Boot from Usb Thumbdrive

Boot a Raspberry Pi from a USB Thumbdrive

You can boot Raspberry Pis that are older than the Pi 4 directly off of USB attached Drive. When you’re done with the process, you won’t even need to have a microSD card in the Pi’s slot.

1. Create your external boot drive. There are two main ways to do this.

  • Use Etcher to “burn” the Raspbian OS to your external drive, a process we cover in our article on how to get started with Raspberry Pi. This works great, but doesn’t copy over any data from an existing build.
Boot From Usb Thumbdrive

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Boot the Raspberry Pi from a USB Hard Drive

By default, Raspberry Pi boots up and stores all of its programs on a microSD memory card, which has rather limited bandwidth. On the Raspberry Pi 4, the memory card slot can achieve a theoretical maximum of 50 MBps, which is double the 25 MBps maximum on the Pi 3B+ (and other 3 series). you get more speed if you attach an external drive to one of the Raspberry Pi’s USB ports, especially with the Pi 4 offering USB 3.0 connections that have a theoretical maximum of 660 MBps.

Unfortunately, at this time, you can’t boot a Raspberry Pi 4 off an external drive. But you can force the Raspbian OS to use an external drive for its “root” partition, which holds all of its programs and data. So, in effect, you have a small boot partition on a microSD card but the meat of the entire operating system would still live on your speedy SSD or Flash Drive. A future firmware update will allow the Pi 4 to boot off of external drives, no microSD card required, The instructions directly below work on a current-day Pi 4 or an earlier model, but if you want to boot your Pi 3 off of an external drive scroll down to the next section of this page.Read More

Boot Raspberry Pi from a USB Mass Storage Device

By default, the Raspberry Pi boots from a microSD card. But since the release of the Raspberry Pi 3, new Pis have been able to boot from a USB mass storage device as well. Making that happen is a pretty easy thing to do, and it’s the subject of this how-to.

A word of warning: the new boot mode is in its experimental stage, so it might not work with your USB stick or hard drive. According to the Raspberry Pi Foundation, a couple of non-working examples are the Kingston DataTraveler 100 G3 32 GB and the Verbatim PinStripe 64 GB. The USB compatibility issue will only affect some of us, but the next warning is relevant to us all: setting the boot mode is permanent. With that said, this sounds much scarier than it is: your Pi will still boot preferentially from the microSD card, if one is plugged in.Read More

How to Multi-Boot Your Raspberry Pi with “BerryBoot”

If you want to spend less time swapping cards and more time playing with your Raspberry Pi, installing the BerryBoot multi-boot manager makes it dead simple to boot multiple operating systems from one SD card. Read on as we walk you through the process.

Why Do I Want to Do This?

BerryBoot is a boot management tool for the Raspberry Pi that adds quite a bit of functionality to the Raspberry Pi experience. The biggest benefit is that it allows you to boot more than one operating system off the SD card. You can store the operating systems either on the card itself or, if you want more room, you can configure BerryBoot to use the SD card only as a launcher and to run the operating systems off an attached hard drive.Read More

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