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First steps

Set up your micro:bit

It’s really simple to get started with the BBC micro:bit

Program it

The micro:bit is a tiny computer that makes coding tangible and promotes digital creativity.

You create a program to tell it what to do using one of the online code editors, and download it to your computer as a .hex file - a version of your program that your micro:bit can read.

Transfer your program

When you've created your program in the online editor, transfer it to your micro:bit to make it run independently of your computer. You can even unplug your micro:bit from the computer, attach a battery pack, and your program still runs. Watch this video to learn how this works:

Connect your micro:bit

Plug the micro USB cable into the USB socket on the top of your micro:bit, and connect the other end of the cable to your computer so you can transfer your program.

micro:bit device connected to a computer via a USB cable

Find your micro:bit, copy your program file

When you plug the micro:bit into your computer's USB socket, it will show up automatically like any other USB storage or memory stick as a drive called 'MICROBIT'.

Use the pictures below to help you find the micro:bit on your computer:

See how it works in:
Animation showing how to drag a HEX file onto micro:bit using Windows

Now you've found the micro:bit on your computer, you're ready to transfer the .hex file you downloaded from the online editor to the MICROBIT drive, just like you would copy a file to a USB drive. This will transfer your program to your micro:bit.

Your micro:bit will pause and the yellow LED on the back will blink while your program is being transferred. Once it’s copied across, your program will run automatically.

micro:bit board with LED blinking on its back as program is transferred to it

Where's my .hex file gone?

It's worth noting that your micro:bit is only pretending to be a USB drive and you can't store files on it like a memory stick. Once your .hex file has been copied across from your computer and starts running on your micro:bit, it will seem to disappear from the MICROBIT drive. This is perfectly normal.

Quick transfer without drag and drop or copying files

If you've got a recent version of the Google Chrome or Microsoft Edge web browsers, you can send programs direct from the online editor to your micro:bit using WebUSB.