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On a Raspberry Pi 3 I have successfully enabled hardware boot from USB mass storage device, so I am able to write a Raspbian image on a USB hard disk and boot the pi from it.

Now, I have an already existing image on a microSD that I want to copy on the USB hard disk. Unfortunately, the system does not boot. So, there is something I have to do to boot an image copied from a microSD.

Any ideas?

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  • Is the reason it's not booting have anything to do with corruption/other problems with the files on the SD card? – user61421 Sep 30 '17 at 21:20
  • I would take a step by step approach. 1. Verify the SD boots and runs. 2. Attach HD. 3. Partition and copy root to HD. 4. Change HD /etc/fstab to mount it's root and change SD /boot.config.text – bstipe Oct 1 '17 at 13:57
  • I would take a step by step approach. 1. Verify the SD boots and runs. 2. Attach HD. 3. Partition and copy root to HD. 4. Change HD /etc/fstab to mount it's root and change SD /boot/cmdline.txt root to HD. 5. Move the SD to USB port to test USB boot. 6. Copy boot partition to HD. Fix and correct any problems as they are encountered. – bstipe Oct 1 '17 at 14:11
  • @CMalasadas the original SD card is perfectly working. As a test, I cloned the SD to the HD, then from HD to another SD, and even this SD works. Cloning procedure is not the issue. – Axeman Oct 1 '17 at 15:26
  • If you successfully cloned the SD to the HD, then what are you trying to accomplish? (Your question makes it seem like that is what you want to do) – user61421 Oct 1 '17 at 15:29
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You need to do 3 things:

  1. Make sure you have called the next Branch in config.txt to make your Pi use the new Bootcode.bin and Start.elf files.

  2. Point your cmdline.txt to root=/dev/sda2 for your filesystem.

  3. As root edit your /etc/fstab file to say /dev/sda2 / ext4 (I get rid of the other reference to boot)

Normally all goes ok but occasionally on some OS's when you start up the Mouse and Kbd dont work. I have 2 PI3's and the best (after many tries) OS's are Ubuntu 17.1 with the Mate desktop and Solydxk (based on Debian).

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  1. First thing to check is if there is enough power to start the USB HDD, as I believe you can only pull out 250mA through the USB on the RPi3 and this is OK for some HDD but not others.

  2. If your HDD is powered successfully then burn a fresh image to it using Win32DiskImager, to see if it is your image causing problems .

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  • I already said that I am able to write a fresh Raspbian image to the HD and boot from it without problems. – Axeman Oct 1 '17 at 15:23
  • so the obvious problem is the image you created. – Dr.Rabbit Oct 2 '17 at 2:03
  • Well if the "obvious" problem is the image, tell me an "obvious" solution, keeping in mind that image works when written on a SD but it doesn't work when written on a HD. – Axeman Oct 2 '17 at 8:10
  • Maybe your USB drive starts up too slowly, what brand / make is it? – Dr.Rabbit Oct 2 '17 at 8:34
  • It's a WD Black, in a USB external case. But the disk is powered with its own rail, and is active way before the RPi even starts. And today I've done a simple test to avoid any HD related problem: **I put the very same SD that boots in a USB card reader and it doesn't boot, in contrast with an SD with a fresh Raspbian image, that boots even in the card reader. ** – Axeman Oct 2 '17 at 13:20

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