I recently purchased a Seagate 1 terabyte Passport disk drive to move up from SD cards. I copyed the Raspbian image to the drive using the SD card copier tool it came with. Then I set up USB boot mode by opening the terminal and typeing in:

echo program_usb_boot_mode=1 | sudo tee -a /boot/config.txt

And then I typed:

vcgencmd otp_dump | grep 17:

And then it replied:


The tutorial I used said that it should reply this to indicate it programed the OTP sucsesfully, So I shut down the Pi, removed the SD card, and then powered on again. The rainbow screen showed up on the monitor, and the scrolling text appered, but it said a buntch of error messages instead, and one of them said my drive was unsuported and it could not boot. I do not Know what on earth I did wrong and I am very frusterated and I need help.

  • What format is the drive? How is the drive powered? Oct 28, 2017 at 21:44

2 Answers 2


I have been troubleshooting my own USB HDD boot for a few weeks now, and while I haven't had your exact issue, I wonder if part of your OS files on the disk are corrupt or are missing.

The fact that you get the "Rainbow Screen" is a good sign; that tells you, most likely, that your HDD is OK and has the essential booting files in the /boot partition that it needs. But the /boot or /rootfs partition could be corrupt or missing files.

I am not an expert, but I would try this. It would, at least, help you narrow down your issue.

  1. Put you SD card back in, and boot up.
  2. Go into the /media/pi directory and check that you have a /boot and /rootfs mounted.
  3. IF they aren't mounted, or some files are missing, you probably should go and format your HDD then reburn the disk image to it again. Make sure that the disk image is fully copied and be sure to eject the disk.

It is known that the Raspberry Pi 3 may have problems with some devices to boot. But you can use a special bootcode.bin-only boot mode. This will use a SD Card containing only the file bootcode.bin. Once bootcode.bin is loaded from the SD card, the Pi continues booting using USB host mode. How to setup this you can look at Raspberry Pi boot modes.

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