Welcome to another Raspberry Pi 3 post, In this post we shall :

  • Know About Multi-boot capabilities on Raspberry Pi 3.
  • Find more about PINN, Which is apparently not NOOBS.
  • Setup of PINN, Gathering the Images and install process.
  • FAQ’s of multiboot, Supported OS’es and troubleshooting.

Having multiple OS on a Raspberry Pi 3 is a great thing, You can use a full-desktop OS like Ubuntu Mate and still be able to get high video performance by booting into your LibreElec OS. Having a smart Boot-loader like PINN or NOOBS (more on this later) makes multiboot on you pi as easy as in a laptop.

Multi-Boot Restrictions And Limitations :

As amazing the rPi is, it is nowhere close to the management tactics and the power of a PC-system. Multiboot is known to increase chances of SD card corruption on rPi (you can install OS on a external HDD too.) Altough you can switch OS thru ssh remotely, you still have to select the OS to boot manually by Keyboard, which sucks. But if you can manage thru these difficulties, PINN is the right bootloader that should suffice.

Pinn Is Not Noobs :

PINN is a fork of NOOBS, the official bootloader of rPi. PINN is designed to make it easy to select and install operating systems for the Raspberry Pi without having to worry about manually imaging your SD card.Once PINN is installed on your SD card, the installation of other OSes and a lot of the maintenance of them can mostly be done on the RPi itself without having to remove the SD card.

Bootmenu of PINN. You can also run recovery options such as file system check and solo os reinstall.

Using PINN for the first time :

PINN requires a freshly formatted FAT-32 SD-Card (Recommended tool : SDHC Formatter), preferably class-10 UHS-1 and up. You are required to copy the core PINN files to the root of the SD card (The PINN Project on SourceFourge.) You can now put this SD-card in your rPi3.
Getting the OS : The best feature of PINN is that it can download the OS and automatically partition the sdhc for install. You can download the PINN supported images of your favorite OS on SourceForge. You can alternatively select to let the OS be downloaded by the PINN welcome setup too but its nice to have images incase something goes wrong.
Installing the OS : You can install the OS’es to your sdhc, But your also have the option to install the on the attached HDD’s, But be aware, The overall performance will be slooooooow due to the USB 2.0 Bottleneck on the rPi3B. A 32GB Class-10 Card (Link:Amazon India) is pretty cheap, and can contain about 6 complete OS.
After install Follow-through : At first boot, you shall see the boot menu :

Never Use The Sticky Default. NEVER.

You can use the keyboard scroll keys to select the OS and press enter or TAB+Enter. Repeat this process to MultiBoot OS. After the selection, Each OS will welcome you with their first time setup wizards. From now on its all smooth sailing.
But I’m stuck, My one of the OS is corrupted. Do I need to wipe my whole card again ? Apparently No ! It’s one of PINN greatest feature that it can re-install an OS, without touching the other installed OS’es. To do this, Press “Shift” key during bootup, A PINN menu will open up, Keep pressing “M” key to go to the “Maintenance” part of the menu, Select the troubled OS there (by pressing space) and press “R”. This will reinstall your selected OS.

FAQ’s :

Q.Where can i edit the configurations for separate operating systems ?

A. PINN has support for Easy Config Editor, on which you can find more here.
You can find the suitable configs and overclock values here.

Q. I crashed my xx OS, can i reinstall it without removing other os ?

A. Yes with PINN you can, according to pinn git. :

The Reinstall option gets around this by allowing individual installed OSes to be over-written with the latest version of the corresponding OS, leaving all other OSes intact. As it does not repartition the drive, the new OS fit within the same partition sizes as the OS occupied the last time it was installed.

Q. Can I install over Wi-Fi ?

A. Yes, Just insert the Wi-Fi details on the first boot of PINN, and reboot it by pressing Cntrl+Alt+Del. On the next boot, it will fetch the available OS’es to be downloaded and installed. Alternatively, If you have no internet access on your rPi you can paste the images on a flash drive and stick it to the rpi. On boot scan, PINN should find the images on external drives.

Q. Where can i find the official source of PINN ?

A. You can find PINN on their GITHUB Profile : https://github.com/procount/pinn You can also find a quick-set up guide and a list of known bugs (which are few) there.

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