I’m somewhat confused. I was able to download NOOBS from the Raspberry Pi web –site. I right click on the downloaded file (NOOBS ZIP) and unzip, NOOBS. I copy and paste NOOBS onto the micro SD card. I placed the micro SD card into the Raspberry Pi 2’s micro SD card reader. Its boots up normally and asked want to install Raspbian. I check for Raspbian installation and below, I click on USA keyboards. Raspbian install within 18 minutes. I rebooted the Raspberry Pi 2 operating system and everything comes up.

Now I want the Raspberry Pi 2 to boot up from the USB stick instead. I read where I can change the folder cmdline.txt. This folder, holds the command line, where I can edit the command line, that holds the root=/dev/mmcblk0p2 to root=/dev/sda2. This will tell the Raspberry Pi 2, to boot from the USB stick, instead from the micro SD card. I noticed that the cmdline.txt folder is in the /boot folder in NOOBS. So, I click on Terminal, on top of the Raspberry Pi 2 window. I type in, nano /boot/cmdline.txt. I was able to change where root=/dev/mmcblk0p2 to root=/dev/sda2. I was able to install the complete NOOBS system onto my USB stick. When the Raspberry Pi 2 begins to boot up, it stops and say, random: nonblocking pool is initialized. Nothing else happens after that.

NOOBS seems to be the only method that I can downloaded and run on my Raspberry Pi 2. I tried to download Raspbian Jesse Zip file. Once downloaded, I tried to extract it using Win32DiskImage utility. I click on write, to Raspbian Jesse Zip file, using the Win32DiskImage utility onto the micro USB card. When completed, nothing happens. I placed the micro SD card that has the extracted Raspbian Jesse operating system, into the Raspberry Pi 2 SD card reader, again nothing happens. Then I placed the micro SD card back into the P.C.’s card reader with the installed Raspbian Jesse operating system. The P.C. said, this SD card needs formatting. Windows cannot do a directory for that SD card.

I read from the Raspberry Pi web – site (Booting Raspberry Pi From USB Flash Drive). It said, please download the proper Raspbian image and not the NOOBS image. Only the proper Raspbian will work, if wanting to boot from the USB stick. Can anybody help me what I am doing wrong?

  • Assuming you used this could you please be more specific about what is not working with that? Also note that you will in any case need a SD card for the Pi to start! – Ghanima Mar 23 '16 at 17:08
  • 2
    Can you link to where you read the Pi can be booted from USB? I did not think this was possible. – joan Mar 23 '16 at 17:14
  • @joan: it's not possible. You can load a significant portion of the OS from a flash drive, but the SD card has to at least start the process. – Jacobm001 Mar 23 '16 at 17:18
  • I had heard some rumours that the RPi 3 might be able to PXE (network) boot from places other than a SD Card but I remain highly sceptical of such claims - and this probably doesn't address the OP's question at anything more than a tangent. – SlySven Mar 23 '16 at 17:35

The Raspberry Pi 3 will be able to boot from PXE, although this is not yet available. The references to USB boot were a misinterpretation of the writeup in the MagPi.

The Raspberry Pi 2 can do neither.

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