide support (or be held responsible) for any problems that arise if you try it. You have been warned! Make a backup before even considering to attempt this…

Open a terminal or SSH window to your RPi.
In the files /etc/apt/sources.list and /etc/apt/sources.list.d/raspi.list, change every use of the word “stretch” to “buster”.

sudo nano /etc/apt/sources.list
sudo nano /etc/apt/sources.list.d/raspi.list

Then run the following command

sudo apt update && sudo apt dist-upgrade

Wait for the upgrade to complete, answering ‘yes’ to any prompt. There may also be a point at which the install pauses while a page of information is shown on the screen – hold the ‘space’ key to scroll through all of this and then hit ‘q’ to continue.

The update will take anywhere from half an hour to several hours, depending on your network speed. When it completes, reboot your Raspberry Pi.

When the Pi has rebooted, launch ‘Appearance Settings’ from the main menu, go to the ‘Defaults’ tab, and press whichever ‘Set Defaults’ button is appropriate for your screen size in order to load the new UI theme.

Buster will have installed several new applications which we do not support. To remove these, open a terminal window and run the following command.

sudo apt purge timidity lxmusic gnome-disk-utility deluge-gtk evince wicd wicd-gtk clipit usermode gucharmap gnome-system-tools pavucontrol

Then run

sudo apt autoremove

The reboot your RPi one last time to complete the upgrade process.

To check the OS version of Raspbian you are running, run this command.

cat /etc/os-release

And remember…. Make a new backup of your RPi once you have finished testing things out on your new upgraded OS version.

12 April 2020

Restoring your RPi

As I’ve said before, the data running on your RPi is only as good as it’s last backup. You have already backed up your RPi, right?

This article is going to cover how to restore the backup image of your RPi with Windows. While can also restore it using Linux or MacOS, I’m not going to cover those as I primarily use the Windows Operating System. If you desire more info on the RPi backup/restore process, please consult the official documentation here.

Restore on Windows

In Windows, we’ll use a utility called “Win32 Disk Imager”. If you followed my previous article on backing up your RPi you should already have it installed. If you haven’t, please go download and install Win32 Disk Imager onto your computer. It is this software that will allow us to restore the full image copy we made back to the micro-SD card of your RPi.

On your Windows computer, open the Win32 Disk Imager program.

In the upper right, under ‘Device’, select the drive letter of the card reader.
Mine is “D:\”, your will likely be different.

In the ‘Image File’ box, click on the folder button to browse to, and select, the location of your backup image file, which you’d like to restore.

Click the ‘Write’ button at the button to begin restoring your backup image.
There will be a popup message that warns about writing to the device, click ‘Yes’ and it will begin your restore

Once the restore completes, there will be a popup message stating that the write is complete that you need to click ‘OK’ to.

Your restore is now complete!

Go ahead and eject the card from your card reader and return it to your RPi. You can then reconnect the power and turn it back on. Everything should be there, exactly as it was at the time you made the backup.

12 April 2020

Backing up your RPi

Like any other computer system, the data running on your RPi is only as good as it’s last backup. Heck, have you ever even backed-up your RPi since you got it up and running? Well let me show you how to get backed-up so that you can get back up in the event that you ever have a RPi catastrophe.

This article is going to focus on backing up your RPi with Windows. While can also back it up using Linux or MacOS, I’m not going to cover those as I primarily use the Windows Operating System. If you desire more info on backing up your RPi, please consult the official documentation here.

Backup on Windows

In Windows, we’ll use a utility called “Win32 Disk Imager”. Go ahead and download and install Win32 Disk Imager onto your computer. It will allow us to make a full image copy of the micro-SD card that is used in our RPi. That way we can restore a 1:1 image of that micro-SD card as it is at the time of backup, back onto the card or onto a new card if we ever need to. We can keep that image copy on a desktop or NAS or cloud storage.

Start by shutting down the RPi with the following command.

sudo shutdown now

One the RPi has shut down, disconnect the power. You can now pull the micro-SD card out of it. Place it into the the card reader on your Windows computer. This might be a usb adapter that you are using, or there might be a SD slot on your laptop that will take a “micro-SD to SD card” adapter.

On your Windows computer, open the Win32 Disk Imager program.

In the upper right, under ‘Device’, select the drive letter of the card reader.
Mine is “D:\”, your will likely be different.

In the ‘Image File’ box, click on the folder button to browse to, and select, the location of where you would like to save the image file to.

Click the ‘Read’ button at the button to begin creating your backup image.

Once the backup completes, there will be a popup message you need to click ‘OK’ to.

Your backup is complete!

Go ahead and eject the card from your card reader and return it to your RPi. You can then reconnect the power and turn it back on.

You can now restore you RPi to this point-in-time image when anything ever goes wrong in the future.

10 April 2020

How to setup WiFi on headless RPi

These instructions are straight from the RPi documentation (which can be found here).

If you do not use a monitor or keyboard to run your Pi (known as headless), but you still need to do some wireless setup, there is a facility to enable wireless networking and SSH when creating a image.

Once an image is created on an SD card, by inserting it into a card reader on a Linux or Windows machines the boot folder can be accessed. Adding certain files to this folder will activate certain setup features on the first boot of the Pi itself.

Setting up wireless networking

You will need to define a “wpa_supplicant.conf” file for your particular wireless network. Put this file in the boot folder, and when the Pi first boots, it will copy that file into the correct location in the Linux root file system and use those settings to start up wireless networking.

“wpa_supplicant.conf” file example:

ctrl_interface=DIR=/var/run/wpa_supplicant GROUP=netdev
country=<Insert country code here>

 ssid="<Name of your WiFi>"
 psk="<Password for your WiFi>"

Note that some older WiFi dongles don’t support 5GHz networks.

More information on the “wpa_supplicant.conf” file can be found here. See Wikipedia for a list of country codes.