Install Raspbian On USB Stick

This how to explains how to install Raspbian on USB Stick. It consists of the necessary step by step guide and links in order to achieve a USB installation quickly.

How To Install Raspbian On USB Stick

Index Of How To Install Raspbian On USB Stick

Background Install Raspbian On USB Stick

Running Raspian from an USB drive / stick can have serval advantages:

  1. Performance Boosts: USB drives / sticks can offer faster read and write speeds compared to SD cards. This can turn into performance improvements
  2. Reliability Improvements: USB drives / sticks are generally more durable and less prone to corruption compared to SD cards. This is particularly important if you’re running applications that perform a lot of read/write operations, such as databases
  3. Increased Storage Capacity: USB drives typically offer larger storage capacities compared to SD cards, allowing you to store more data
  4. Ease of Use: USB drives can be easier to use, especially on devices without a built-in SD card reader
  5. Cost: USB drives can be cheaper than SD cards of the same capacity

How To Install Raspbian On USB Stick

  1. Prepare the USB stick. If it is not a new one, you like to backup the data before flashing it with the Raspian OS.
  2. Download the Raspberry Pi Imager from the Raspberry Pi website

    Raspberry Pi Imager

    Raspberry Pi Imager

  3. Start the Raspberry Pi Imager on your computer. Within it, select your Raspberry Pi device, the Operating system and the storage device (e.g. USB stick) on which you like to flash the Raspian. Not the Raspian operating system is called “Raspberry PI OS”. Hit next and go to step 4.

    Raspberry Pi Imager

    Raspberry Pi Imager

  4. Now you will be asked whether you like to make OS customisations. This is not mandatory, but I for example always pre-configure SSH leveraging on my key pair.  Once you pre-configured your settings, kick off the installation.
  5. After you successfully flashed the USB stick, you take it and plug it into your Raspberry Pi. If you have plugged a screen on your Raspberry, than you can login into it and by the below command find out which IP address it has. 
    ifconfig -a

    In case you have not plugged a screen, than I guess a bit of research on your router or firewall is required.
  6. Leverage on the IP address to login remotely by SSH. Once logged in, update your Raspberry to the latest available software by 
    sudo apt update && sudo apt full-upgrade && sudo apt autoremove

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