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How to Boot a Computer from a USB Drive

For all sorts of reasons, you may need to force your computer to boot from a USB flash drive instead of starting normally. To achieve this, you have to change some settings in two or three seconds while booting up your computer. And it may have some differences on operating depending on different computer mainboard and brands. Following this article will set out the details of how to boot your computer from a USB drive.

2 ways to Boot your computer from a USB drive

Way 1: Boot your computer from USB drive via Boot Menu.
Way 2: Set your computer to boot from USB drive in BIOS.

Way 1: Boot your computer from USB drive via Boot Menu.

To boot your computer from USB drive via Boot Menu you need to:
Step 1: Insert a bootable USB flash/pen/key drive into your computer.
Step 2: Start or restart your computer. Immediately and repeatedly press the Boot Option key, including the common Esc/F12, until Boot Menu appears.
Tips: To find the BOOT OPTION KEY for your computer, see BOOT OPTION KEY TABLE
Step 3: On the Boot Menu highlight the USB-HDD or other by ↓ or ↑ key. Hit Enter to confirm. Then your computer will boot from the USB drive.

Boot Menu

Way 2: Set your Computer to boot from USB drive in BIOS.

Similarly, you need to firstly connect a bootable USB drive to your computer.

Then start or restart your computer and immediately press and hold the BIOS key until BIOS Setup Utility displays. On the BIOS setup utility, make the USB drive the first boot device.

Tips: The BIOS Keys vary for different computer vendors and brands. The most common are F12, DEL, F11, F1, F9 or other.

However, the BIOS setup utility interfaces have some differences depending on different brands or mainland. Following, see how to boot your computer from USB drive in 3 different BIOS. (In any case, you need to firstly insert your bootable USB drive before starting your computer.)

1. Boot computer from USB drive in Phoenix BIOS.

Step 1: Start your computer and immediately press and hold BIOS key (DEL/F2) until entering BIOS Setup Utility.

Step 2: Highlight the Boot item by and keys.

Step 3: Press + and keys to move the Removable Devices to the first place. Then press F10 and hit Enter to save changes.

Removable Devices

2. Boot computer from USB drive in AMI BIOS.

Step 1: Start your computer and press BIOS key (DEL, F1 or F2) to enter BIOS Setup Utility.

Step 2: Select Boot menu by and → keys.

Step 3: Select Hard Disk Drives by ↑ and ↓ keys. Then hit Enter.

Hard Disk Drives

Step 4: Select the 1st Drive and hit Enter.

Step 5: Note your USB drive type and hit Enter so that you set your USB drive as the 1st Drive.

Step 6: Press F10 and hit Enter to save changes.

3. Boot your computer from USB Drive in Award BIOS.

Step 1: Start your computer and press DEL to enter BIOS setup utility.

Step 2: Highlight the Advanced BIOS Features by ↑and ↓ keys and hit Enter.

Advanced BIOS Features

Step 3: Highlight Hard Disk Boot Priority and press Enter.

Step 4: Move the USB-HDD0 to the first place by + and keys. And hit Enter to save changes. Then press ESC key to exit the Hard Disk Boot Priority interface and back to the last interface.

Hard Disk Boot Priority

Step 5: Highlight the First Boot Device and hit Enter. Choose the USB-HDD or other to boot your computer from the USB drive.

First Boot Device

Hot Keys:

Various Boot Option keys:

Boot Option Key

Various BIOS Keys:

Various BIOS keys