Booting Operating System from SSD USB drive

Le Potato: I would like to the OS to reside and boot from a USB SSD: a device that is designed for wear and tear, unlike the SD card.

Is it possible to install a boot-loader that transfers execution to a USB SSD for booting up an OS (Ubuntu / Raspian etc.)? If yes, then a link to setup instructions is appreciated: thank you

Thanks for the prompt reply.

I believe that you are indicating that the GitHub Flash tool will flash an eMMC (attached via USB) with a boot loader AND the operating system: replacing the SD card. No more SD card.

If my understanding of the above is correct, I think it is possible to do the same with a SATA-SSD or NVMe-SSD attached via USB?

  1. The board requires an MMC device to boot whether MicroSD card or eMMC module.
  2. You only need the bootloader on that boot device. libretech-flash-tool will write the bootloader to the device you specify.
  3. You can flash our regular images on any USB or MMC device and it will boot. The eMMC or MicroSD card boot device has to stay there.
  4. Our operating system images use a copy on write filesystem (btrfs) that is more reliable than what Raspberry Pi provides for their boards. It is usually unnecessary to use USB devices.

Thank you for clarifying. Given that I do not want to use an eMMC, then I am required to install a micro SD card with a boot loader. Please review / comment on my plan:

  1. flash & install sd card: aLibre (Ubuntu) image to a 32GB micro SD card
  2. flash the same image to a USB connected SSD from MacBook using Raspberry Pi installer
  3. connect the SSD via USB
  4. configure bootloader to select the USB drive

As I understand it: flashing the SD card with the Libre-ubuntu image installs the bootloader. Is it possible to configure this bootloader to execute Ubuntu installed on the USB-SSD?

Your guidance / comments are helpful. Thank you

Wipe the MicroSD card and only use libretech-flash-tool to write the bootloader. Writing a full image will cause it to boot from the image.

libretech-flash-tool works from MacOS (Intel) Ventura?

We don’t support MacOS. Use a Linux based machine or VM.

If I have a 2nd new micro SD card and connect it via USB to La Potato, will libretech-flash-tool work? Thanks

Yes, it will work. Just make sure you target the right device. If connected via USB, it should be /dev/sda (if only one device).

System now boots from the USB-NVMe drive.

The ethernet LEDs fails to illuminate and does not connect to the network. I tested the cable with a second Potato (SD card only) and the ethernet LEDs illuminate.

I tested the ethernet by booting ubuntu from a good SD card (no NVME): ethernet = good / working.

What can be done to troubleshoot ethernet? I am using a 2.4 A power source.

There’s a mismatch between the bootloader and the Linux kernel. Can you provide the output of uname -r?

I am so sorry, I am completely lost. How can you wipe the sd card and still load the bootloader if you need the os from your pi to run/install the bootloader?

Is there any tutorials on how to do this that will anser/explain it to me like I’m 5? :wink:

If I installed the bootloader on my sda, then do I just place a blank/wiped MicroSD card in the slot and I am done?

Pretty sure the bootloader has to be on the SD or eMMC, not on a usb drive.

I’ve been running a pair of renegades for quite a while now, love this board.
I’ve been able to successfully flash the bootloader to a spare microSD and boot from a fresh OS install on an SSD. But my question now is if there’s a way for me to make a backup image of a system already running on a microSD and move it to an SSD so I can just migrate what I had already going on instead of starting from scratch.

On Linux or Mac (or any other Unix) you can use dd on the command line.