How to set computer boot from USB drive

10:59:00 PM |

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: However, for pre-installed Windows 8 computers, probably they could not enter Boot Menu successfully after you press Boot option key because of UEFI. Now we have to first disable some settings in BIOS. There would be differences for different computers. Now take Lenovo ThinkPad as example, other computers tips following Tipsin table below. 
1. Disable Secure Boot in Security after you enter BIOS window with BIOS/UEFI key. 
2. Set UEFI/Legacy Boot as Both, and choose UEFI First in UEFI/Legacy Boot Priority. Or choose UEFI Onlyin Startup - UEFI/Legacy Boot, and set CSM as YES. 
3. Press F10 to save setting changes, restart computer and enter BIOS menu with Boot option key in the following table. 
Systems supporting for UEFI boot: Windows 7/8/Server 2012 64 bit, openSUSE/ubnutu/Linux 64 bit.

Boot Option Key for different computer
Mainboard VendorLaptopDesktop computer
BrandBoot KeysBrandBoot Keys TipsBrandBoot KeysTips
AsusF8LenovoF12, F10, Novo button, F12+Fn+F11 LenovoF12, F8, F10 
GigabyteF12AcerEsc, F12, F9The "F12" must be enabled in BIOS.HPF12, EscPress Esc, then F9 for Boot Menu.
MSIF11AsusESC, F8Disable "Fast Boot" and "Secure Boot Control" in order to boot from MBR formatted media.AcerF12 
BiostarF9HPESC, F9Press Esc, then F9 for Boot Menu. Select "Patriot Memory" on the Boot Option Menu.DellF12 
SoyoESC, F12ThinkpadF12First disable "Secure Boot", and choose "UEFI Only" and set CSM as "Yes in "UEFI/Legacy Boot".AsusF8 
ColorfulESC, F11DellF12First disable "Secure Boot" and change "Boot List option" as "Legacy", enable "Load Legacy Option Rom"BenqF8 
IntelF10SamsungF12, Esc, F2Must first disable fast boot in BIOS/UEFI to boot from USB drive or use F2 boot menu.Tsinghua TongfangF12 
OndaF11ToshibaF12Change "AHCI" as "complete" in Boot> Advanced> System. FounderF12 
ASLF10GatewayF12 FounderF12 
AsrockF11GigabyteF12 HaierF12 
FoxconnESC, F12BenqF9 CompadEsc, F9 
GamenF11, F12SonyF11, ESC, F10Enable "External Drive Boot" in "Advanced" first.FujitsuF12 
TopstarF11, F12FujitsuF12The "F12" must be enabled in BIOS.   
JetwayESCHasee F12    
EliteESC, F11Tsinghua Tongfang F12    
  CompadEsc, F9    


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.

If you choose this way to set your computer to boot from USB drive, you just need 3 or 4 steps:
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 your computer boot from USB drive:
1. UEFI BIOS (The newest BIOS)
1-1 Start computer (Eg. Asus) and press Del or UEFI key to enter UEFI BIOS Utility window.
1-2 Click Exit/Advanced button in the upper right side of window.
1-3 Choose Advanced Mode.
1-4 Choose Boot in sub-menu.
1-5 Turn to "1st Boot Device" by PgUp and PgDown buttons, and press Enter.
1-6 Select USB flash drive in pop-up dialog. Press Enter. It will be shown in "1st Boot Device" option.
1-7 Press F10 to save changes and exit. 
2. Phoenix Award BIOS
2-1 Press Del to enter BIOS setting screen while powering on computer.
2-2 Choose Advanced BIOS Features.
3-3 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 previous step.
2-5 Select First Boot Device.
There is no option such as USB-HDD, USB-ZIP, so choose Hard Disk as the first boot device.
3. Award BIOS (older)
3-1 Press Del and enter BIOS setting screen while powering on computer.
3-2 Choose Advanced BIOS Features.
3-3 On the Advanced BIOS Features screen, choose Hard Disk Boot Priority.
3-4 Move USB device to the first place of Hard Disk Boot Priority by pressing "+" or "-", press ESC back to the above step.
3-5 there are options like USB-HDD, USB-ZIP etc. Select Hard Disk or USB-HDD, USB-ZIP as the first boot device.
4-1 Press Del or other Bios Key to enter BIOS.
4-2 Press direction keys to move your mouse to BOOT.
4-3 Press up and down arrow keys to move mouse to Boot settings/Boot device Priority, and press Enter.
4-4 In Boot device Priority menu, press up and down keys to move mouse to 1st boot Device. And then press Enter.
4-5 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.
4-6 Press F10 to save BIOS settings and exit.

Keys for various BIOS: 

Mainboard VendorLaptopDesktop computer
BrandBIOS KeysBrandBIOS/UEFI Keys BrandBIOS/UEFI Keys
AsusF2,DELLenovoF1, F2LenovoF1, F2
GigabyteF12AcerDEL, F2HPEsc, F10
MSIF11AsusDel, F2AcerDEL, F1, F2
BiostarF9HPEsc, F10, F1DellF2
SoyoESC or F12ThinkpadDel, F8, F1HaseeF12
ColorfulESC or F11DellF2AsusF9
OndaF11ToshibaF1, F2, ESC, F12Tsinghua TongfangF12
UNIKAESCSamsungF2, F10HaierF12
IntelF12SonyF1, F2, F3  
FoxconnESC or F12FujitsuF2  
GamenF11 or F12HaierF12  
TopstarF11 or F12FounderF12  
YestonF8Tsinghua TongfangF12  
EliteESC or F11GigabyteF12