You Can Boot A Raspberry Pi 3 From A Hard Drive Or Over Ethernet

You Can Boot A Raspberry Pi 3 From A Hard Drive Or Over Ethernet

The big news about the Raspberry Pi 3 was built-in Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, but it turns out there was another set of new tricks: New boot options. This feature’s still in beta, but over at the Raspberry Pi Foundation, they outline how to boot from a mass storage device or over ethernet. Right now, they’re still working out some quirks, but you can edit a TXT file to enable the new boot modes. This means the Raspberry Pi 3 can boot from a flash drive or a USB hard drive instead of a SD card. This will likely be a little slower than the SD card, but it’s still useful for those of us with a ton of extra flash drives sitting around. There’s also ethernet support for network booting built in there too. This is all still in beta and a little unpredictable, but if you don’t mind toying around with experimental features, you’ll find everything you need over on GitHub.

How to boot from a USB Mass Storage Device on a Raspberry Pi 3 [GitHub via Raspberry Pi]


  • If they could increase the BUS width and incorporate USB 3.0 ports on the next release of the P, then using an USB flash drive as a boot device, wouldn’t be too much of an issue, from a read/write speed point of view.

  • You can also do this using BerryBoot. BerryBoot itself needs to be on the SD card but it can load your selected OS/filesystem from a USB storage device.

    I use BerryBoot to dual boot between OpenElec and RetroPi. Works quite nicely.

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