How to Set Computer Boot from USB Drive

Setting computer boot from USB flash drive allows you reset user password if you are in the predicament of forgetting your password. Here we will introduce two ways to teach you how to set computer boot from USB flash drive or pen drive. Keep reading to check them out!

Part 1. BIOS/UEFI Hot Key for Different Computers

In order to enable your computer to boot from USB, you need to enter BIOS or UEFI and change setttings, you should press correct key. Here are the common hot keys for different computers, just choose one according to your real situation.

Laptop Desktop Assembled Computer
Laptop Brand Boot Key Desktop Brand Boot Key Motherboard Brand Boot Key
ASUS ESC ASUS F8/F12 ASUS F8
Acer F12 Acer F12 Soyo ESC/F12
Dell F12 Dell ESC Spark ESC
Lenovo F12 Lenovo F12 Biostar F9
Hasee F12 Hasee F12 Onda F11
Haier F12 Haier F12 Foxconn ESC/F12
Founder F12 Founder F12 Topstar F11/F12
THTF F12 THTF F12 Maxsun ESC
HP F9 HP F12 Seethru ESC/F11
BenQ F9 BenQ F8 Yeston F8
Apple Option Apple Option Intel F12
ThinkPad F12     ASRock F11
Toshiba F12     Unika ESC
Samsung F12     ASL F10
IBM F12     ECS ESC/F11
Fujitsu F12     Gamen F11/F12
MSI F11     MSI F11
GIGABYTE F12     GIGABYTE F12
Gateway F12     Jetway ESC
eMachines F12        
Sony ESC        

Part 2. Ways to Set Computer Boot from USB Drive

Before you set computer boot from USB drive you should know that UEFI and BIOS have different procedures to carry out the task. We will be explaining both the methods for your convenience. So, select the right way according your own situation.

1. From USB Device in BIOS/UEFI as First Boot Device Priority

Modern Windows 8/10 pre-installed computer:

  • Let's say it's an ASUS system. Start the computer and hit UEFI key ('F2' / 'DEL') for getting into 'UEFI BIOS Utility' interface.

    Note: Ensure that you've already plugged in USB device before booting up your PC so that it can detect it by the time of boot.

  • Hit 'Exit/Advanced Mode' button and then confirm your actions to proceed. asus uefi boot advanced mode
  • Select 'Boot' from sub-menu and locate 'Boot Option Priorities'. Under that, select 'Boot Option #1' and then hit on 'Enter' key.
  • From the popup window pick 'USB flash drive' followed by hitting the 'Enter' keys. asus usb boot advanced mode
  • Lastly, tap the 'F10' key afterwards for saving the changes and then reboot your PC.

Windows computers with BIOS:

  • Plug in the USB flash drive with your Windows system.
  • Restart/turn on computer and press BIOS key ('F2' / 'Esc' / 'DEL') to get into 'BIOS Setup Utility'.
  • Now, go to 'Boot option' tab and opt for 'Boot device Priority'. Select 'USB drive or USB HDD or Removable Device' as first boot device here.  bios usb boot device priority
  • Click the 'F10' key for saving BIOS settings and then restart PC.

Here is An Example of Phoenix Award BIOS:

  • Tap 'DEL' and enter BIOS settings during PC startup. Now, get into the 'Boot' sub menu using the arrow keys.
  • Next, you need to make use of '+' or '-' keys drag the 'Removable Devices/USB device' to the first place. Tap on the 'F10' key later on to save and exit the boot menu.  phoenix award boot usb drive
  • The computer will now reboot automatically with USB flash drive.

2. From USB Device Using Boot Menu

In this method we will explain booting computer through Boot Menu. Here is how:

  • Connect USB flash drive to your computer and turn it on.
  • Click the 'Boot Option Key' ('F8' / 'F12' / 'Esc') back to back, on seeing the vendor logo on screen.
  • Upon seeing the 'Boot Menu' select 'USB Disk' or 'UEFI: USB Disk' for booting the system.
  • usb drive boot  menu

Note: You may get to see 'USB drive' name as 'USB HDD' or 'Removable device', etc.

Here are some examples for setting computer boot from USB device:

  • Setting a HP laptop (computer) boot from USB device:
  • Plug in USB flash drive to PC and then start/restart the PC. Hit the 'F9' key, when HP logo appears on your computer screen. Press the 'Boot Device Options' and choose the 'USB flash drive' option there.

  • Set Dell (laptop) computer boot from USB device:
  • Connect USB drive to laptop followed by starting or restarting the laptop. Hit the 'F12' key to enter Boot Menu, when it appears on screen. Choose the 'USB flash drive' option here.

  • On Acer laptop setting boot from USB device:
  • Plug in the USB drive and then start/restart your laptop. Upon seeing the Acer logo, tap 'F12' to get into 'Boot Menu'. Pick 'USB flash drive' for booting computer thereafter.

Also Read: Top 3 Ways to Reset Windows Password with USB

Part 2. The Difference Between Boot from CD/DVD and USB Drive

When it comes to boot computer from CD/DVD, the process seems to be quite the same as that of USB. Though, process is same but there are certain differences or drawbacks for booting from CD/DVD.

  • Earlier, the mainstream booting media used to install drivers or windows or system rescue disk was through CD/DVD. As the use of USB takes the rise, CD/DVDs were considered good for none.
  • Read a CD/DVD you need to have a CD/DVD reader/writer installed within your PC. Moreover, just in case it gets scratches over your reading/writing head, you won't be able to make use of it further.
  • If the CD/DVD drive is no longer working you'll not be able to make use of any of it until you get it repaired. On the other hand USB was widely accepted by the users due to its plug and play functionality, be it for booting, storing data or installing drivers/software.

Final Words

Now that you have learnt how to set computer boot from USB device. But, we would love to introduce PassFab 4WinKey for you, which can also reset your computer password using a flash drive. This software is very intuitive and save ample time for resetting passwords. You not only can reset passwords, but also can change, create or remove it as well. Moreover, this tool is effective enough for creating a user account for a locked Windows computer.

Updated on / Posted by Shirley Howard to Windows Tips / Follow @Shirley Howard

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