How to set up a computer to boot from a USB key

How to set up a computer to boot from a USB key
How to set up a computer to boot from a USB key
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It is easy to create and use a bootable flash disk. It can be a really useful tool when it comes to diagnosing faults on a computer, for example. Follow this guide which will show you how to do it.

Steps

Method 1 of 2: Create a bootable flash disk

Set Your Computer to Boot from USB Flash Drive Step 1

Step 1. Decide how you want to use it

One of the most frequent uses is in the form of MS-DOS boot disks which allow fault diagnosis on older Windows systems and also to run a number of troubleshooting tools. To create a bootable USB flash drive containing MS-DOS, you will need a blank flash disk and the "HP USB disk storage format tool" (Hewlett-Packard storage disk formatting tool), as well as Windows 98 system files.

Set Your Computer to Boot from USB Flash Drive Step 2

Step 2. Download Windows 98 system files

The MS-DOS files for the Windows 98 system are available for free and legally on the Microsoft site.

These files are usually downloaded as a.Zip archive. Extract them into a temporary directory where you can easily access them, such as on your desktop or on the root (C:) of your hard drive. You can erase it when you are finished

Set Your Computer to Boot from USB Flash Drive Step 3

Step 3. Download and install the "HP USB disk storage format tool" utility

This tool is free and was designed by Hewlett-Packard, it will allow you to quickly format any flash drive. You need it to create a boot sector there. Insert the USB drive you want to use and run the format utility.

  • Select the flash disk from the drop-down menu Peripheral (Device). Make sure you choose the correct drive!
  • The second drop-down menu which then appears will allow you to choose the file system. Select FAT32.
Set Your Computer to Boot from USB Flash Drive Step 4

Step 4. Under Format Options, check the small box in front of Create MS-DOS Bootable Disk

Then click on the button located under Indicate the location of the DOS system files.

  • Locate the directory where you unzipped the Windows 98 MS-DOS system files. Select the folder and then click OK.
Set Your Computer to Boot from USB Flash Drive Step 5

Step 5. Click the Start button

The program will then prompt you to proceed with formatting and notify you that all documents stored on the unit will be erased. Your bootable MS-DOS flash memory is now ready for use.

Set Your Computer to Boot from USB Flash Drive Step 6

Step 6. Investigate other possible uses for bootable USB disks

For example, you can think of creating a Windows installation flash disk without CD / DVD, for a “Netbook” type computer that is not equipped with a DVD drive. In order to know how to create an installation disc for Windows 7 or Vista, see our guide.

Method 2 of 2: Boot the system from flash disk

Set Your Computer to Boot from USB Flash Drive Step 7

Step 1. Insert the flash disk

Check that it is connected directly to the computer and not through a hub.

Set Your Computer to Boot from USB Flash Drive Step 8

Step 2. Start your PC

As soon as you see the manufacturer's logo appear, which varies depending on the brand of the computer, press the enter key in BIOS. The most classic keys that you will have to press in order to enter the BIOS settings menu are F2, F10 Where Eff. This key will be indicated at the bottom left of your screen.

This startup phase can be very quick and you may need to restart your computer another time if you haven't had time to recognize this key to enter BIOS

Set Your Computer to Boot from USB Flash Drive Step 9

Step 3. Find the Boot Priorities menu

If you were able to press the required key in time, you should have arrived at your computer's BIOS setup menu. This is where you can set all the basic functions of the machine before loading the operating system. Go to the boot priorities menu (materialized here by the Boot tab). Each manufacturer has a different way of presenting BIOS settings. Some present it in columns, others present it in the form of tabs at the top of the page. Here is an example presentation of the entry page of the BIOS settings menu.

Set Your Computer to Boot from USB Flash Drive Step 10

Step 4. Change the order of the boot priorities

When you are in this menu, you can see a list of devices where the computer will go to search for the boot sector of an operating system. The typical priority device is the hard drive, followed by the optical disc drive (CD / DVD).

Select the priority device and change it to flash disk. It can be identified by the BIOS as "Removable Disk" or by the display of the model of the inserted USB memory. Your computer will now first search for the boot sector of a system in your USB drive at boot time instead of searching for it on your hard drive

Set Your Computer to Boot from USB Flash Drive Step 11

Step 5. Save your choices then exit BIOS

Find the BIOS exit menu and select Save changes and exit. You may also need to press a hot key that will perform these functions. This key will be displayed at the bottom of the screen if this is the case.

Save the changes then exit BIOS to restart your computer

Set Your Computer to Boot from USB Flash Drive Step 12

Step 6. Wait for your flash drive to automatically load the system

You will be able to take control of it a few seconds after startup. If you have created an MS-DOS flash disk, you will be taken to the shell screen. If it contains the Windows 7 system installer, the system installation process will start automatically.

Advice

  • When restarting, if you only see the manufacturer logo without any other options, press the key ESC Where TAB.

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