I know this question has been asked a few times, but technology changes and so I wanted to check the current state. Is it possible to re-purpose and old (rotating, magnetic) usb Harddisk to boot my Raspberry Pi 3 from? (and/or would it be possible with a RPI4?) Would I still need a micro SD card? your insights/experience is much appreciated, chris V

  • If you have a USB carrier it's perfectly possible to boot a 3B, 3B+ or 3A+ from any USB stick, hard drive or SSD without an SDCard. The 3B needs to boot once from a SDCard to set the OTP bit for USB booting.
    – Dougie
    Commented Apr 25, 2020 at 21:28
  • Thank you @Dougie. For now I have the Berryboot bootloader on the SD card. This then loads the OS from my old 500GB hdd. I think I read somewhere that once that OTP bit is set, there is no turning back to "boot from SD card". Can you confirm this?
    – Chris V.
    Commented Apr 27, 2020 at 15:02
  • Nope not true. The OTP just means boot from USB if there's no SDCard or no bootable files on the SDCard.
    – Dougie
    Commented Apr 27, 2020 at 21:04


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