Installing Home Assistant on an existing Raspberry PI 4 8GB Linux machine with a desktop?

Hi, I have put together what I hope will be a very nice little machine specifically for the purposes of installing and getting to grips with HA. It’s A Raspberry PI 4 8GB, with a Geekworm MSATA SSD Storage Expansion Board, a 1tb mSATA drive, a 64GB, a SanDisk MAX ENDURANCE microSDXC Memory Card, Class 10, U3 and V30 read/write, a Geekworm Raspberry Pi X735 Power Management board (a pre-requisite for the mSATA expansion board, although it also adds quite a few extra IOs and brings a number of graceful power management features to the PI) and a very nice Geekworm Raspberry Pi X825-C7 Matching Metal Case.

The idea was to make the PI everything it was capable of being, so (although there are certainly many builds that can top this) I tricked the system out as much as possible without needing to do anything very complex to achieve this.

The goal is to have a system that offers some flexibility in it’s usage potential. It is certainly somewhat ‘over-specced’ in terms of it’s originally intended usage case, which is to serve as an always on HA server. But as it is just a PI and as I want to run a desktop too,it is certainly not over-specced for a desktop.

Which brings me to the first of what I suspect are going to be many question on this forum.

Is anyone here aware of an existing PI desktop image I can download and install on this PI, that also includes a current and functioning version of HA and if so, where can I find this?

If not, which PI distribution would make my task of installing HA and getting it up and running as pain free as possible? Are there are instructions anywhere I can follow to do this?

Third, while initially this PI will boot from MicroSD card, just like any other Raspberry PI, I will at some near future point of course with to change to booting from the mSATA drive. This boar/drive is connected to the PI (and the additional power management board) via a u-bend (U) USB type custom connector supplied in the kit I bought from Geekworm. This just plugs into the mSATA expansion board and then to the PI to deliver 5v to the PI and to the rest of the system. (The mSATA board and the power management board come with their own standard (non-usb) type power supply, which powers this whole arrangement.)

So to cut a long story short, I will in effect be booting an mSATA drive from USB 3.
So my next question is, how do I do that? How do I copy the image from my MicroSD card to the mSATA drive and make the PI 4 boot from USB?

The reason I want a GUI desktop as well as the standard Home Assistant interface(es), is again largely just for flexibility and to allow me to possibly explore a range of different options. I do not intend to use the PI as a full-blown desktop replacement, or even just an occasional replacement. But, for example, one of the reasons I installed such a large hard disk is because I have considered perhaps also using it as a music server. I also want to be able to have some possible options I can explore, should my experiences with HA ultimately not prove fruitful, or maybe just somewhere later down the line, I might want to use my PI for something completely different, that has nothing to do with home automation.

So again that’s the ‘why’ covered I hope.

Also I know this is dumb, but does anyone have a video, or some clear photos showing the correct way to insert the MicroSD card in a Raspberry PI 4? The card I have doesn’t seem to be working (I have bought another), but I wonder if it is down to a small amount of confusion on my part regarding the correct way to insert the card? Shouldn’t the SD card slot be spring loaded? Mine does not appear to be spring loaded at all. (This may have caused me to press slightly harder than normal and to possibly damage the card.)

Any insights any of you guys can offer will be very welcome.

The Tl;dr version of this. Got Raspberry PI 4. Want to use it for HA, but want to know if there’s a desktop distro/image that I can use that already has HA installed. The reason being that I want both a desktop and HA on the same machine. Also how do I copy the contents of my MicroSD card to a USB connected mSATA drive and and them boot from this drive and does anyone have any clear videos and/or photos showing the correct orientation/insertion of the MicroSD card on a Raspberry PI 4?

Hello? Sorry for the bump, but not one response for any of these issues?

The pins of the SD card need to be facing the PCB of the Pi, skinny end of the card with the pins goes in.

No. The last Model B Pi to have a spring loaded SD slot was either the Pi2 or original Pi3, I can’t remember.

No. HA is designed more of less to run on it’s own machine.

You can run HA using Raspberry Pi OS, but you can not (officially) run a version with the Supervisor as it will not be supported. You can run a Core or Container install of HA on Raspberry Pi OS without issue, but you will lose the Supervisor and all the benefits that comes with that.

See HERE for an excellent explanation of the current installation methods available.

Burn the Raspberry Pi OS disk image directly to the SSD. As long as you have performed the most recent updates to the Pi, it will boot from USB SSD.

Thanks, all good answers. It does make having such a massive SSD seem a bit redundant now though.

In any case I have finished building the Raspberry Pi machine and have hard wired it to my network. Unfortunately this makes the last part of your instructions a bit tricky. The SSD control board I installed (I believe this is referred to as a ‘hat’?) is internal and ‘flashing the SSD’ is not a simple matter. It would require dismantling the entire system, buying a USB SSD adapter and then rebuilding everything again from the ground up. Naturally I’m keen to avoid having to do this if possible. Do you (or anyone) have any suggestions?