I installed raspian 3 on my new pi3b+ and something went weirdly wrong - twice.

I used an 8GB micro in the micro usb bay on the pi3 and loaded the installation files on an 8GB Sandisk Cruzer memory stick. I loaded the Cruzer stick using the instructions that came in the readme 1) used parted to setup the stick as fat 32 2) extracted the NOOBs zip file into its root.

I wasn't able to get the thing to boot with with micro usb card in the pi 3, so I just kept it out until I booted with the installation usb stick. When it booted, I inserted the micro and told the install to install the smaller, stripped down version of raspbian onto it.

That all seemed to go well, it told me the OS has been installed successfully and then I took the installer out and rebooted, expecting the os to have been written to the micro usb card in the pi 3. But on reboot, it hung at the starburst splash screen.

I thought something must have gone wrong in the installation and I decided to start over. I put the installation media back in and rebooted, expecting to see the install gui come up, but now this was hanging too, which I thought was weird because it had worked 30 minutes earlier. so I took a look a the install usb stick and was surprised to see that it had been over written and was now two different volumes, settings and boot. when I was expecting it to be the installer files I had copied over there.

I figured I must have screwed up and told the installer to install onto the wrong usb card, so I formatted the cruzer usb stick again, copied the installation files and rebooted with pi with it, I went through the installation process again and made double extra certain that I wasn't telling it to install in the usb stick but instead onto the micro usb. Again, the install appeared to go well, gave me a success message, and again I took to usb stick out and rebooted, only to have it hang again.

This time I took the micro-usb out and just let it boot with the install usb stick, it started to boot raspian but it got to a certain point and stopped. I read the messages and noticed that it appeared to be waiting for me to reinsert the micro usb card. I did, and it booted into raspbian and allowed to complete the installation.

I thought I was out of the woods so I took out the usb stick and rebooted, only to have it hang on the splash screen again. The only way I could get it to boot was to remove the micro usb, insert the installer usb, let it try to boot until it got to the part where it hangs, then reinsert the micro usb, then the boot continues and boots into the OS.

I took a look at the partitions on the pi and this is what I get:

Filesystem 1K-blocks Used Available Use% Mounted on /dev/root 5795408 2868732 2609236 53% / devtmpfs 470116 0 470116 0% /dev tmpfs 474724 0 474724 0% /dev/shm tmpfs 474724 6440 468284 2% /run tmpfs 5120 4 5116 1% /run/lock tmpfs 474724 0 474724 0% /sys/fs/cgroup /dev/sda6 69553 22540 47013 33% /boot tmpfs 94944 0 94944 0% /run/user/1000 /dev/sda5 30701 1580 26828 6% /media/pi/SETTINGS /dev/mmcblk0p6 499552 2321 466921 1% /media/pi/data /dev/mmcblk0p5 61302 21530 39772 36% /media/pi/boot

Has anyone here had such strangeness?

2 Answers 2


I have never used NOOBS but your problem can be explained as following:

It seems on loading the Cruzer stick following a readme (what readme?) you also install the boot loader on the stick. Now you can boot from the stick but only without a SD Card inserted into its slot. This is due to the fixed boot order of the RPi 3B+ as desribed at Raspberry Pi boot modes. If a SD Card is inserted in the slot the RasPi will allways try to boot from it. If it fails it does not look for another bootable device. It gets stuck.

If you insert the SD Card after booting from the installer stick then you can install an operating system onto the SD Card but obviously without the boot loader. It remains on the installer stick.

And that's it. If you try to boot from the SD Card then there is no boot loader. It gets stuck. You have to remove the SD Card to use the boot loader from installer stick, then reinserting the SD Card to continue boot up.

I suggest to follow the alternative to using NOOBS as described at Raspberry Pi Software Guide section: Download and image Raspbian directly.

  • Yes, you re-described my problem exactly. Do you know a way to get it to install everything on the micro sd card and eliminate the need to use the usb stick to boot? To answer your question, the name of the file is INSTRUCTIONS-README.txt, although I am not sure how important the name of that file is to this problem. Dec 28, 2018 at 20:12
  • @RobertBaker No, I cannot help you much. As already said I have never used NOOBS. I could not find any information about installation of the boot loader so my idea was to look at that readme.txt. I suggest to follow the alternative to using NOOBS as described at Raspberry Pi Software Guide section: Download and image Raspbian directly. Most of us do it.
    – Ingo
    Dec 28, 2018 at 20:25
  • I see. If I understand you correctly, my mistake may have been in using the OS and installer that was specifically designed to support this exact hardware, and that I should use some alternative. I will consider that hint strongly as I continue to attempt to resolve. Dec 28, 2018 at 20:31

I don't know what "raspian 3" might be.

It appears you are trying to install to a SD Card using the Pi itself!!!

You can't (at least not without additional hardware).

Try following the instruction on https://www.raspberrypi.org/downloads/

I suggest using Raspbian. See Should I install NOOBS or Raspbian?

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