I have a Freenas box that boots from a USB stick. It has been fine for a few years, but recently it has stopped detecting the USB stick at boot time and will not boot from USB. Instead it goes into the BIOS and waits.

Sometimes I am lucky and it does boot from the USB stick.

I have tried:

  • different USB stick
    • using a USB hub
    • unplug power for a while
    • clear CMOS
    • flash BIOS
    • soft reboot

I don't have any spare SATA ports to install a hard drive to boot from, so USB is the only way. Perhaps the motherboard is simply stuffed?

Motherboard is Asrock h77 pro mvp

Any ideas?


  • When you reset the BIOS do you then make sure "Boot to USB" is the first option in the boot order? You can try disabling all other boot options (HDD, ODD, LAN etc.) so that your USB is the only bootable device and see what happens? – Kinnectus Jun 9 '14 at 9:37
  • USB is not listed as a device in the boot order. Furthermore, I hadn't made any changes to the BIOS and it was always booting from USB in the past. – Rhett Jun 9 '14 at 9:40
  • Hmm... and you've tried all your USB ports on the motherboard? Have you tried one of the other USB headers on your motherboard - some "front USB" ports have a cable that plugs straight onto the motherboard. – Kinnectus Jun 9 '14 at 9:45
  • yes I tried all 8 USB ports on the back, and 2 on the front. Yes the front headers are plugged in, but nothing has changed in terms of the hardware. And this still is an intermittent problem - last night I was able to boot up on the 2nd try. – Rhett Jun 9 '14 at 10:00

I tried a third, different brand, new USB stick, and it worked.

I backed up and transferred the settings from the old USB stick by mounting it while the new USB stick was running with a fresh Freenas installation on it.

Now everything is working again.

If in doubt, always try another USB stick!! Thanks all. :)

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