The Raspberry Pi has brought us a very affordable option for running XBMC. Unfortunately from my own experience it was a bit laggy when navigating the menu’s. One of the options to improve performance  is to install Raspbmc to a spare USB flash drive. I saw a significant increase in speed from running Raspbmc in this way.  Here’s how you do it.

What you need

A formatted SD card with a minimum amount of space of 128mb. Don’t worry too much about how good the SD card is as we will only be booting the Raspberry Pi off it.

A formatted USB stick with a minimum of 2GB free. The bigger and faster the better.

Download the Raspbmc Installer

Get the latest Raspbmc Installer from and run it with your SD card plugged in. The installer will look like this with your SD card listed.

Select the SD card from the list and tick the box “Install Raspbmc to a USB drive” and that you accept the license agreement. I also recommend manually configuring your network as unless I specified an IP address my Pi wouldn’t connect to my network. Once you’ve ticked the boxes and configured your network setting click “Install”.


Now on to the Pi

You’ll be notified that the install is complete and at this stage you need to move onto the Raspberry Pi. Insert the SD card and the USB you want to use into the Pi and power it on. You’ll see the Raspbmc installer begin and it will display a message saying that it will install to USB and if you do not wish to proceed to power off the Pi. Let the installation run which could take 10 minutes or so depending on your internet connection.

Once the install script has completed the Pi will reboot and will boot into XBMC. Congratulations you’re done! Raspbmc is set up to you can connect using remote apps from tablets and phones. Use one of these apps (The app I use on Android is Yatse and I highly recommend it.)  to connect to XBMC and set up your media.


If you want to know more about what you can do with your Raspberry Pi I highly recommend the Raspberry Pi User Guide available from Amazon.