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How to set computer boot from USB drive

This document shows you how to set your computer to boot from USB flash drive. You can set your computer to boot from USB flash drive by the following ways.

Method 1: Set computer Boot from USB device by Boot Menu

Guide to set your computer boot from USB drive:

Step 1: Insert USB flash drive to computer.

Step 2: Power on or restart computer. When vendor logo appears on screen, press Boot Option Key repeatedly until Boot Option Menu appears. You can find the Boot Option Key for your computer from the following table.

Step 3: When Boot Menu appears, choose USB drive to boot your computer. Tips: Boot Menu may show your USB drive as USB HDD or other name. You can try again to get the right one.

Tips: While your computer is preinstalled with Windows 8/10, sometimes probably you cannot set computer boot from USB drive so easily with boot option key, because UEFI BIOS has replaced traditional BIOS. It seems to be more secured, more fast to boot computer, and maybe you coudn't have enough time to press boot option key when computer logo appears.

Besides, note that this boot menu option may not be present on all UEFI PCs. On some UEFI PCs, you may have to access the UEFI settings screen in a different way - check your PC’s documentation for instructions if you don’t see the button here.

So if this method cannot work for UEFI PCs, please follow method 2, entering UEFI BIOS settings and set USB device as first boot device.

 

Boot Option Key for different brand computer:
Mainboard Vendor Laptop Desktop computer
Brand Boot Keys Brand Boot Keys Tips Brand Boot Keys Tips
Asus F8 Lenovo F12, F10, Novo button, F12+Fn+F11   Lenovo F12, F8, F10  
Gigabyte F12 Acer Esc, F12, F9 The "F12" must be enabled in BIOS. HP F12, Esc Press Esc, then F9 for Boot Menu.
MSI F11 Asus ESC, F8 Disable "Fast Boot" and "Secure Boot Control" in order to boot from MBR formatted media. Acer F12  
Biostar F9 HP ESC, F9 Press Esc, then F9 for Boot Menu. Select "Patriot Memory" on the Boot Option Menu. Dell F12  
Soyo ESC, F12 Thinkpad F12 First disable "Secure Boot", and choose "UEFI Only" and set CSM as "Yes in "UEFI/Legacy Boot". Asus F8  
Colorful ESC, F11 Dell F12 First disable "Secure Boot" and change "Boot List option" as "Legacy", enable "Load Legacy Option Rom" Benq F8  
Intel F10 Samsung F12, Esc, F2 Must first disable fast boot in BIOS/UEFI to boot from USB drive or use F2 boot menu. Tsinghua Tongfang F12  
Onda F11 Toshiba F12 Change "AHCI" as "complete" in Boot> Advanced> System. Founder F12  
UNIKA ESC IBM F12   Hasee F12  
ASL F10 Gateway F12   Founder F12  
Asrock F11 Gigabyte F12   Haier F12  
Foxconn ESC, F12 Benq F9   Compad Esc, F9  
Gamen F11, F12 Sony F11, ESC, F10 Enable "External Drive Boot" in "Advanced" first. Fujitsu F12  
Topstar F11, F12 Fujitsu F12 The "F12" must be enabled in BIOS.      
Yeston F8 MSI F11        
CTHIM F12 eMachines F12        
Jetway ESC Hasee F12        
Elite ESC, F11 Tsinghua Tongfang
F12        
Maxsun ESC Founder F12        
    Haier F12        
    Compad Esc, F9        
 

 

Examples:

Example 1. Set Dell laptop or computer boot from USB Drive.

Insert the USB stick into a USB port and start or restart computer. When F12 = Boot Menu appears in the upper-right corner of the screen, press <F12>. When Boot Option Menu appears, choose USB stick to boot from.

Example 2. Set HP laptop to boot from USB flash drive.

Insert USB memory stick to computer and start or restart HP computer. When HP Logo appears on screen, press F9 to enter BOOT MENU (Boot Device Options), and then choose USB memory stick to boot from.

Example 3. Set Acer laptop to boot from USB flash drive.

Insert USB memory stick to Acer laptop and start or restart Acer laptop. When Acer logo appears on screen, press F12 to enter Boot Device Options, and then choose USB memory stick to boot from.

Note: For traditional BIOS, follow the examples above to set Dell/HP/Acer laptop boot from USB flash drive is OK. But for UEFI BIOS, some settings should be disabled or enabled first in BIOS (follow "Tips" in above table ), then we can set laptop or desktop boot from USB flash drive successfully with boot keys.

 

Method 2: Set USB drive as first Boot device Priority in BIOS/UEFI

If you choose this way to set your computer to boot from USB drive, you just need 3 or 4 steps. But because of differences between traditional BIOS and UEFI BIOS, this method will talk about how to set USB drive as first boot device in BIOS Setup in two parts.

For new computers pre-installed with Windows 8/10:

Step 1: Start computer (Eg. Asus) and press UEFI key to enter UEFI BIOS Utility window.

Step 2: Click Exit/Advanced button in the upper right side of window.

Step 3: Choose Advanced Mode.

Step 4: Choose Boot in sub-menu.

Step 5:Turn to "1st Boot Device" by PgUp and PgDown buttons, and press Enter.

Step 6: Select USB flash drive in pop-up dialog. Press Enter. It will be shown in "1st Boot Device" option.

Step 7: Press F10 to save changes and exit.

Tips: How to Access UEFI BIOS Setup to Boot Windows 8/10 from USB/CD-ROM

For older computers with traditonal BIOS:

Step 1. Insert USB flash drive to the computer.

Step 2. When power on or restart your computer, press BIOS Key to enter BIOS Setup Utility.

Step 3. Enter Boot option tab, and go to Boot device Priority item. On Boot device Priority item, choose USB drive or USB HDD as the first boot device.

Step 4. Press F10 to save the BIOS setting, and restart computer.

Example for setting traditional computer boot from USB drive:

1. Phoenix Award BIOS
1-1 Press Del to enter BIOS setting screen while powering on computer.
1-2 Choose Advanced BIOS Features.
1-3 On the Advanced BIOS Features screen, choose Hard Disk Boot Priority.
1-4 Move USB device to the first place of Hard Disk Boot Priority by pressing “+” or “-“, press ESC back to the previous step.
1-5 Select First Boot Device.
There is no option such as USB-HDD, USB-ZIP, so choose Hard Disk as the first boot device.

2. Award BIOS (older)
2-1 Press Del and enter BIOS setting screen while powering on computer.
2-2 Choose Advanced BIOS Features.
2-3 On the Advanced BIOS Features screen, choose Hard Disk Boot Priority.
2-4 Move USB device to the first place of Hard Disk Boot Priority by pressing "+" or "-", press ESC back to the above step.
2-5 there are options like USB-HDD, USB-ZIP etc. Select Hard Disk or USB-HDD, USB-ZIP as the first boot device.

3. AMI BIOS
3-1 Press Del or other Bios Key to enter BIOS.
3-2 Press direction keys to move your mouse to BOOT.
3-3 Press up and down arrow keys to move mouse to Boot settings/Boot device Priority, and press Enter.
3-4 In Boot device Priority menu, press up and down keys to move mouse to 1st boot Device. And then press Enter.
3-5 Select Removable Device as the first boot device.
If you have not chosen USB device as the first boot device for Hard Disk Drives, there will not be USB device. But you can choose Removable Device as the first boot device. If you have set the first boot device for Hard Disk Drives, now you can select USB device as the first boot device directly.
3-6 Press F10 to save BIOS settings and exit.

 

Keys for various BIOS/UEFI:

Mainboard Vendor Laptop Desktop computer
Brand BIOS Keys Brand BIOS/UEFI Keys Brand BIOS/UEFI Keys
Asus F2,DEL Lenovo F1, F2 Lenovo F1, F2
Gigabyte F12 Acer DEL, F2 HP Esc, F10
MSI F11 Asus Del, F2 Acer DEL, F1, F2
Biostar F9 HP Esc, F10, F1 Dell F2
Soyo ESC or F12 Thinkpad Del, F8, F1 Hasee F12
Colorful ESC or F11 Dell F2 Asus F9
Asrock F11 Hasee F12 Founder F12
Onda F11 Toshiba F1, F2, ESC, F12 Tsinghua Tongfang F12
UNIKA ESC Samsung F2, F10 Haier F12
ASL F10 IBM Del Benq F8
Intel F12 Sony F1, F2, F3    
Foxconn ESC or F12 Fujitsu F2    
Gamen F11 or F12 Haier F12    
Topstar F11 or F12 Founder F12    
Yeston F8 Tsinghua Tongfang F12    
CTHIM F12 MSI F11    
Jetway ESC Benq F9    
Elite ESC or F11 Gigabyte F12    
Maxsun ESC Gateway F1,F2    
    eMachines F12    
 

 

Related Document: How to set your computer to boot from CD/DVD

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