How To: Install OpenELEC on Raspberry Pi (XBMC)


How To: Install OpenELEC on Raspberry Pi (XBMC) using Windows

What you will need is a assembled Raspberry Pi and the required SD card along with a few pieces of free software.

Update 7/2014: New versions of OpenELEC Pi use a much easier Windows method now:

I first learned of this method from another blog called TasksOfOhm which outlined the process as clear cut as possible. For my blog here I will be using the same method.

OpenELEC is my preferred distribution for stand alone XBMC. Windows users will need to follow a manually created SD card partitioning scheme which is outlined below.


Get OpenELEC for Pi: As of this writing the most current OpenELEC for Raspberry Pi is 3.2.3 and seems to be rather trouble free. You can download the software for the Pi or any other supported OpenELEC hardware here. This is a basic Linux based distribution designed to run only XBMC on the intended hardware, in this case the Raspberry Pi. I have found it works very well for most anyone, I use it on both my Pi and Intel ION based machines.

You will also need an utility called MiniTool Partition Wizard to format the SD card which can be found here.

Install Partition Wizard software on your Windows PC and insert the SD card you intend to format and open MiniTool Partition Wizard.


Select your SD card from the list to begin the process of partitioning the SD card. I am using a Class 10, 8GB SD card in this example.

While having the SD card selected choose the create option and use the following settings:


Partition label: System, Create As: Primary, File System: FAT32, Drive Letter: S:, and finally set the partition size as 130.00 MB


Click OK and proceed to create a partition for the remaining space on the SD card. You will get a warning that the second partition cannot be used in Windows, this is OK, click Yes to proceed.


For the remaining space on the card use the following settings:Partition label: Storage, Create As: Primary, File System: Ext4, Drive Letter: N/A:, and finally set the partition size as REMAINING SPACE


Mark the first partition as active by highlighting it and clicking “Set Active” from the sidebar options.


Then click “Apply” to proceed with the formatting operations. This may take a few minutes so be patient.



Once the SD card is formatted you will next need to copy the OpenELEC files over to the card. This step assumes that you set the SD card to drive letter “S:” in the above steps and that you have extracted the OpenELEC Pi distribution to the root directory (C: Drive on most PC’s). In the command window navigate to the OpenELEC folder and then run the following commands one at a time:

cd OpenELEC-RPi.arm-3.2.3
copy target\KERNEL S:\kernel.img
copy target\SYSTEM S:\
copy 3rdparty\bootloader\*.* S:\
copy openelec.ico S:\
copy S:\

The output should look similar to the screenshot:


You need to create one file to the newly created SD card before removing from the PC called “cmdline.txt” and containing the following text:

boot=/dev/mmcblk0p1 disk=/dev/mmcblk0p2 console=ttyAMA0,115200 kgdboc=ttyAMA0,115200 console=tty1 ssh

Now you will have a fully installed SD card with the version of OpenELEC for Raspberry Pi you have selected. Take the card out of the PC and put it in your Pi and power it on. In moments the Pi will boot into OpenELEC and complete the basic installation.


Be aware the web-server is not enabled by default so have a USB input device (Mouse, keyboard, etc) handy or edit the guisettings.xml in /xbmc/userdata folder to use the web interface or mobile app for configuration. You’ll find the setting down in the services section. Set “Webserver” to “True”.