RPi3 USB Boot is now available (BETA)

Hi guys,

as there are ongoing discussions about the reliability of SD cards with RPi also in this forum, some might be happy to read this:


With this “update”, it’s possible to use USB sticks or even SSD devices (in USB cases) for booting your RPi3 (does only work with RPi3, not Gen.1 nor 2). This should make openHAB even more stable!

I haven’t tried this yet, but as it comes directly from the raspberry foundation, it should work I assume.

But: It’s still BETA! So use at your own risk!


Thanks for the heads up on this. Looks promising.

This is exciting news. Even more exciting is the boot from ethernet option they are also working on. If you have a bunch of remote Pis running your sensors, something like that would greatly enhance maintenance.

It does work, BUT:
if you perform an apt-get upgrade on the usb drive it doesn’t boot any more and you have to insert the sd card again and perform the necessary steps from the tutorial again.
That is the reason I had to install openHAB2 manually and not through apt. Otherwise I was not able to perform any updates to openHAB2.

Today I found the solution for this problem and would like to share it to all other RPi3 usb boot mode users:

Delete the file /boot/.firmware_revision
Perform sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get -y dist-upgrade && sudo BRANCH=next rpi-update
and voila, RPi3 continues to boot from usb (128GB ssd in my case).

I’ve used your method to install a bootable USB thumb drive to my RPi3 and I have to say that it worked really well.
But I decided to make a copy to an identical USB drive so that I could experiment, and for some reason the new USB drive did not boot. I used dd to make an image on my local laptop and to retreive it to the new drive.

Being a noob, I was wondering if I used the right method and it is should have copied the entire thumb drive.
I was hoping that this method would work so if I need to use a different Pi or the drive failed, I would have an easy way to recover.

How do you backup to restore on a new Pi or new drive?

My command for dd was similar to this one:
sudo dd bs=1m if=~/Desktop/2016-09-23-raspbian-jessie.img of=/dev/rdisk2
This was for the restore, I did the reverse for the backup

I’m using raspiBackup.sh, BUT: the support for USB Boot mode will be implemented with version, it’s not published yet and I have a pre-version for testing (works pretty well).

Your dd command: I’m far being away from a Linux expert, but I think when you want to create an image the disk must be unmounted.

Anyone running openhabian image from network boot (ethernet) option?

If you are looking for instructions, just do whatever necessary to get Raspbian bootable from network, then install openHABian following the manual setup path: http://docs.openhab.org/installation/openhabian.html#manual-setup

OK thanks…and if I’m not mistaken, there is way in openHABian to store user config to a USB drive/SD card?

Yes, there are many options. You can boot from SD, USB or ethernet. You can also choose one of the many hybrid options. My (personal) preferred solution is a simple SD card plus a good backup strategy but the ethernet solution definitely has it’s pros.

Thanks…I’m only seeing the option to move the entire system root (is this all of “/”?) from SD to USB/SSD. What I’ll like to do is boot via ethernet, but have the user config partition (is this just /etc/openhab2?) be on the SD or USB.

Wouldn’t moving the entire root ("/") still cause the write frequency issue to occur on the SD or USB therefore wearing them out?

Please consider: https://community.openhab.org/t/openhabian-problem-after-upgrade/23446/8

Shouldn’t it be the other way around? The system can be lost and reinstalled. What you want to store in a safe place (e.g. a RAID inside a NAS) is your configuration. I’d suggest to either boot from network completely or have a complete SD card setup with a decoupled backup running against your NAS. @sihui mentioned RaspiBackup endless times and it’s exactly what you should be looking in in the second scenario.

I backup the config of my OH to a NAS automatically.
This is fine as long as the setup is not too complex. Just copy the config over again to a fresh openhabian.

However when you start to add more stuff… e.g. setup influxdb + grafana the restore process gets ugly.

I’m still looking for the best option to fully backup my openhabian … like a full DD or something to let me fully restore the whole system on a spare PI just in case.

Other option might be a micro pc with integrated raid1 … few are available.

As I already mentioned in several posts:


Any device which can be mounted on Linux can store the backup (USB disk, USB stick, nfs, samba, sshfs, …). The common Linux backup tools dd, tar and rsync using hardlinks can be used to create the backup

Or take a look at Amanda:

Changes since v1.2
Add the Amanda backup system, preconfigured by @mstormi (#12720)

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Agree with @sihui about the options mentioned or what I do is keeping it very simple. I just bought a few spare sd cards and every now and then I do a very simple clone withhttps://github.com/billw2/rpi-clone manually. And optionally as an assurance your backup is perfect after the clone just swp the sd cards, put the clone in as live and put the live sd aside as backup.