Armbian OS – Installing to emmc

Armbian Index

Installing onto emmc/NAND – The internal storage of the TV box
This is pretty simple to do, and what its doing in effect, is taking the installation copy you’ve made of Armbian OS and installing it to the TV Box’s on-board internal storage. However there are 3 important things you need to know before performing this process:
  • This will wipe Android OS or any other OS off the internal storage of your TV Box.
  • Not all TV Box’s support booting alternative OS’s off emmc/NAND.
  • You have to be running your Armbian OS from an SD Card not a USB stick for the script to work.

1) Make sure you have edited BOTH your uEnv.ini AND extlinux.conf files as described here.
2) Boot your system from your Armbian OS SD Card.
3) In the OS, go to Armbian config.

4) In Armbian Config, go into the System and security settings option.

5) Now select the first option Install to SATA, emmc, NAND or USB.
6) Armbian Config will now take between 3 to 8 minutes to copy over your installation from your SD card to your emmc/NAND.

While this is copying, read the section below LOST.DIR, System Volume Information and Android and follow that process if needed.

7) Assuming you configured your extlinux.conf file with the correct DTB, you can shut your system down, take out your SD card, switch it back on, and it should boot.

You can always boot off your SD card again, open BOOT_NAND on the desktop, which is your emmc/NAND boot volume, where you can find the extlinux.conf file, to update the DTB used.

Should your system not boot at this point, check through the bits in this post, ask a question below or search the Armbian forums.

LOST.DIR, System Volume Information and Android folders cause problems booting off eMMC/NAND

If your SD card or USB stick had been plugged into an Android OS or Windows OS computer before you copied your Armbian installation over to eMMC/NAND, you may find out that your system simply wont boot off the eMMC/NAND memory, but will still boot from your SD card/USB stick without any problem.

At time of writing this, when you look on your BOOT_EMMC volume, there should be around 20 files in the root of the boot partition and only 3 folders:

  • dtb
  • dtb-XXX-aml-XXX
  • extlinux

The XXX‘s will be some number, based around the version of Armbian you are using. Any other folders that appear, such as LOST.DIR or System Volume Information etc appear to cause systems problems when booting from the emmc/NAND, but not from SD Card/USB stick.

Whilst Im unable to narrow down why these folders create an issue; in my tests where I  deleted them either before or after copying over to your eMMC/NAND my system would boot fine. Though, once deleting them off the BOOT_NAND volume did corrupt it, requiring a re-copy of to eMMC/NAND, which I figured by booting from my SD Card and being given an error when trying to open BOOT_EMMC.

So if you’ve already copied your files over, but not cleaned up these folders:

1) Boot the system off your original SD Card.
2) On the Desktop of your system, go to the BOOT_EMMC drive.
3) Delete the folders LOST.DIR, System Volume Information and Android.
4) Shutdown the system, remove your SD card/USB Sticks and try booting again from eMMC/NAND.

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Armbian OS – uEnv.ini and extlinux.conf

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