I have spent well over 2 hours on trying to boot my Pi 3B with USB. From what I have understood, as long as the program_usb_boot_mode is set to 1 you can simply plug in the USB and boot. However, in my case, nothing happens. I have a seagate 4TB expansion HDD with its own power supply. When I plug it in and start the Pi, the HDD "boots up" and I see the blue power light. After about 5-10 seconds, the HDD shuts down and nothing happens. Anyone know what the problem is?

PS: vcgencmd top_dump | grep 17 gives 302000 etc (correct output)

  • program_usb_boot_mode only needs to be present on the SD card you are using to "flip the bit" and reprogram the R-Pi to look for USB devices at boot. I've found the uppermost USB ports to be more willing to boot and the OS has to be very recent and (I believe) Raspbian. Nov 27, 2018 at 21:18

1 Answer 1


It is known that the Raspberry Pi 3B have problems with booting from an USB drive. That was one of the main reasons the foundation have released the Raspberry Pi 3B+ with fixed and improved booting from USB. The problems are documented at Raspberry Pi boot modes:

For the original Raspberry Pi and the Raspberry Pi 2 (based on the BCM2835 and BCM2836 devices), and in situations where the Pi 3 fails to boot, there is a new method of booting from one of the new boot modes (MSD or ethernet).

You should try Special bootcode.bin-only boot mode and if necessary create the file timeout.

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