Raspberry Pi Zero and Raspberry Pi Zero W benefit from their sizes, but it is really awkward to work with. Fortunately, you can use a USB port to connect to your board without a keyboard or a screen.  This is great for all these projects where the network is not needed. So what if you need a headless client to set up a card? You can either do this via Raspberry Pi 2 or 3 and share the card or connect to the Raspberry Pi Zero, Raspberry Pi Zero W SSH USB – in 4 simple steps.

Raspberry Pi Zero, Raspberry Pi Zero W – SSH over USB in 4 simple steps

You will need:

  • Raspberry Pi Zero or Raspberry Pi Zero W – kinda obvious
  • Windows PC – with a Bonjour installed (it’s the first time I get to use this in my life – Linux people Avahi-Deamon will do it)
  • USB cable
  • SD-card and a reader
  • Putty on Windows or terminal on Linux

Step 1

Download the Raspbian image – full release or Lite – it works with both versions. Install Bonjour on your computer (or Avahi).

Step 2

Install the Raspbian image on the SD-card, and open it on the PC. You will need to open 2 files.

  • config.txt
    Add the following (new line):

  • cmdline.txt
    Add the following text after rootwait (leave a space, keep all in a single line):


Save both files.

Step 3

Put the card in, plug the USB to the socket marked USB not PWR IN and power it up. Wait about 1-2 min – don’t  rush it the first time.

Step 4

Raspberry Pi Zero SSH USBOpen up Putty and connect to (make sure you have no other Raspberries connected via Ethernet – you will connect to these instead if you forget to power it off)


Enter the Raspberry Pi credentials:

  • Login (default): pi
  • Password (default): raspberry

and… You know how to connect Raspberry Pi Zero, Raspberry Pi Zero W  SSH USB! Now that you have the access to to the Raspberry Pi Zero W, you can take a look at this guide to set up the network permanently.

You are welcome!