Umbrel 1.1 on RP5 with NVMe boot drive

A few months ago I installed Umbrel 0.5 on my Raspberry Pi 5 running PiOS off of an NVMe using the curl -L | bash method. Basically exactly as was described in this post: Umbrel on NVMe drives

Now that Umbrel 1.1 is out with support for RP5, and linux devices, I’m wondering how best to proceed with my setup. I would like to maintain my NVMe boot drive, because the umbrel seems noticeably snappier than when I had it running in the normal configuration of MicroSD + External USB Drive.

My question is: will my setup ever be supported? I’m fine with being patient if it’s on the roadmap, I’m not in a hurry. I’m also unconcerned with possibly losing data and having to resync. I just want to know if I can wait for an eventual solution, or if I’m running a dead-end setup that is no longer supported.

If the answer is that it is not ever going to be supported, my next question is: will I be able to still use the NVMe as the “external USB drive” in a setup where I am booting off of the MicroSD?

Thanks in advance for your help!

I might be able to help.

Rumor has it that 1.2 will be available shortly, but if you want to update now (rather than wait), here’s what to do.

As long as your Pi is set to boot from the NVMe dive, you could remove the SSD and flash Umbrel 1.x directly to the drive. It will reformat the drive and cause you to lose your data (for example, you’d have to download the Bitcoin blockchain again), but you’ll be able to go right to 1.x, run the setup, and install your apps.

Please proceed with caution. I’m not a technical guy so what worked for me might not work for your gear. You might want to back up your configuration, so take my procedure with a grain of salt. See my screenshot below where the full 2T NVMe SSD is being used.

Oh nice, ok. So you’re running on a Pi with no SD card? And the file I would flash on to the NVMe is this one?

My worry with doing that was that I thought that Umbrel (when installed that way) required an external drive to be attached. I didn’t realize it would allow you to use the boot drive as the storage drive.

Actually, I think its the opposite - you’re using the storage drive as the boot drive, but in the case of NVMe, it probably doesn’t really matter either way.

Yes, just use a USB enclosure and connect to your PC, use a flashing utility (Balena, or other) to write the image and you’ll be off and running. Again, just to be clear, flashing the new OS will over-write your data, so if there’s anything important, back it up.

Once you’ve gotten Umbrel on the SSD, you can remove the MicroSD and you should be good to go.

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That worked perfectly, thanks so much for your help!

You actually do not even need a USB enclosure for the NVME drive (I debated buying one but I found a way to do it using just the NVME hat I already had for my Pi 5). If Pi OS can detect the nvme drive (through lsblk or lspci) and it is mounted, you can select it as the target for Pi imager (on Pi OS), and just install Umbrel OS as a custom OS. I tried other methods but this one was by far the easiest (no repartitioning or extra config required other than updating the eeprom bootloader and other stuff). This is the link I used for NVME setup and then I just selected the drive as a target on Pi Imager - Getting Started with NVMe Base for Raspberry Pi 5
Hope this helps

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This has worked flawlessly for me, thanks.

Please note that depending on which hat you use, the boot to NVMe will take a bit longer than with the standard SD card.

No problem - I think the reason it takes longer to boot is because it seems according to the current boot priority for the Pi’s Umbrel OS image, it might be checking for an SD card before booting with the NVME drive. I’m not entirely sure but it’s the only reason that I could see making sense.