I was working fine with my Raspberry Pi 3 B+ rocking the Raspbian OS for about a week now. I could ssh in everyday and even installed Plex and streamed some movies. Today however, after I got a new external hard drive, I tried to format it using exFat but it didn't succeed. I did a reboot and now, it won't ssh in. It won't even ping... the raspberry pi won't even connect to LAN.

For the record I'm running a headless setup and I can't connect a monitor to troubleshoot the problem. When formatting I made sure to specify the right drive and partition (/dev/sdb1) so I didn't mess with the SD card containing the Raspbian OS.

Is some kind of error prompt preventing the OS startup ?

  • It's almost as if the USB drive is acting as boot (3B+ can do this as boot bit set in write once memory by default). Can you boot without it plugged in? Are you sure you did not format the SD card? – user115418 May 9 '20 at 20:20
  • 100% positive I didn't format the SD Card. I unplugged the HDD still nothing. – Mehdiway May 9 '20 at 20:32
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    It's possible the drive shorted the USB (though I've never done it) - maybe test with a new card and Raspbian light first. You can add the ssh and wpa_config to the /boot at anytime and Raspbian with re-configure itself- that may get you back in. Boot problem stick on the Pi forum would be my next call... – user115418 May 9 '20 at 22:12
  • I can't connect a monitor to troubleshoot the problem well, connect to a TV, you have one of those, right? a TV? because you watch movies – Jaromanda X May 10 '20 at 1:29
  • Why I meant is that I don't have a mini HDMI cable. Thanks for nothing :) – Mehdiway May 10 '20 at 9:35

It is always wise to add nofail to the mount line for any USB connected drives.

This allows the boot to continue if the drive is not connected or other error occurs. e.g.:

PARTUUID=420a64fe-63e40d3f670a /mnt/TimeMachine ext4 nofail,users,rw,noexec 0 0

Even if the USB drive is not connected, the boot will continue.

  • So a faulty mount actually stops the boot ?! That seems unnecessary doesn't it ? – Mehdiway May 12 '20 at 6:01

I have added an entry in /etc/fstab to auto mount the external HDD, I guess that's what was causing the boot problem. I ended up booting from a USB stick with Raspbian in it and removed the entry in /etc/fstab that was causing the problem and now it's working fine.

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