Windows 7/8/10 Won't Boot from USB Flash Drive! How to Fix?

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Many computers do not have the external CD/DVD drive and thus you need the bootable USB drive to install Windows. Creating a bootable USB is fairly easy and all thanks to some really good freeware programs available for this purpose. But, what if the computer wouldn't boot from the USB drive? If you have run into such a problem, here are some solutions for you.

Part 1: Check If Your USB Drive Is Actually Bootable

If the USB bootable drive has not been created the right way or if it is corrupt, you will not be able to install Windows with it. You need to make sure that USB drive has been prepared using the right tools and the right method. You will be able to boot Windows only if the drive is bootable.

This is why it would be worth your while to check if the drive is actually bootable. For this you will need to install a portable application called MobaLiveCD, which uses QEMU emulator to determine if the drive is bootable. Here are the steps:

Step 1. Download the application from http://www.mobatek.net/ (you don't need to install it as it is a portable app for Windows)

Step 2. Launch the app and click 'Run the LiveUSB' button on the screen.

Run the LiveUSB

Step 3. You don't need to create any virtual disk image. You can test the validity of the drive by clicking NO when the next confirmation dialogue box appears:

create hard disk image

Step 4. The QEMU emulator runs and if the drive is bootable, you will see 'Press any key to boot from CD or DVD...'

QEMU emulator

Step 5. If the drive isn't bootable it will ask you to insert a bootable device.

If the USB drive is not bootable, you will need to create the proper bootable drive first. Different versions of Windows use different file systems. If you are trying to use the NTFS formatted bootable drive to install the Windows in the legacy-BIOS or UEFI mode, it will not work. If you are not sure what this is all about, you may contact Microsoft support for more help.

If the drive is bootable and read the following sections.

Part 2: Check If Your PC Supports USB Booting

Your computer will boot from the USB bootable drive only if it supports this type of boot. Not all the computers support USB boot. While most modern computers today support USB booting, there are some that do not. In order to find whether your computer is USB bootable or not, you will need to check the BIOS setup. The steps may vary across computer models but remain more or less the same for all PCs:

Step 1. Restart the computer or if it is shut down, power it on.

Step 2. When the PC starts to run, on the first screen it will display the key you need to press in order to enter the BIOS setup. Usually, it is the 'Delete' or 'Del' key

Note: If you have previously set the BIOS password you will need to provide the password to enter BIOS setup. If you forgot BIOS password, you will need to reset it by taking out the CMOS battery from the motherboard. In case you haven't done this before, it is best to take the help of a technician. If you forgot Windows login password, try to reset your Windows 10 password with PC Unlocker software.

Step 3. You will need to explore a bit and find the 'Boot Options' (or something like that). Once you are there you can set the Boot Priority

Check If Your PC Supports USB Booting

If you do not see the USB boot option, it means that your motherboard does not support it. You will need to boot using some other method. If you do see the USB boot option, read further for more solutions.

Part 3: Set up Your PC for USB Boot

Even if your computer supports USB booting, remember that USB is not always the first boot priority. It is also possible that your computer has not been set up to boot from the USB at all even though it is supported. So, what you need to do is change the BIOS settings so that your computer accepts USB boot. Follow the simple steps below:

Step 1. Restart your PC or if it is already shut down, turn it back on.

Step 2. When the PC starts to run, on the first screen you will see the key you need to press in order to enter the BIOS setup. More often than not it is the 'F2', 'Del' or whichever is the appropriate key for your computer. It may vary depending upon your computer model. For example, Dell computer has different ways to enter BIOS setup, see how to get into BIOS on a Dell computer.

Set up Your PC for USB Boot

Step 3. Find the 'Boot Options' or something similar to it (the steps may vary across computers but it is easy to find).

Step 4. Once you are in the Boot section of the BIOS, you can select the 'First Boot Device'. Select the appropriate option from the Boot Menu.

This will instruct the computer to prioritize the boot and select USB drive as the first option, and insert the bootable USB drive and restart your computer.

Conclusion

There are a number of factors that may prevent USB bootable from working. You need to make sure that USB drive is actually bootable and has been formatted using the correct file system. You also need to make sure that your computer supports USB boot. You will also need enter the BIOS setup to configure your computer to accept USB bootable drive. Hope these methods would be helpful if your laptop can't boot from USB drive.



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