As your child takes home their first Raspberry Pi, we want to offer a series of blogs to help them get the most out of their Pi. If you have a laptop, but not a monitor, keyboard, and mouse, there is still a way to access your new Raspberry Pi. We will start with the advanced way - which is SSH.
SSH stands for Secure Shell. It is a cryptographic protocol for operating over an unsecured network. The most common use is a CLI, or Command Line Interface. There is an entire lesson in the SSH protocol but we will leave this for another day.
The most astute of our students will call this a chicken before the egg situation. SSH does NOT come enabled by default on any operating system, including Raspian. So if we have a pi...and no Monitor, what can we do? Great question.
There is a workaround. Before inserting your microSD card into your PI, insert it into your computer and open the BOOT directory. Create a new file called SSH (careful not to give it an extension). If you are using Windows, you will need to make sure you can see the file extension since it automatically adds it. Here is a great article explaining how.
After creating the file (no need to put anything in it), save it, and safely eject the microSD card. Insert it into the Pi and restart it. With this file present, you have enabled secure SSH using the default username and password.
Our only note here is to make sure that you change the default username and password. It's the same for all Pi users!