Here are some answers to some common questions users have when starting out with Raspbmc. If your question is unanswered feel free to ask in the forums or leave a comment below.
Q: Can I install Raspbmc from my Mac / PC running Windows / PC running Linux?
A: Yup. Just head over to the Downloads page to get the right installer for your platform.
Q: What do I need to run Raspbmc?
A: Please take a look at this wiki page. You’ll also need to be connected to the Internet for the first boot so Raspbmc can update itself.
Q: Why do you not offer XBMC 11.0 (Eden) and only 12.0 Frodo builds?
A: This is because there is no version of Eden available for the Raspberry Pi.
Q: Does Raspbmc offer nightly builds?
A: Yes! Simply go into Raspbmc Settings in XBMC and select Nightly Builds. You will be able to download and switch between different versions of XBMC from that.
Q: Where is XBMC user data stored?
A: XBMC userdata is stored in /home/pi/.xbmc/
Q: Does Raspbmc use the full capacity of my SD card?
A: Yes. Raspbmc automatically partitions your SD card on the first boot to use the full amount of space available on the device.
Q: I just installed Raspbmc and it’s slow with 100% CPU usage
A: This is temporary and is because when XBMC launches for the first time it must update any plugins that are out of date. This takes CPU as it must download the plugins, unpack them and configure them. You are advised to leave it a couple of minutes before trying to do anything with XBMC. The system will then respond normally after this. You can also disable automatic plugin updating in the future.
Q: Raspbmc has high CPU usage doing nothing? Why?
A: The reason for this lies in the fact that Raspbmc is doing something. Odds are you have reached this deduction via System > System Info and monitoring the CPU progress bar. This bar must be constantly redrawn as it is changing constantly. This is ironically, what is driving up the CPU usage. For a more fair view of idle cpu usage, you could run the top command via SSH while on the menu screen. Typical CPU usage for this should not exceed 20%, as Dirty Region Rendering is being used.
Q: I’m getting Samba error -2 when trying to browse my network
A: Please add the shares manually via sources.xml. Further, you should use IP addresses rather than hostnames as resolution is not always reliable.
Q: Is my remote supported?
A: You can see a list of compatible remotes here.
Q: I’m trying to play a video over RCA / Composite but see no video?
A: Please ensure that your audio settings are configured for analogue output!
Q: My system keeps freezing up and then unfreezing. Why?
A: This could be an issue with the power supply you are using for your Raspberry Pi. Ensure you are using at least a 1A micro-USB power adapter with 5v. Symptoms of this also include losing control of your keyboard / mouse or remote. Read more about power supply issues here
Q: What is the username and password for logging in?
A: The default username is pi and the default password is raspberry. You can change this by typing sudo passwd pi
Q: What is the root password?
A: Raspbmc ships with the root account disabled by default. Read more here.
Q: How can I transfer files to my Pi?
A: You can use the FTP server. Learn more here
Q: I can only transfer to /home/pi via FTP, how do I write to other parts of the root file system?
A: We recommend that you first transfer your stuff over to your home directory, and should you wish to move it somewhere else, do so using the sudo mv command via SSH. However, you can, reading more about FTP access here, here, with an enabled root account, upload files to anywhere you want.
Q: Where is the XBMC folder stored?
A: In /home/pi/.xbmc
Q: What happens if I plug in a USB device?
A: Raspbmc should mount your device for you at /media/usb* and it will be available for use in XBMC.
Q: How do I disable automatic updates?
A: Please take a look at this wiki page.
Q: Why does AirPlay not work?
A: Enable it under System > Network > “Allow XBMC to receive AirPlay content”
Q: How do I change my keyboard layout or timezone?
A: Raspbmc will prompt you to do so the first time that you login via SSH
Q: How do I start or stop XBMC from the command line?
A: Using upstart:
sudo initctl start xbmc sudo initctl stop xbmc
Q: Does Raspbmc void the warranty by overclocking?
A: NO. Raspbmc overclocks your Raspberry Pi to a safe clock frequency which has been verified by Dom who works on the Raspberry Pi firmware himself. Furthermore, a change to clock frequency does not blow the OTP. It is overvolting that does this. If you do not wish your Pi to be overclocked, just edit config.txt which is located in /boot.
Q: Can I update my firmware or kernel?
A: Yes, you can, but I wouldn’t recommend it. Raspbmc already uses very recent firmware and has a custom kernel. Both these components are updated frequently, and more importantly, automatically for you. Therefore it is not necessary to do anything manually, Raspbmc takes care of it all.
Q: What is Raspbmc based on?
A: Raspbmc is based on Raspbian, a hard floating point enabled distribution for the Raspberry Pi, in turn a derivative of Debian Wheezy.
Q: Help! Windows only sees around 60MB on my SD card
A: That’s because Windows does not recognise the Linux partitions that Raspbmc uses. There is a simple fix for this though — rerun the Windows installer and click “Restore SD card for formatting”. You will now be able to see the full size of your SD card as a “Removable Device” for formatting in Windows. On new versions of Windows, you will be automatically prompted to format the device upon clicking this button. Simply format the device and your SD card can be used for storing content again.
Q: Can Raspbmc play back MPEG2 or VC1?
A: Yes! Raspbmc offers hardware decoding of these codecs, provided the codec pack has been purchased from the Raspberry Pi foundation website here
Q: Why does XBMC look fuzzy?
A: XBMC runs the UI at 720p by default on the Raspberry Pi, and uses the GPU to output it at a 1080p resolution. Raspbmc is the only distribution to allow you to disable this. This can be done from Raspbmc Settings
Q: What is the difference between a pre-built image and the normal image?
A: Pre-built images can be installed on the Pi and will run from the get-go. This has no installer that downloads external components. This is useful for those without broadband connections at home or who cannot get the installer to work. Note, the internet installer is still the recommended route for installation.
Q: Does Raspbmc run on the new 512MB Pi? Will it use all the memory? Is it better?
A: Raspbmc will indeed run on these new Pis, and will use all available memory automatically without additional configuration. The additional memory assists in the decoding of fanart as more memory can be dedicated to the GPU. Furthermore, it assists in the running of additional services such as Samba server and TVHeadend. Raspbmc has been optimised for both 256MB and 512MB models.
Q: Can I run a VNC server on Raspbmc?
A: No. VNC relies on the X11 window system, but Raspbmc’s XBMC implementation is rendered in the framebuffer only. Thus VNC cannot be used as there is no X-session available for connection.
Q: Can I install Raspbmc to a USB drive?
A: Yes — but the SD card will still be needed to boot. This may seem futile then, however, the performance gains are admirable. This can be done easily through the Windows installer. For users installing via Python or manually, all that is needed is to create a file called ‘usb’ on the fat32 partition. The installer will then install to the first detected USB drive.
Q: Why does cron not work?
A: You need to enable it in Raspbmc Settings.
Q: I have a Pi but I only see around 200MB of RAM in XBMC?
A: This is fine — 256MB of RAM is allocated to the GPU, leaving 256MB for Linux itself, which is what XBMC is showing you.
Q: What’s Factory Reset do?
A: Factory Reset will completely reinstall Raspbmc on your Raspberry Pi. Note that this will completely erase the contents of the SD card.
Q: During playback I experience video blackouts. I’m connected via HDMI. Any advice?
A: Using Raspbmc Settings, try add the following configuration options: hdmi_force_hotplug=1 config_hdmi_boost=4. This will increase the strength of the signal transmitted across the HDMI cable, which is particularly useful when using poor quality cables or covering long distances.