Boot Raspberry Pi 4 from SSD (or Raspberry Pi 400) drive is getting way more easier than before, but it still require several manual steps. And this is exactly what I will show you in this article.

The easiest, official and stable way to boot Raspberry Pi 4 from SSD. No shuffling and straight to the point. Coming up.

How to Boot Raspberry Pi 4 From SSD

What you need to boot Raspberry Pi 4 from SSD?

As I already told you we are not going to waste any time here and we are going right to the things that you will need to successfully boot your Raspberry Pi 4 from SSD or of course your Raspberry Pi 400.

  • You will need a microSD card just for the initial part and we will completely remove it later.
  • You will also need a compatible USB SSD drive or SATA to USB adapter and SATA SSD. I have a table with SSD disks and SATA adapters reported to be working by you and me and you can find it below:
ModelAffiliate Link
SSD HP P600, 250GB, USB 3.1https://amzn.to/2B7qIDi
Samsung 860 EVO 500GB 2.5 Inch SATA III Internal SSDhttps://amzn.to/37o2hNS
ELUTENG USB3 SATA Adapter 2.5 Inch SATA to USB 3.0 https://amzn.to/2MWfd49
SanDisk SSD PLUS 240 GB Sata III 2.5 Inchhttps://amzn.to/37AG27e
Samsung BAR Plus 64 GB Type-A 200 MB/s USB 3.1https://amzn.to/3fqJSCO
SanDisk Ultra 32 GB USB Flash Drive USB 3.0https://amzn.to/3frXg9J
Samsung MZ-MTD1280 (128GB mSATA) & Element14 Pi Desktop (rev 3) HATReported by Steve Kowalski in the comments
Sandisk x110 128GBReported by Con Ben in my YouTube Channel
SanDisk 256GB Extreme PRO USB 3.1 Solid State Flash Drivehttps://amzn.to/2NtLyQc
Crucial MX500 250GB 3D NAND SATA 2.5 Inch Internal SSD (needs SATA adapter)https://amzn.to/2YvVAq7
Samsung 860 QVO 1TB Solid State Drive (needs SATA adapter)https://amzn.to/2YAyGhz
CanaKit Raspberry Pi 4 4GB Starter Kit – 4GB RAMhttps://amzn.to/3eyGi9S
Kingspec Z3 Type C USB 3.1 External SSD (Reported by CraftSense in my YouTube)Banggood link
Geekworm X825 2.5 inch SATA HDD/SSD Expansion Board
(Reported by Jay in peyanski.com)
https://amzn.to/2QML60Q
Kingston A400 120G Internal SSD M.2 SA400M8
(Reported by Luiz Barreto in peyanski.com)
https://amzn.to/32kRR0k
Raspberry Pi 4 and 400 Compatible USB boot drives

If you have a device that is not listed go ahead and try it and then don’t forget to report it in the comments below if it is working. I can confirm that the external HP P600 SSD is working without any issues so far. 

  • Apparently you will need a Raspberry Pi 4 with any amount of RAM or Raspberry Pi 400. If you want to buy one, you can use the links below:
  • Raspberry Pi OS is also needed and the easiest way to get it is to:
to boot raspberry pi 4 from ssd you will need Raspberry Pi OS
Writing Raspberry Pi OS on SD card for the Raspberry Pi 4 or Pi 400

Connect to Raspberry Pi over SSH (optional step)

After writing is completed you can create an empty file called ssh with no extension in the root folder of your SD card.

On macOS you can execute the following command in the Terminal:

touch /Volumes/boot/ssh

On Linux/Windows you can use any text editor or you can copy/paste and rename one of the existing text files inside the your micro SD card. Just don’t forget to remove any file extensions and leave the file with ssh name only

This file and this step as a whole is only needed if you intend to connect to your Raspberry PI over the network via SSH and not to use a monitor, keyboard or mouse. Otherwise you can freely skip it,

Boot the Raspberry Pi from SD card


Then you only have to unplug from SD card reader/slot and plug the SD card into your Raspberry Pi and power it up.

Plug the SD card into the Raspberry Pi and power it on
Plug the SD card into the Raspberry Pi and power it on

How to Boot Raspberry Pi 4 From SSD

When the Raspberry Pi boot in its operating system, start the Terminal from the Raspberry Pi OS or connect to your Raspberry over SSH and be ready for some console fun that I’m about to show you right now.

  • Update your Raspberry Pi OS and Firmware by type the following:
sudo apt update
sudo apt full-upgrade
sudo rpi-update
  • Reboot your Raspberry Pi 4 or 400.
sudo reboot
  • After reboot login again and install the latest bootloader.
sudo rpi-eeprom-update -d -a
  • Launch the raspi-config tool to select some important, but easy settings.
sudo raspi-config

Go to Advanced Options > Bootloader version > select Latest Use the latest version boot ROM software > Reset boot ROM to defaults? select No > OK.

To boot Raspberry Pi 4 from SSD you have to select later bootloader version from raspi-config.
To boot Raspberry Pi 4 from SSD you have to select later bootloader version from raspi-config.

After that go again to Advanced Options > Boot Order > select USB Boot > OK.

Boot order should bes set to USB to boot raspberry Pi 4 from SSD.
Boot order should be set to USB to boot raspberry Pi 4 from SSD.

You can exit the raspi-config by click on Finish button, but don’t reboot the Raspberry Pi yet, we have to create one cloning first and then we can try to boot Raspberry Pi 4 from SSD for the first time.

  • Launch the SD Card Copier tool from the Start menu (Raspberry Pi icon) > Accessories section in the Raspberry Pi OS.
  • Connect your SSD drive to the Raspberry Pi and clone the microSD card to the SSD by select the following:
    • As source or Copy From Device – choose your SD card (it is usually marked as /dev/mmcblkX).
    • As destination or Copy To Device – choose your USB SSD drive (it is usually marked as /dev/sda).
  • Shutdown the Raspbery Pi, leave only the SSD drive connected and throw away your SD card! Actually if you want to throw something throw one Subscribe click on my Newsletter. Thank you.
  • Power on your device and Boot Raspberry pi 4 from SSD successfully and enjoy your cheap, but fast IoT beast.
Before trying to boot Raspberry Pi 4 from SSD - clone your SD card over the SSD with SD Card Copier.
Before trying to boot Raspberry Pi 4 from SSD – clone your SD card over the SSD with SD Card Copier.

Support My Work!

You now know how to boot Raspberry Pi 4 from SSD drive or its brother in war the Raspberry Pi 400. The benefits of doing this are a lot: you will get faster speed, more storage and last, but not least more reliability compared to an microSD card.

I’m using such setup for over 7-8 months now and I’m more than happy with the performance and stability of my Raspberry Pi 4.

If you want to secure this blog existence you can become one of my supporters. You can see exactly how in this section of my site.

I can’t thank enough to all wonderful guys that are supporting my work already – you are amazing!

Any other sort of engagement on this site and my YouTube channel does really help out a lot with the Google & YouTube algorithms, so make sure you hit the subscribe, as well as the Like and Bell buttons.

If you are just entering the Smart Home world you could also buy my digital product called: Smart Home – Getting Started Actionable Guide 👉 LINK

Also feel free to add me on Twitter by searching for @KPeyanski.  You can find me on my Discord server as well.

Stay safe and don’t forget – Home Smart, But Not Hard!


5 Comments

James · 27/01/2021 at 11:23 pm

You should post this on agora road. I know a lot of users are into retro stuff over there.
https://forum.agoraroad.com/index.php?forums/video-games.36/

    Kiril · 28/01/2021 at 7:51 am

    Hey James, thanks for the suggestion why retro? Do you mean to use the Raspberry for retro gaming?

Benoît · 05/02/2021 at 7:44 pm

Thank you for your job !

    Kiril · 05/02/2021 at 10:17 pm

    You are so welcome! Did it work for you?

Darko · 28/04/2021 at 7:39 pm

Hello Kiril, First and foremost: thanks for a great lesson!

I managed to do almost everything, RPi 4 is trying to start with SSD, but without success.
The reason: I switched the existing SSD from the old RPi3, on which the Home Assistant OS and the whole configuration of the smart home are already installed.
So I didn’t take the last step in your manual: I didn’t clone the SD card to the SSD.

Question: Is it possible to switch an existing SSD with its installation to RPi4 without having to repeat the whole installation.

Thanks in advance.

Darko

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