Default behavior for a Raspberry Pi is to boot from the micro SD card. However, this behavior can be changed via the Raspberry Pi imager tool, where we can change the boot order for the device. This allows us to configure our Raspberry Pi to prioritize booting from USB before micro SD card. If the USB port contains nothing bootable, then it will resort to the micro SD card. In this tutorial, you will see how to boot a Raspberry Pi from USB.
In this tutorial you will learn:
- How to download the Raspberry Pi imaging tool
- How to configure booting to USB via Raspberry Pi imaging tool
|Category||Requirements, Conventions or Software Version Used|
|Other||Privileged access to your Linux system as root or via the
# – requires given linux commands to be executed with root privileges either directly as a root user or by use of
$ – requires given linux commands to be executed as a regular non-privileged user
How to Boot a Raspberry Pi From USB
- In case you do not already have it, you can download the Raspberry Pi imaging tool from by navigating to the Raspberry Pi’s website and going to the Raspberry Pi OS download page. On this page, we need to download the Raspberry Pi imaging tool. Be sure to select the one that corresponds to your current operating system – either Linux, Windows, or MacOS.
Insert your micro SD card into the computer, in case you have not already. It does not matter if you already have Raspberry Pi OS installed and configured on the SD card, or if you are planning to do it in these steps. We can still edit the boot order either way.
- Open the Raspberry Pi imaging tool and click on the ‘Choose OS’ option.
- On the operating system selection window, scroll down to find the option for ‘Misc utility images’ and click on it.
- Next, click on the bootloader option.
- Then, click on the ‘USB Boot’ option. This will configure our Raspberry Pi to prioritize booting from the USB drive. If no USB drive is found, then it will attempt to boot from the micro SD card.
- Lastly, choose your storage device (the micro SD card that you use for your Raspberry Pi) and then click on ‘Write’ to finish writing the changes to the storage card.
Once you insert your micro SD card and USB drive into the Raspberry Pi and power on the device, you should notice that it boots to the USB drive instead of the micro SD card, unless no bootable image is found in the USB.
In this tutorial, we saw how to boot a Raspberry Pi from a USB drive. To edit the boot priority for a Raspberry Pi, we must use the Raspberry Pi imaging tool, which unlocks a lot of configuration options, including the ability to edit the boot priority and instruct the device to boot to USB instead of the micro SD card.