Getting Started

System Reference Manual and Hardware Documentation

When all else fails, read the manual: BeagleBone Black Docs.

Step-by-Step Quick-Start

Step #1: Plug in BeagleBone via USB

Use the provided USB cable to plug BeagleBone into your computer. This will both power the board and provide a development interface. BeagleBone will boot Linux from the provided 4GB microSD card (White board) or on-board 2GB eMMC (Black board) and operates as a flash drive. This provides you with a local copy of the documentation and drivers.

You'll see the PWR LED lit steadily. Within 10 seconds, you should see the other LEDs blinking in their default configurations.

  • USR0 is configured at boot to blink in a heartbeat pattern
  • USR1 is configured at boot to light during microSD card accesses
  • USR2 is configured at boot to light during CPU activity
  • USR3 is configured at boot to light during eMMC accesses

Step #2: Install drivers

Install the drivers for your operating system to give you network-over-USB access to your BeagleBone. Additional drivers give you serial access to your board.

Operating System USB Drivers Comments
Windows (64-bit) 64-bit installer

If in doubt, try the 64-bit installer first.

Windows (32-bit) 32-bit installer
Mac OS X Network
Install both sets of drivers.
Linux Driver installation isn't required, but you might find a few udev rules helpful.

Note: Additional FTDI USB to serial/JTAG information and drivers are available from

Note: Additional USB to virtual Ethernet information and drivers are available from and

Step #3: Browse to your board

Using either Chrome or Firefox (Internet Explorer will NOT work), browse to the web server running on your board. It will load a presentation showing you the capabilities of the board. Use the arrow keys on your keyboard to navigate the presentation.


Do not use Internet Explorer.

One option to browse your board is to use this node-webkit based application (currently limited to Windows machines):

Virtual machines are not recommended when using the direct USB connection. It is recommended you use only network connections to your board if you are using a virtual machine.

Visit for additional debugging tips.

Update board with latest software

Step #1: Download the latest software image

Download "Angstrom Distribution" from

Note: Due to sizing necessities, this download may take 30 minutes or more.

The Angstrom Distribution ships with the boards. The file you download will have an .img.xz extention. This is a compressed sector-by-sector image of the SD card.

Step #2: Install compression utility

Download and install 7-zip.

Step #3: Decompress the image

Use 7-zip to decompress the SD card .img file

Step #4: Install SD card programming utility

Download and install Image Writer for Windows. Be sure to download the binary distribution.

Some general help on programming SD cards can be found on the Ubuntu Image Writer page.

Step #5: Connect SD card to your computer

Use the provided microSD card to SD adapter or a USB adapter to connect the SD card to your computer.

Step #6: Write the image to your SD card

Use either the Ubuntu Image Writer or instructions on its page to write the decompressed image to your SD card.

Step #7: Eject the SD card

Eject the newly programmed SD card.

Step #8: Boot your board off of the SD card

Insert SD card into your (powered-down) board, hold down the USER/BOOT button (if using Black) and apply power, either by the USB cable or 5V adapter.

If using an original white BeagleBone, you are done.

If using BeagleBone Black and the image is meant to program your on-board eMMC, you'll need to wait while the programming occurs. When the flashing is complete, all 4 USRx LEDs will be lit solid. This can take up to 45 minutes. Power-down your board, remove the SD card and apply power again to be complete.

Other currently available software images

Some of the starting images below involve multiple steps to produce an SD card image or otherwise change some of the steps above, so be sure to read all the instructions on their pages. Choose the starting point you want, download or produce the SD card image and follow the steps above.

At the time of release, not all of these distributions support BeagleBone Black, but should soon.

Hardware documentation's BeagleBoneBlack page documents all of the known hardware issues, as well as the latest available software, hardware hardware documentation and design materials.

Time to read that manual and check out the design materials: BeagleBone Black Docs.

Links to design materials for various releases can be found at