merket
Posts: 4
Joined: Wed Nov 29, 2023 5:50 pm

Booting from SSD, Drive partition and file format

Wed Nov 29, 2023 6:00 pm

Hello,

For speed and durability I would like to set my first Pi (4B 4GB) on an SSD drive via USB 3.
I watched some youtube videos and followed as much as I can.

My current problem is that; I flashed my SSD with the Raspberry Pi Imager and installed latest 64 bit on it.
but when I check the drive in windows drive manager, I see that the main boot drive is FAT32 (not even ExFat) there's a second partition with 13GBs and a 99GB unpartitioned section.

I believe Pi Os doesn't natively support NTFS... How would I go about setting this boot disk on an NTFS and preferably utilise all the capacity on 2 or single partition?

Also, I flashed the drive without even formatting it. Would the imager have used ExFat if I had formatted it like that first, or does it always convert the main boot partition to Fat32?

DirkS
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Re: Booting from SSD, Drive partition and file format

Wed Nov 29, 2023 7:20 pm

merket wrote:
Wed Nov 29, 2023 6:00 pm
Also, I flashed the drive without even formatting it. Would the imager have used ExFat if I had formatted it like that first, or does it always convert the main boot partition to Fat32?
Imager actually overwrites what's on the SD card, including any existing partition / format information

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kerry_s
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Re: Booting from SSD, Drive partition and file format

Wed Nov 29, 2023 7:21 pm

there's no choice with images.
the first is fat32 needed for /boot, the second is linux standard ext4

windows can't see linux formatted partitions.

it's up to the creators how they make the images, some do it different.

i'm on a fedora 39 spin. it uses 3 partitions
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FTrevorGowen
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Re: Booting from SSD, Drive partition and file format

Wed Nov 29, 2023 8:52 pm

merket wrote:
Wed Nov 29, 2023 6:00 pm
Hello,

For speed and durability I would like to set my first Pi (4B 4GB) on an SSD drive via USB 3.
I watched some youtube videos and followed as much as I can.

My current problem is that; I flashed my SSD with the Raspberry Pi Imager and installed latest 64 bit on it.
but when I check the drive in windows drive manager, I see that the main boot drive is FAT32 (not even ExFat) there's a second partition with 13GBs and a 99GB unpartitioned section.

I believe Pi Os doesn't natively support NTFS... How would I go about setting this boot disk on an NTFS and preferably utilise all the capacity on 2 or single partition?

Also, I flashed the drive without even formatting it. Would the imager have used ExFat if I had formatted it like that first, or does it always convert the main boot partition to Fat32?
Given that you "saw" a 99GB unpartitioned section that suggest you didn't (haven't) completed the install process by (hopefully being able to) let the P4B boot from said SSD (via a USB-to-SATA connection?) and complete the install process during which a partition will be expanded to fill (and allow you to use) all of the SSD.
However, personally, I would not install that way, because, depending upon the USB-to-SATA device type, there's a possibility of USB-boot hiccups.
My approach has been to perform a simpler, and faster (less partition expansion delay) on a uSDHC/XC of moderate size (32GB or 64GB are currently good-to-fair value-for-money) and subsequently use Raspberry PiOS's provided sdcard copier tool to transfer the system to a (larger) SSD for USB-boot use** or simply use the SSD as a data drive.
Trev.
** as per my, now a little old, cloning examples below:

Cloning to a larger uSD card:
https://www.cpmspectrepi.uk/raspberry_p ... OnP4B.html
and https://www.cpmspectrepi.uk/raspberry_p ... _SDXC_Card
Cloning to a usb-to-SATA connected SSD (Brief/summary notes)
https://www.cpmspectrepi.uk/raspberry_p ... _120GB_SSD
(The latter is the usb-booting P400 I'm posting from but now running from a "further cloned to" larger, 256GB SSD)
Testing Bookworm on a Pi5 and a P4B but running Bullseye or Buster on other (older) Pi's and the P400 I often post from. See: https://www.cpmspectrepi.uk/raspberry_pi/raspiidx.htm for notes & screenshots etc.

merket
Posts: 4
Joined: Wed Nov 29, 2023 5:50 pm

Re: Booting from SSD, Drive partition and file format

Thu Nov 30, 2023 2:43 am

Wow! Thank you all so much for your responses. I was wondering if anybody would care to help or not...
I am very new to all this (linux and pi) so please try to bare with me.
DirkS wrote:
Wed Nov 29, 2023 7:20 pm
Imager actually overwrites what's on the SD card, including any existing partition / format information
I see. Thank you.
kerry_s wrote: there's no choice with images.
the first is fat32 needed for /boot, the second is linux standard ext4
windows can't see linux formatted partitions.
it's up to the creators how they make the images, some do it different.
i'm on a fedora 39 spin. it uses 3 partitions
Thank you so much for the info and the image.
I saw in some old videos when USB boot wasn't native; that they setup an initial SD card, edit some boot files then copy them over their preferred boot drive manually (not sd copy) and then booting from there. So I was wondering if I could do a similar thing where I partition my SSD within rasbian OS, make it ext4, configure the pi to boot from usb, copy all the SD card material over manually and just unplug the card.
But when you say "needed" I suspect that somehow the boot drive NEEDS to be FAT32 in order to operate or such... Could you confirm that?
FTrevorGowen wrote:
Wed Nov 29, 2023 8:52 pm
Given that you "saw" a 99GB unpartitioned section that suggest you didn't (haven't) completed the install process by (hopefully being able to) let the P4B boot from said SSD (via a USB-to-SATA connection?) and complete the install process during which a partition will be expanded to fill (and allow you to use) all of the SSD.
However, personally, I would not install that way, because, depending upon the USB-to-SATA device type, there's a possibility of USB-boot hiccups.
My approach has been to perform a simpler, and faster (less partition expansion delay) on a uSDHC/XC of moderate size (32GB or 64GB are currently good-to-fair value-for-money) and subsequently use Raspberry PiOS's provided sdcard copier tool to transfer the system to a (larger) SSD for USB-boot use** or simply use the SSD as a data drive.
Trev.
** as per my, now a little old, cloning examples below:

Cloning to a larger uSD card:
https://www.cpmspectrepi.uk/raspberry_p ... OnP4B.html
and https://www.cpmspectrepi.uk/raspberry_p ... _SDXC_Card
Cloning to a usb-to-SATA connected SSD (Brief/summary notes)
https://www.cpmspectrepi.uk/raspberry_p ... _120GB_SSD
(The latter is the usb-booting P400 I'm posting from but now running from a "further cloned to" larger, 256GB SSD)
Thank you so much for your detailed answer. I haven't connected anything to my pi yet. Trying to do my research properly before I launch anything on the device and so far I have figured from what I have read and watched so far, that currently it is impossible to select/change file format for the boot drive neither at flashing or later.
I have seen people enlarging their partition or letting the pi OS be able "see" the rest within the OS, I believe that is also what you described. I am also wondering if that seemingly unpartitioned zone was in linux format and perhaps Windows couldn't recognize it? As @kerry_s informed in reply above yours.
My current hardware is a Kingston A400 120GB SSD and yes I have an adapter for sata to usb 3 (Dark SATA - USB3.0 - DK-AC-DSA5) as you were mentioning. I tried to buy a descent device I hope I don't experience those hiccups that you mentioned. Because I already bought these and cannot spare any more budget to setup otherwise.

All the arrows currently point at, me partitioning the SSD within rasbian and using the SD COPIER to flash it and I believe that will be the approach I will take.

Btw thank you so much for sharing (and creating) your example links. I already bookmarked them and will definitely benefit from them during that process.

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rpdom
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Re: Booting from SSD, Drive partition and file format

Thu Nov 30, 2023 7:29 am

merket wrote:
Thu Nov 30, 2023 2:43 am
I saw in some old videos when USB boot wasn't native; that they setup an initial SD card, edit some boot files then copy them over their preferred boot drive manually (not sd copy) and then booting from there. So I was wondering if I could do a similar thing where I partition my SSD within rasbian OS, make it ext4, configure the pi to boot from usb, copy all the SD card material over manually and just unplug the card.
Yes, you can manually create a bootable SSD from an existing SD card. There are a few steps you'll need to do.

1. Create your partition table with the first partition being the FAT32 boot one, and format the partitions.

2. Copy the contents of the boot partition to the SSD (I usually just make the first partition exactly the same size as the existing one, umount the original, then use dd to copy the partition over including the formatting).

3. Use rsync to copy the root filesystem to the new partition.

4. Edit the cmdline.txt file in the new boot partition to use the PARTUUID of the new root partition on the SSD.

5. Edit the /etc/fstab file in to use the PARTUUIDs of the root and boot partitions of the SSD.

6. Unmount the new partitions. Shutdown, remove the SD card and boot up.
But when you say "needed" I suspect that somehow the boot drive NEEDS to be FAT32 in order to operate or such... Could you confirm that?
The boot partition has to be FAT32, yes.
Unreadable squiggle

merket
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Re: Booting from SSD, Drive partition and file format

Thu Nov 30, 2023 11:45 am

rpdom wrote:
Thu Nov 30, 2023 7:29 am
Yes, you can manually create a bootable SSD from an existing SD card. There are a few steps you'll need to do.
...
...
The boot partition has to be FAT32, yes.
Hey, thank you so much for your answer and your step-by-step explanation . It will definitely become handy when I try one, but unfortunately since the partition has to be FAT32 (Thank you so much for confirming that in certainty) I don't currently see any reason to create it myself.

I shall just go along with the default created one.

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butchkemper
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Re: Booting from SSD, Drive partition and file format

Sat Dec 02, 2023 10:41 pm

rpdom wrote:
Thu Nov 30, 2023 7:29 am

Yes, you can manually create a bootable SSD from an existing SD card. There are a few steps you'll need to do.

1. Create your partition table with the first partition being the FAT32 boot one, and format the partitions.

2. Copy the contents of the boot partition to the SSD (I usually just make the first partition exactly the same size as the existing one, umount the original, then use dd to copy the partition over including the formatting).

3. Use rsync to copy the root filesystem to the new partition.

4. Edit the cmdline.txt file in the new boot partition to use the PARTUUID of the new root partition on the SSD.

5. Edit the /etc/fstab file in to use the PARTUUIDs of the root and boot partitions of the SSD.

6. Unmount the new partitions. Shutdown, remove the SD card and boot up.
But when you say "needed" I suspect that somehow the boot drive NEEDS to be FAT32 in order to operate or such... Could you confirm that?
The boot partition has to be FAT32, yes.
RonR has created a set of utilities called usb-boot to automate the process. Click here to get the utilities.

Butch

pidd
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Re: Booting from SSD, Drive partition and file format

Sun Dec 03, 2023 3:00 am

merket wrote:
Wed Nov 29, 2023 6:00 pm
My current problem is that; I flashed my SSD with the Raspberry Pi Imager and installed latest 64 bit on it.
That is all you have to do, attach the SSD to the pi, take out any SD card, switch on and everything is done, it will boot to the SSD.

You don't need to pre-format, it is pointless doing so because the image will overwrite anything on the SSD.

The other thing you do need to do, is stop using old guides/instructions which are miles out of date.

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