New Raspberry Pi 4 Bootloader USB / Network Boot Guide

Raspberry Pi 4 with Samsung 950 Pro NVME SSD
Raspberry Pi 4 with Samsung 950 Pro NVMe SSD

The new Raspberry Pi 4 bootloader has finally come out of beta and made it’s way into the official latest Raspbian! This has been long awaited since when the Raspberry Pi 4 was released it had no native support for booting from USB / Network but it was promised right from the start it would get it through a later update.

This guide will show how to configure the new bootloader and set up your Pi to boot from USB devices as well as the other boot options now available within the Raspberry Pi 4 bootloader.

If you are looking to boot Ubuntu 20.04 or Ubuntu 20.10 you should check out my guide specifically for Ubuntu here.

Equipment Used

Raspberry Pi 4 Model B 8GB*

Raspberry Pi 4 8GB
Raspberry Pi 4 8GB

StarTech 2.5″ SATA to USB Adapter *-AND- Kingston A400 SSD 120GB SATA 3 2.5” Solid State Drive*

Kingston A400 SSD
Kingston A400
StarTech 2.5" SATA to USB Adapter
SATA to 2.5″ USB Adapter

You may use other types of drives with the Pi such as M.2 SATA to USB 3.0, M.2 NVMe to USB 3.0 and mSATA to USB 3.0. Here’s some adapters I’ve used for those types of drives:

UGREEN M.2 NVMe to USB Enclosure*

UGREEN M.2 NVME to USB Enclosure
UGREEN M.2 NVME to USB Enclosure


UGREEN M.2 SATA to USB Enclosure
UGREEN M.2 SATA to USB Enclosure

VL716 mSATA to USB Adapter*

VL716 mSATA to USB Adapter
VL716 mSATA to USB Adapter

Power can be a serious problem with these drives. We are learning from the comments that you are especially likely to run into power issues with NVMe enclosures. A powered USB hub or a power adapter that puts out 3.5A comes not only just strongly recommended, it may actually be required that you choose one option or the other for your drive to function.

The specific requirements of how much power you’ll need depend on the adapter/enclosure and the model of your drive itself. As a very rough guideline, older models of drives tend to use more power than newer models of drives. 3.5″ form factor drives also use more power than 2.5″ drives. The earliest SSD models like first and second generation models are also well understood to use significantly more power than newer models. This is due to changes and improvements in technology over the years and even using different more efficient memory like 3D NAND. Some super high end performance drives will consume more power as well.

Here’s the current recommendations based on everyone’s comments combined with stuff I’ve personally used with the Pi:

CanaKit 3.5A Raspberry Pi 4 Power Supply with PiSwitch

CanaKit 3.5A Raspberry Pi 4 Power Supply
CanaKit 3.5A (very important to have enough power for a SSD) Power Supply

Sabrent 4-Port USB 3.0 Hub with Individual LED Lit Power Switches, Includes 5V/2.5A Power Adapter (HB-UMP3)*

Sabrent Powered USB Hub
Sabrent 2.5A Externally Powered USB 3.0 Hub gives a whopping dedicated 2.5A of power to satisfy even the thirstiest of drives

Known Working Adapters

This is a compiled list of known working adapters built by myself from adapters I’ve purchased and commenters from ones they have purchased in this article and my older guide that utilized a SD card for USB booting.

StarTech 2.5″ SATA to USB 3.1 Adapter*2.5″ SATA to USB 3.0Verified working in comments (thanks Fredrick)
StarTech 2.5″ SATA to USB 3.0 Adapter*2.5″ SATA to USB 3.1Verified working great by myself and others on Pi 4
Inateck FE2004 2.5″ SATA to USB 3.0 Hard Drive Enclosure*2.5″ SATA to USB 3.0Mirco reports that this enclosure is working but trim is not supported
Samsung 2.5″ SATA to USB 850 EVO Kit /w Adapter* (Alternate link*)2.5″ SATA to USB 3.0 KitThis is a kit that comes with a drive and adapter. Rene confirms the adapter works including with non-Samsung drives.
CSL 2.5″ SATA to USB 3.0 Adapter*2.5″ SATA to USB 3.0The CSL SL adapter is confirmed to be working by Krikitt in the comments. Available in Europe. Not available in US.
UGREEN 2.5″ SATA to USB-C 3.1 Enclosure Drive Caddy*2.5″ SATA to USB-C 3.1Confirmed to be working by CAProjects in the comments. Available in both Europe and US
UGREEN 2.5″ SATA to USB 3.0 Adapter Cable with UASP Converter*2.5″ SATA to USB 3.0This adapter is reported to be working by Mirco in the comments
SABRENT 2.5″ SATA to USB-C 3.1 Type A Adapter*2.5″ SATA to USB-C 3.1 Type AThe new USB-C 3.1 Type A version of the Sabrent adapter is reported as working in the comments by UEF. DO NOT get the USB 3.0 version as that one is below on the naughty list and won’t work!
ICY BOX M.2 NVMe (M Key) to USB-C 3.1 Gen 2 Enclosure* (Alternate listing*)M.2 NVME M Key to USB-C Gen 2Returning legendary commentary Frank Meyer reports:
Does not work with a 3.0A power adapter (also reported by TTE). It’s not enough power for this enclosure.
Does work with a powered USB hub*. Pending confirmation on if it works with a 3.5A adapter (I have one coming too).
TDBT M.2 NVMe (B+M Key) to USB-C 3.1 Gen 2 Enclosure*M.2 NVMe (B+M Key) to USB-C 3.1 Gen 2Confirmed to be working well by WorkHard in the comments
SSK Aluminum M.2 NVMe (M Key) to USB 3.1 Gen 2 SSD Enclosure*M.2 NVMe (M Key) to USB 3.1 Gen 2Brian L reports this is working well with beta firmware upgrades, but that it did not work at all without them!
ORICO M.2 NVMe SSD Enclosure, USB 3.1 Gen 2 (10 Gbps)*NVME to USB 3.1 Gen 2M.Yusuf has given the first ever report of a working Orico adapter! Make sure it’s the USB 3.1 Gen 2 version that says “Support UASP for NVMe SSD”. This is the way.
DELOCK 42570 M.2 SATA (B Key) to USB Micro-B 3.1 Gen 2 SSD Enclosure*M.2 SATA (B Key) to USB Micro-B 3.1 Gen 2Andreas Franek reports that the enclosure works with a 3.0A power adapter (gets a little warm)
Shinestar M.2 NVMe (M Key) to USB 3.0 Adapter*M.2 NVMe (M Key) to USB 3.0This is the adapter I’m using in the picture at the top of the article. It is for NVMe M.2 drives only and is getting hard to find
UGREEN M.2 NVMe (B+M Key to USB-C 3.1 Gen 2 SSD Enclosure*M.2 NVMe (B+M Key) to USB-C 3.1 Gen 2Confirmed working in comments by Chad D
UGREEN M.2 SATA (B+M Key) to USB 3.1 Enclosure*M.2 SATA (B+M Key) to USB 3.1 EnclosureReported as working well in the comments by John H. Reinhardt with a ASM1051E chipset
QNINE M.2 SATA (B Key) to USB 3.0 Enclosure*M.2 SATA (B Key) to USB 3.0I used this enclosure to benchmark M.2 SATA Lite-On and SanDisk drives — working great in 3.0 ports
ArgonOne M.2 SATA (B+M Key) Pi 4 Case*M.2 SATA (B+M Key) Pi 4 CaseThis case gives you a M.2 SATA port for your Raspberry Pi and is also a case! Confirmed working by Frank.
Tanbin mSATA to USB Adapter*mSATA to USB 3.0I used this mSATA to USB adapter for my Crucial M550 benchmark — working in 3.0 ports
Generic mSATA to USB 3.0 Adapter (fe2008)*mSATA to USB 3.1Confirmed working in comments by Nico
Canakit Raspberry Pi 4 Power Supply (USB-C)*3.5A USB-C Power SupplyCanakit has been making very reliable power supplies for several Pi generations now. Using a 3.5A power supply will give enough extra power for your Pi to power the drive without causing instability

Known Problematic Adapters (Naughty List)

Here is a list of common USB adapters that are known to have problems with the Raspberry Pi 4. You can get some of these adapters working by using quirks mode (see the “Fix (some) USB Adapter Problems Using Quirks” section below).

FIDECO M207CPS USB3.2 to M2 NVME/SATA SSD Enclosure*M.2 NVME to USB 3.2 Gen 2Lee Myring reports that the FIDECO M207CPS has issues working with the Pi
UGREEN 30848 2.5″ SATA to USB 3.0 Hard Drive Enclosure*2.5″ SATA to USB 3.0Reporting as not working properly and disconnecting often by Mirco, thanks!
Sabrent USB 3.0 to 2.5″ SATA adapter*2.5″ SATA to USB 3.0Only works in the USB 2.0 ports. Will not boot in a USB 3.0 port. I have two of these and can confirm they don’t work. RIP to Sabrent, our previous king of the Pi 3 era of adapters.
ELUTENG 2.5″ SATA to USB 3.0 Adapter*2.5″ SATA to USB 3.0Despite earlier reports as working Ryan and one other have reported this adapter does not work unless you enable quirks mode! Don’t make Ryan’s sacrifice in vain and avoid this one.
USB 3.0 to 2.5″ SATA III Hard Drive Adapter UASP Support-20cm, Black*2.5″ SATA to USB 3.0reported by dzm in the comments as having very poor I/O performance
ORICO 2.5″ SATA to USB C 3.0 Enclosure (Transparent)*2.5″ SATA to USB 3.0Several commenters have stated the transparent ORICO is not working. Avoid!
ORICO 2.5″ SATA to USB 3.0 Enclosure (Black) 2588US3-BKT*2.5″ SATA to USB 3.0Commenters report that the USB-C variant of the transparent ORICO enclosure also does not work
ORICO 2.5″ SATA to USB-C 3.1 Gen 1 Enclosure (Transparent)*2.5″ SATA to USB-C 3.1 Gen 1Confirmed as not working by Andrea De Lunardi in the comments (thanks!)
Vantec 2.5″ SATA to USB 3.0 USB Adapter with Case*2.5″ SATA to USB 3.0Does not work after hours of testing and frustration by Moshe Katz in the comments!

So far we have not found a single ORICO adapter that has worked correctly so I would avoid that brand completely for the Raspberry Pi.


Get Latest Raspbian & Updates

To edit the bootloader configuration you should have a copy of Raspbian on a SD card. Right now support in third party operating systems to do anything with the new Raspberry Pi 4’s firmware or bootloader is very limited / nonexistent. You can use a third party operating system later once you set the boot mode, but to actually make these changes we will use official Raspbian.

First make sure that you have the absolute latest updates and firmware for the Pi. To upgrade all your packages and firmware to the latest version use the following command:

sudo apt update && sudo apt full-upgrade -y

Once the update has completed restart your Pi with a sudo reboot command to apply the latest firmware / kernel updates.

Verify EEPROM Bootloader is up to date

We can check if your Pi’s bootloader firmware is up to date with the following command:

sudo rpi-eeprom-update

If your Raspbian is *very* out of date you may not have this utility and can install it using:

sudo apt install rpi-eeprom

The output from rpi-eeprom-update will look like this if you are not up to date:

BCM2711 detected
VL805 firmware in bootloader EEPROM
BOOTLOADER: update available
CURRENT: Thu 3 Sep 12:11:43 UTC 2020 (1599135103)
LATEST: Tue 24 Nov 15:08:04 UTC 2020 (1606230484)
FW DIR: /lib/firmware/raspberrypi/bootloader/beta
VL805: up-to-date
CURRENT: 000138a1
LATEST: 000138a1

If it says any updates are available they be installed manually by adding ‘-a’ to the end of our previous command like this:

sudo rpi-eeprom-update -a

After the updates finish installing restart your Pi as firmware updates will not be applied until after a reboot. Now if you run rpi-eeprom-update to check for updates again it should say you are on the latest and up to date!

Verify Power Supply Size (3.5A strongly recommended)

Check your Raspberry Pi’s power supply size and make sure it is delivering at least 3.5A. There are a lot of USB C adapters for the Raspberry Pi that are only 3.0A. These will typically work fine, until you plug in something like a SSD which draws power from the Pi and there is nothing left to give.

Most SSDs are quite power efficient but HDDs draw significantly more. Older generations of SSDs used quite a bit more power than newer ones as well. If you are using an older drive or a drive that you know is power hungry you need to pay extra attention to having a quality power source with plenty of capacity.

A good alternative option to relying on the Pi to power the drive is using a powered USB hub* so your drive doesn’t need to draw power from the Pi’s limited power budget. Make sure you get one that is compatible with the Pi as some powered USB hubs won’t work properly with it so check the reviews and do your research to make sure people are using it successfully with the Pi.

Using a 3.5A power supply* or powered USB hub* will ensure your drive is getting enough power without impacting the Pi’s stability.

Prepare Bootable Drive

Image your bootable drive (your SSD / HDD / USB Flash Drive / etc.) the same way you imaged your micro SD card. You write the image of the operating system you want to run to the disk with Etcher / Win32DiskImager / however you normally would write one.

Once this is finished we are ready to edit the bootloader configuration to tell it to boot to our drive instead of the built in microSD slot.

If you are wanting to do a USB mass storage device boot with Ubuntu 20.04 or 20.10 check out my specific USB booting guide for Ubuntu 20.04 / 20.10 here.

Editing Bootloader Configuration

If you’ve completed the prerequisites you are now ready to edit your Raspberry Pi’s bootloader configuration to tell the Pi to boot from a specified device instead of the built in microSD slot. To edit the bootloader configuration use the following command:

sudo -E rpi-eeprom-config --edit

The default configuration will look like this:


Our target is the BOOT_ORDER parameter in bold above. It is 0x1 in firmware versions up until 2020-05-150 and was changed to 0xf41 in newer versions after that. Here are the different configuration options for the BOOT_ORDER parameter (from Raspberry Pi documentation):

0x1SD CARDSD card (or eMMC on Compute Module 4)
0x2NETWORKNetwork boot
0x3USB DEVUSB device boot – See usbboot (since 2020-09-03)
0x4USB MSDUSB mass storage boot (since 2020-09-03)
0xeSTOPStop and display error pattern (since 2020-09-03). A power cycle is required to exit this state.
0xfRESTARTStart again with the first boot order field. (since 2020-09-03)
Raspberry Pi 4 USB BOOT_ORDER Options

The configuration option we want is USB mass storage device boot or option 0x4. We can use this option by itself or combine it with other options in the table placed in the order we want the Pi to try to boot from. To understand how to do this, let’s look as Raspbian’s default value of 0xf41:

If you want to leave the SD card and the “restart on failure” fallback options in place you can leave/change it to 0xf41. Go ahead and use your arrow keys to navigate to the BOOT_ORDER line and change it 0x4 or 0xf41 so it reads:



BOOT_ORDER=0xf41 (to enable falling back to SD card if USB boot fails)

This translates to attempt to boot from USB mass storage first. If that fails, try to boot from SD card. If that fails, start over from step 1 and try again (back to USB mass storage). As another example, if you wanted to add booting from the network you could add the 0x2 value from the table for the “NETWORK” option and make it the final BOOT_ORDER value 0xf412. If you wanted to change the order so that the network boots first instead you could reorder it to 0xf241.

Choose the appropriate BOOT_ORDER you would like and use your arrow keys to move down to the BOOT_ORDER line. Change the line and press Control+X and then ‘y’ to save your changes. Make sure you have your boot device we set up in the prerequisites section plugged into one of the blue USB ports as these ports are USB 3.0 and the black USB ports are USB 2.0 (slower). Now restart the Pi.

If all went well the Pi will immediately boot up from your boot device instead of the SD card!

Help, something went wrong!

Try Booting from SD card

Generally if the Pi fails to boot from the USB device it will fall back to booting from the SD card. If the Pi didn’t boot after making the change try unplugging your USB device and just booting from the SD card again by removing power from the Pi and plugging it back in again.

If the device is booting fine from the SD card but not from the external drive double check that you have a compatible adapter and that the drive was imaged correctly. Plug it into a PC and make sure it has the files on it and perhaps try giving it a clean image again just in case something went wrong with imaging the first time.

Verify rpi-eeprom-config configuration

Make sure your changes that we made earlier actually stuck by verifying the configuration using the command:

sudo -E rpi-eeprom-config --edit

and verify that the BOOT_ORDER=0x1 line is changed to BOOT_ORDER=0x4.

Restore Bootloader to Defaults

If things are *really* broken and the Pi will not boot at all with your SD card or otherwise then you may need to restore the bootloader back to defaults.

To do this we need to prepare a SD card with the Raspberry Pi 4 EEPROM boot recovery tool. The easiest way to do this is to use the official Raspberry Pi Imager tool from the Raspberry Pi foundation to prepare the recovery image.

Here is how we create the recovery image inside the utility. Choose the “Misc utility images” category as shown below:

Raspberry Pi Imager Step #1
Raspberry Pi Imager Step #1

Next choose the “Raspberry Pi 4 EEPROM boot recovery” option:

Raspberry Pi Imager Step #2
Raspberry Pi Imager Step #2

Next choose your SD card and then choose “Write”. Now unplug your Pi and put in the newly prepared SD card. Connect the power and let it boot. This will restore your bootloader to defaults. You should see a continuous rapid green blinking light. You may now disconnect the power and put your original SD card back / reinstall Raspbian and boot the Pi normally!

For a more detailed step by step guide on this check out my Bootloader Recovery Guide

Try Beta Firmware

The beta firmware released since the original USB mass storage device support launched contains a bunch of fixes related to USB mass storage devices and USB booting. The downside is the beta firmware is not as well tested so you shouldn’t install it unless you are doing it to fix a specific issue addressed in those updates.

If your drive / USB storage adapter isn’t working then it is worth considering trying the beta firmware to see if the fixes in the versions released not on stable yet will help with your device.

To switch to the beta channel edit the configuration file with the following command:

sudo nano /etc/default/rpi-eeprom-update

Change the line FIRMWARE_RELEASE_STATUS=”critical” (sometimes it can be “stable”) to:


Now press Ctrl+X and then ‘y’ to save our changes in nano. Now execute a Pi firmware update using:

sudo rpi-eeprom-update -a

The updater will tell you whether updates were applied or not. Now do a full reboot of your Pi as the firmware updates won’t be applied until you do! If you want to switch back to normal firmware simply change the configuration back to “stable” or “critical”.

Verify Drive Performance

You can make sure everything is running correctly (and as fast as it should be) by running my quick storage benchmark. You can run the benchmark with the following one-liner:

sudo curl | sudo bash

This will give you a score you can compare to the other Raspberry Pi Storage Benchmark results and make sure that you are getting an equivalent speed to your peers with the same device!

Fix (some) USB Adapter Problems Using Quirks

Some of the very common adapters on the naughty list above (such as the Sabrent) can be made to work by using USB quirks to disable UAS mode on the drive. This lowers performance, but it’s still much faster than a SD card and your adapter won’t go to waste.

To find out the quirks we need to find the device ID string for your adapter and then add an entry to cmdline.txt telling the kernel to apply them on boot.

Find Your Adapter

To apply the quirks we first need to get the adapter id. We will use the sudo lsusb command:

$ sudo lsusb
 Bus 003 Device 001: ID 1d6b:0002 Linux Foundation 2.0 root hub
 Bus 002 Device 002: ID 174c:55aa ASMedia Technology Inc. Name: ASM1051E SATA 6Gb/s bridge, ASM1053E SATA 6Gb/s bridge, ASM1153 SATA 3Gb/s bridge, ASM1153E SATA 6Gb/s bridge
 Bus 002 Device 001: ID 1d6b:0003 Linux Foundation 3.0 root hub
 Bus 001 Device 002: ID 2109:3431 VIA Labs, Inc. Hub
 Bus 001 Device 001: ID 1d6b:0002 Linux Foundation 2.0 root hub

On line 2 we can see my ASM1051E SATA 6Gb/s bridge adapter (it’s the known working 2.5″ SATA to USB 3.0* adapter). You will see something very similar to mine when you run the command and it shouldn’t be too hard to figure out which device it is. If you need more information add a -v switch to make the command sudo lsusb -v. This can sometimes add some additional details to make it easier to figure out which one is your adapter.

If you’re still not sure, we have another command that between the two that can narrow things down. Type / paste the following:

sudo dmesg | grep usb

 [0.828535] usb usb3: New USB device found, idVendor=1d6b, idProduct=0002, bcdDevice= 4.19
 [0.828568] usb usb3: New USB device strings: Mfr=3, Product=2, SerialNumber=1
 [0.828597] usb usb3: Product: DWC OTG Controller
 [0.828620] usb usb3: Manufacturer: Linux 4.19.75-v7l+ dwc_otg_hcd
 [0.828644] usb usb3: SerialNumber: fe980000.usb
 [0.830051] usbcore: registered new interface driver uas
 [0.830182] usbcore: registered new interface driver usb-storage
 [0.836488] usbcore: registered new interface driver usbhid
 [0.836511] usbhid: USB HID core driver
 [0.971598] usb 1-1: new high-speed USB device number 2 using xhci_hcd
 [1.154217] usb 1-1: New USB device found, idVendor=2109, idProduct=3431, bcdDevice= 4.20
 [1.154254] usb 1-1: New USB device strings: Mfr=0, Product=1, SerialNumber=0
 [1.154281] usb 1-1: Product: USB2.0 Hub
 [1.301989] usb 2-1: new SuperSpeed Gen 1 USB device number 2 using xhci_hcd
 [1.332965] usb 2-1: New USB device found, idVendor=174c, idProduct=55aa, bcdDevice= 1.00
 [1.332999] usb 2-1: New USB device strings: Mfr=2, Product=3, SerialNumber=1
 [1.333026] usb 2-1: Product: ASM105x
 [1.333048] usb 2-1: Manufacturer: ASMT
 [1.333071] usb 2-1: SerialNumber: 123456789B79F

This is the dmesg log showing the hardware detection as hardware is activated on the Pi. If your log is really long you can generate fresh entries by just unplugging a device and plugging it back in and running the command again. Here we can clearly see that the ASM105x is what our StarTech adapter is being detected as.

Now we can go back to our first lsusb command and we want the 8 characters from the ID field that comes right after the Device:

Bus 002 Device 002: ID 174c:55aa ASMedia Technology Inc. Name: ASM1051E SATA 6Gb/s bridge

Our adapter’s ID is: 174c:55aa

Applying Quirks

To apply the quirks to our USB adapter we are going to edit /boot/cmdline.txt. Type:

sudo nano /boot/cmdline.txt

We are going to add the following entry into the very front of cmdline.txt:


In place of the X’s above you will put in your adapter’s ID that we got before. With the example commands I gave above mine would look like this: usb-storage.quirks=174c:55aa:u. After this my cmdline.txt looks like this (everything should be one continuous line, no line breaks!):

usb-storage.quirks=174c:55aa:u console=serial0,115200 console=tty1 root=PARTUUID=d34db33f-02 rootfstype=ext4 elevator=deadline rootwait

Now reboot the Pi. If the Pi fails to boot you can plug the SD card into the computer and go to /boot/cmdline.txt and undo the change we did so you can boot back in with your SD card.

Verifying Quirks

Once you have rebooted after changing cmdline.txt we can verify the quirks have been applied by doing another dmesg | grep usb command:

sudo dmesg | grep usb
 [1.332924] usb 2-1: New USB device found, idVendor=174c, idProduct=55aa, bcdDevice= 1.00
 [1.332957] usb 2-1: New USB device strings: Mfr=2, Product=3, SerialNumber=1
 [1.332983] usb 2-1: Product: ASM105x
 [1.333006] usb 2-1: Manufacturer: ASMT
 [1.333028] usb 2-1: SerialNumber: 123456789B79F
 [1.335967] usb 2-1: UAS is blacklisted for this device, using usb-storage instead
 [1.336071] usb 2-1: UAS is blacklisted for this device, using usb-storage instead
 [1.336103] usb-storage 2-1:1.0: USB Mass Storage device detected
 [1.336479] usb-storage 2-1:1.0: Quirks match for vid 174c pid 55aa: c00000
 [1.336611] scsi host0: usb-storage 2-1:1.0

This time we can see in dmesg that UAS was blacklisted for the device and it has loaded with the usb-storage driver instead. This driver tends to be more compatible with the “problematic adapters” but the performance is usually significantly lower. It’s definitely worth a try though as some adapters do better with the quirks performance-wise. The only way to know for sure is to run a benchmark (see “Verify Drive Performance” section).

116 thoughts on “New Raspberry Pi 4 Bootloader USB / Network Boot Guide”

  1. Avatar for Michal

    Hi, just wanted to let you know, that these 2 adapters work:

    Ugreen HDD Case 2.5 SATA to USB 3.0 Adapter Hard Drive Enclosure for SSD Disk HDD Box Type C 3.1 Case HD External HDD Enclosure
    * ASM235CM chipset
    * works smoothly for over a month RPi4B 4GB
    * eeprom version 2020-12-11 (stable)

    Ugreen SATA USB Converter USB 3.0 USB C to SATA Adapter For 2.5” HDD/SSD External Hard Drive Disk 5Gbps SATA to USB Cable
    * ASM1153E chipset
    * was using it with RPi3B+ for over a month and now for some time with RPi4B 2GB
    * eeprom version 2021-01-14 (stable)

  2. Avatar for Harald Thomas

    Hello James,
    first of all many thanks for this guide how to use USB boot with RPI4.
    I followed your instructions, bought a UGREEN 2.5″ SATA to USB-C 3.1 Enclosure Drive Caddy and a 120GB Sandisk Plus SSD and installed the actual RPIOS in lite version on the SSD via Winimager. I have additionally installed OWFS and FHEM.
    On an SD card it works completely fine and also on the SSD it works identically but the difference is that when I boot from SSD the activity led is nearly on all the time. It seems that something is repeated all the time since the led is off for a moment and then again on for ~ 1 minute and this is repeated endlessly.
    I used the identical image for both, the SD card and the SSD so I have no glue, what makes the difference.
    I checked if a process consumes too much CPU time but there in only 1-3% cpu time indicated in the top tool.
    Do you have any idea, where this behaviour comes from and what I can do against?

    Thanks in advance

    Best Regards


    1. Avatar for jamesachambers

      Hey Harald,

      I actually have heard of this before but it has been a long time! I remember this issue from old USB booting pre-Pi4 days.

      Is your SD card still in the Pi or is it taken out? If my hunch is correct it is polling for the SD card to be inserted. If you put the SD card in after you boot up from the SSD does the CPU usage go away? If so the fix back then (and I think would still be now) is adding the following line to config.txt:


      This tells it to only check for the SD card once instead of continuously which is apparently continuous enough to register a couple % CPU usage! Can you give that a try and see what happens?

      1. Avatar for Harald Thomas

        Hi James,
        thanks a lot for your hint!
        The behaviour is definitely linked to the SD card inserted.
        I have an old SD card with 512 MB FAT32 formatted but no files on it and once this card is in the slot, the system boots correctly from SSD and no further activity can be seen.
        The link you provided and the measure with
        seems not to work on Pi4.
        I could not see a change in beaviour after I added this line to config.txt.
        So I can live with the solution to have an old SD card in the slot but nevertheless I think, that this is misbehaviour and should be fixed in a future release.
        Are there more people observing the same behaviour on RPI4?

        Nevertheless thanks again


  3. Avatar for Ryan

    I had the bad luck of not being thorough enough and ordered the Sabrent USB 3.0 to 2.5″ SATA adapter. When it didn’t work, that’s when I found this information here. Fortunately, I found this page to be helpful in deciding which ones actually work so I ordered a ELUTENG 2.5″ SATA to USB 3.0 Adapter from the Amazon link above. Checking out the reviews, seemed like a slam dunk so I bought it… BUT after failing to boot in 3.0 with updated EEPROM etc etc etc and checking via lsusb it does appear to have one of the JMicron chips in it, and thus doesn’t actually work. I haven’t gotten it working yet. You can see a review on Amazon where someone else had reported this as a possibility, and I am here to confirm that I am still trying to make something work for me. Maybe reconsider ELUTENG on your list, I had double bad luck.

    1. Avatar for jamesachambers

      Hey Ryan,

      That’s terrible, I’m sorry to hear it! I’ve immediately removed the ELUTENG adapter from the good list and alerted people to avoid it. I think someone else was having trouble with this one in another thread too so it’s time to move it.

      Thanks for letting us know, hopefully it spares others the same experience going forward!

      1. Avatar for Ryan

        No problem! For how bummed I am, I’m also pretty stoked to be able to contribute to others avoiding the same bad luck!
        Page is a great resource, good on you for keeping it up to date for people! Benchmark tool is pretty sweet too. Thanks

        1. Avatar for jamesachambers

          I appreciate it! I had the same experience when I wrote my very first USB booting guide and wanted to try to help steer others in the right direction and away from the really common bad drives.

          If the manufacturers change anything or new models come up people have left comments with them and so it keeps growing and getting revised. I’m also trying to learn more about them via the storage benchmark which has been getting a major overhaul. We’re looking at things like firmware versions, etc. which can apparently fix some adapters and improve performance on others!

          It’s definitely not a perfect system but over time it has become pretty comprehensive with adapters from all over the world thanks to everyone’s feedback!

    2. Avatar for Ryan

      Update: Used USB Quirks workaround shown above, and ELUTENG adapter is in fact booting from USB 3.0 port. It’s not ideal, but it is a work around.

      1. Avatar for jamesachambers

        Hey Ryan,

        Thanks for the update. I’ve added a note that it only works with quirks mode enabled, which as you stated is not ideal and will have a performance penalty. It’s better than nothing though for sure!

        Some other commenters have brought up firmware updates fixing these in some cases. It may be worth seeing if you can google your adapter’s (both the ELUTENG and the Sabrent) model and see if there’s any firmware updates available!

        1. Avatar for Ryan

          I did find the Sabrent firmware update, however installing it didn’t make a difference for me personally. I haven’t found anything at all for ELUTENG, but did discover an alternative work around some might find interesting to also get my Eluteng AND the Sabrent 3.0 to boot from USB 3.0 ports. Having done a firmware update recently on the adapter on a NesPi4 case (that originally came up on my Windows PC as a JMicron), I got brave and reversed the USB Quirks method I used earlier with the Eluteng and tried to use Retroflag’s firmware update using my drive and the adapter. Not sure of the pros and cons, but it did work! Then I followed up with the Sabrent, did the same thing and viola boot. I understand both methods disable UAS in some fashion, but I thought this was worth sharing. Both booted, and there was no need to edit the cmdline.txt. and no blacklisting text. Thoughts anyone?

            1. Avatar for Ryan

              Not yet, but I’ll definitely do it with both adapters on my Samsung 860 Evo with a note that is was using the Retroflag firmware.

              1. Avatar for jamesachambers

                Excellent, thanks Ryan! I’ve been adding new drives and models like crazy as well as working on making it display additional information. These kind of comments inside the tests help a lot with identification and all sorts of future stuff I haven’t even thought of yet!

                I’m working on some metadata pages like a “Brand” page that shows you an overview of a specific model or brand of a storage device and benchmarks for that model and a couple other cool exciting things. It should keep improving here!

  4. Avatar for M.Yusuf

    Hi, just to report that I purchased “ORICO M.2 NVMe SSD Enclosure, USB 3.1 Gen 2 (10 Gbps)” and it is working out of the box. Raspberry Pi 4 8GB using Raspbian 64-bit.
    This is the cheapest enclosure with RTL9210 controller that I could find.

    1. Avatar for jamesachambers

      Hey M.Yusuf,

      Interesting! That one looks a *lot* like the Icy Box but I hadn’t seen it yet before.

      I think that would make it the first Orico brand enclosure that has worked!

      I’ve added it to the list. Thanks again!

    1. Avatar for jamesachambers

      Hey Lee,

      Thanks for letting us know! I don’t think I have seen that model before. I’ve added it to the list!

      I haven’t seen a lot of USB 3.2 results showing up on my storage benchmark web site yet and this is one of very few first adapters I’ve seen feedback for that has it. USB 3.1 started out that way but is now the norm and I expect that we’re seeing the first wave of 3.2 adapters. Hopefully they won’t be too problematic with the Pi!

      The Samsung T7 Portable drive currently is registering as USB 3.2 on the benchmarks and it’s one of the top drives out there so it seems like there is some benefit to these if the drive/chipset can take advantage of those speeds!

  5. Avatar for Cristian

    I couldn’t find if it has already been mentioned in the comments, but after following this guide I kept booting from my SD card when trying to setup the USB to boot first then the SD card if failure.
    After looking around the BOOT_ORDER section of the Raspberry Pi documentation:
    I believe that the boot order is decided from right to left. In trying to achieve booting from:

    1) USB
    2) SD card if USB failed
    3) restarting if both of those failed

    Setting BOOT_ORDER=0xf14 gives me the desired result. BOOT_ORDER=0xf41 does not.

    1. Avatar for jamesachambers

      Hey Cristian,

      That’s a good catch. I think you’re right. I have been just taking the SD card out of mine which makes it fall back in that mode. I will update the guide, thanks for pointing this out!

  6. Avatar for Juanjo

    Hey James,

    Another device working with the following configuration:

    cmdline.txt: usb-storage.quirks=152d:0578:u console=tty1 …..

    Benchmark: #37585

    Not the best performance results but acceptable for me using a 4€ USB case and reused SSD Samsung MZ7LN256HMJP-000H1

    USB 3.0 SATA HDD Case Enclosure:

    Thanks for all your work! 🙂

    1. Avatar for jamesachambers

      Hey Juanjo,

      Thanks a ton for the results! I’ve been going through and finally updating the storage benchmark. It’s looking a lot better here but there’s still a lot I want to do like adding filtering options, more comparable menus like a “Brand” menu that shows all the drives from a company.

      I also want to do more rankings between the drives. I’m going to add your changes to the list here (I think there’s a couple other ones lower I need to get to to), but thanks again!

      1. Avatar for Juanjo

        Hey James,

        Your database is priceless! 🙂 I hope it will help more people to find the right adapter for the RPi. I have a couple more of SSD drives and few no-brand-chinesse cables pending to test. Will update the results soon to the database.

        Can’t wait to see the new updates with the new menus and comparations between adapters and drives 🙂

        Thanks 😉

        1. Avatar for jamesachambers

          That’s awesome! The more I have the more it helps. I’m down to about 4000 unidentified tests out of 37000 so it’s identifying something like 89.2% of all the benchmarks people submit right now. If you’ve submitted ones that the site didn’t recognize they are among those 4000. They’re all still in there, it just doesn’t display them publicly on the site because it has no clue what those drives are yet!

          When I’m finding new models of drives that need to be added I usually sort the unidentified drives by how many benchmarks there are for them so having this additional data really helps. The site is just barely becoming even “browsable” in the barebones sense and was basically a giant list previously for the past year that was difficult to navigate and know what to even really do with. A lot of the work I’m doing is in the backend right now but definitely the frontend is getting redone completely as well!

          The ones that it isn’t identifying are either really new drives or drives exactly like you’re talking about. The Chinese drives are very tough to identify and I have to mostly rely on what you guys type in the “notes” field to figure out what these ones are. There’s actually some that I have quite a few benchmarks of that I can’t identify that I’m just waiting for the one or two submitters who comment and tell me what it is to crack the case!

          1. Avatar for Juanjo

            Sorry James, I haven’t had time yet to complete the test, one of my raspberrys is freezing randomly even after a clean install, another SD card, another SSD but I can’t find the reason why is freezing.
            I’ve ordered another RP4 this week, as soon as it get home i will do more test.

            Chinese boxes are identified by model number not by the SSD/HDD inside, maybe looking for the model will bring more details?
            My two Chinese-cases are recognize by model number.

            1. Avatar for jamesachambers

              Hey Juanjo,

              No rush at all! That’s a great tip about the Chinese drives being identified by model. I’m doing this type of model identification a little bit already with some of the brands I’m able to identify but I’m excited for whenever you get the chance to submit them! The notes field will help a lot!

              1. Avatar for jamesachambers

                That is fascinating! I actually ordered a Pi 400 here since the prices from the scalpers on eBay dropped to like $100 (still $30 over MSRP I believe, but still not as bad as before Christmas).
                I should have preordered two of the things and I would have saved a lot of money and had them much earlier!

                It looks like mine has shipped but isn’t coming until Monday because since it was a scalper they picked “USPS Retail Ground” as the delivery method to save themselves a few bucks on the shipping and have it take a week instead of 2-3 days!

                I am going to give this a try for sure and see if I can reproduce your results as soon as it comes!

                1. Avatar for Juanjo

                  Hey James, sorry for late answer, looks like my old Pi4 had an issue with the RAM and fail on every single memory test I did. I ordered a new one together with a new Startech USB – SATA adapter, performance is much better vs the Chinese-no-brand adapters, +7k points on the benchmark, no quircks added on the config file and boots without any issue.

                  I will send you in a separate email few pictures of two non-working adapters, neither adding quircks in the config file.

                  Luca, thanks for the tip, but I not running any of my raspberrys overclocked, stable OS vs unstable speed, I choose stable OS, I’m getting old 😛

                  1. Avatar for jamesachambers

                    Hey Juanjo,

                    Wow, that is an end to the story I did not expect! An actual hardware failure!

                    You may be able to warranty it through whoever you bought it from depending on how long ago it was. Some vendors cover it for up to a year, and my understanding is that if you are in the EU or somewhere with favorable consumer protections the vendor sometimes will warranty it for a second year after the first year. It may be worth reaching out to see if they’ll just give you another one. It really is handy to have more than 1 around!

                    I have owned every generation of Pi since my original two Pi 1 Model Bs. They all still work 100% except for one. One of my 2 RPI4 4GB launch models (very bad heat management and buggy firmware) is the only one that has ever been defective and the hardware failed. It was the SD card port that failed (probably from me testing/imaging cards and taking them in/out 100 times in a row sometimes, very hard on the SD slot).

                    You have joined an elite club of people with verified Raspberry Pi hardware failures! It happens, but it’s rare, and it happens much less than just about any consumer electronics product you’ll find. I work on hardware as a tech professionally and would rate the Pi as far more reliable than a lot of the enterprise level products I work with.

                    I look forward to getting your email, and I’m relieved you have figured this out and found success!

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