By default, your Raspberry Pi boots up from the SD card that incorporates the working system. Right here we are going to present how one can ditch the microSD card and boot your Raspberry Pi Four from USB proper from an exterior SSD drive.

Why You Ought to Ditch microSD Storage

Whereas the microSD storage resolution is enough for many small initiatives and easy IoT functions, it isn’t optimum when the Raspberry Pi Four is used as a full-blown laptop. Aside from the apparent velocity distinction between an SSD and microSD card, the latter rapidly emerges because the weak hyperlink in functions requiring frequent writes to the file system.

How to boot Raspberry Pi 4 from USB port

Whereas each the SD card and SSD make use of the NAND flash reminiscence, they aren’t the identical. The NAND flash cells in a microSD card can solely be overwritten a finite variety of occasions, and the frequent writes to the file system will put on out the microSD storage in a short time.

A contemporary SSD, alternatively, employs a classy on-board processor to carry out computerized wear-levelling routines. This prevents uneven put on of the NAND flash modules. SSDs even have a bigger array of those flash modules to unfold out writes sparsely. This makes them higher at withstanding the wear and tear and tear of frequent disk writes in comparison with microSD storage.

Booting From an SSD Isn’t Simple

Because the Pi Four isn’t geared up with an onboard SATA or m.2 connector, the USB port is the one technique to join a 2.5-inch or m.2 SSD. Booting the Pi Four off USB additionally requires updating the firmware. Messing with the system’s EEPROM is a dangerous affair, so be sure that your Pi Four doesn’t abruptly lose energy through the course of.

Moreover, not all USB to SATA/m.2 adapters play properly with the Pi Four at this juncture. The Raspberry Pi basis is engaged on getting USB boot to work reliably with all USB-to-SATA SSD enclosures, however there’s no telling when the function will likely be built-in right into a future official launch of Raspberry Pi OS. Till then, booting reliably by way of an SSD is a matter of discovering the correct exterior USB enclosure. However even when your SSD or USB enclosure mixture doesn’t work, booting by way of a quick and compact USB flash drive, such because the Samsung Match, remains to be higher than the slower microSD card.

Getting Began

Before you purchase a brand new 2.5-inch SSD enclosure, be sure that it helps UASP (USB Connected SCSI Protocol). This new protocol makes use of a quicker SCSI command set and leverages the wonders of parallel communication by way of Native Command Queuing to enhance switch speeds significantly.

How to boot Raspberry Pi 4 from USB port

Right here’s what you want for this endeavor:

  1. Raspberry Pi 4
  2. Present microSD card with Raspberry Pi OS put in
  3. SSD with a USB enclosure. You additionally want a 2.5-inch USB drive enclosure.
  4. Web connectivity for firmware and system updates

Methods to Boot Raspberry Pi Four from USB

1. Boot your Pi from the microSD card.

2. Upon reaching the desktop, open terminal and kind the next instructions to replace the distribution.

3. With the OS up to date, the system have to be prepped to obtain the most recent secure firmware replace. This requires enhancing a selected system configuration file.

How to boot Raspberry Pi 4 from USB port

4. The default worth of the FIRMWARE_RELEASE_STATUS parameter is “vital,” which have to be modified to “secure” in an effort to set up the most recent firmware. Press Ctrl + O to commit modifications to the file after which Ctrl + X to exit.

5. Replace the firmware with the next command to allow the brand new bootloader.

How to boot Raspberry Pi 4 from USB port

6. After the replace has accomplished efficiently, reboot your Raspberry Pi 4.

7. Confirm whether or not the replace was profitable by typing the next command within the terminal.

The newest firmware replace will likely be displayed. It must be the June 15, 2020, or later launch for the USB boot function to work efficiently. The newest secure bootloader model as of this writing was July 16, 2020.

How to boot Raspberry Pi 4 from USB port

8. Subsequent, clone your microSD card onto the SSD that you simply intend to make use of as the brand new boot system. That is greatest performed with the “SD Card Copier” utility discovered within the Equipment part of the Raspberry Pi OS GUI.

9. Shut down the Raspberry Pi 4, take away the microSD card, and join the USB boot drive.

10. Energy the Pi Four once more and wait patiently for the OS in addition from the USB drive. In the event you see the display screen beneath, congratulations, as you have got efficiently managed in addition your Raspberry Pi Four from a quick storage medium connected by way of the USB port.

How to boot Raspberry Pi 4 from USB port


The Raspberry Pi Four generally is a highly effective system when you can unlock its potential. By switching to SSD, you may simply get a efficiency enhance and use it for extra intensive operation, like operating an internet server or a minecraft server.


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