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How to boot Raspberry Pi from USB

November 24, 2022


I have recently ordered a Raspberry Pi 4 8GB, which I plan to use as a home server to run a small Kubernetes cluster. So far, I am happy about the form factor and hardware specs, but one thing I'd like to change straight from the start: instead of an SD card, I want to boot my Raspberry from an SSD drive connected via USB.

It's easier than I expected to do that:

  1. Download, install, and run Raspberry Pi Imager.
  1. Click "CHOOSE OS" and then select "Misc utility images" - "Bootloader" - "USB Boot":
  1. Insert an SD card that you can overwrite, select "CHOOSE STORAGE", and click "WRITE".

  2. Insert this SD card into your Raspberry Pi and load.

Your Raspberry will blink with a green light in about 10-15 seconds. Also, if it's connected to a display, you will see a blank green screen. So what happened is that Raspberry loaded from the SD card and updated the Raspberry's boot EEPROM so now it will boot from USB first.

  1. Turn your Raspberry off and remove the SD card.

  2. Connect a USB drive with OS to your Raspberry and turn it on.

Now your Raspberry Pi loads from a USB drive.