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Everything You Need to Know About Booting from USB on Windows 10

Updated by Gemma on Feb 16, 2022

Workable Solutions Step-by-step Troubleshooting
1. How to Boot from USB on Windows 10 When you see a prompt on startup, press the...Full steps
2. Use Software to Create a Bootable USB Check how much disk space is used for the...Full steps
3. Create a Bootable USB with Windows Media Creation Tool A computer connected to the internet: The...Full steps

What You Need When Booting from USB

By default, your computer firmware will try to boot from the local drive first. In this case, Windows 10 is installed on the drive and will be booted up automatically when you start up your computer. You can edit the boot priority order in BIOS settings in order to boot from external devices such as a CD/DVD or a USB drive. You will usually see this being used when installing an operating system using installation media, or when you are using a recovery tool if the operating system fails to boot.

You can create bootable media in multiple ways. For Windows users, you can use Windows utilities to set up the drive as needed. Many third-party options are also available for you to use. After you have created a bootable USB, you can restart your computer and boot from it. You will have to change boot priority first, as we will show below.

How to Boot from USB on Windows 10

Once you have your device ready, you can restart the computer. Accessing BIOS settings may be different for various systems, but the menu should be similar.

Step 1. When you see a prompt on startup, press the key listed as "Access BIOS," "BIOS settings," etc. The key needed is usually a function key like F1, F2, F8, F10.

Step 2. Once you have entered BIOS settings move to the Boot tab.

Step 3. Select Hard Drive BBS Properties.

Some BIOS versions may allow you to edit the boot order directly.

Step 4. In boot options, select Generic USB Flash Device as #1.

If the USB fails to boot, the option set as #2 will be booted afterwards.

Step 5. Save and exit the BIOS menu to reboot the computer.

How to Create a Bootable USB for Windows 10

You can also create your own bootable drives for various uses such as Windows 10 installation. You can download the Windows media creation tool and use your license code to create an installation media. Another choice is to use third-party software such as EaseUS Todo Backup which can do more for you. In this part, we will introduce both tools and the steps needed to create a bootable USB for Windows 10.

Method 1. Use EaseUS Todo Backup to Create a Bootable USB

The easier and more convenient method of creating bootable media is to use a powerful tool such as EaseUS Todo Backup and clone your operating system with a few clicks. With the third-party tool's System Clone feature, you will be able to clone your OS to an external device like a USB drive and bring Windows with you everywhere.

Apart from system cloning, the backup software supports various other data utilities such as:

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USB requirements:

1. Check how much disk space is used for the system C drive. Let's assume 40GB. Then prepare a qualified USB drive, of which the disk capacity must be larger than 40GB.

2. Do you use an empty new USB drive or an old one? Make sure that all the important data has been safely transferred because the system clone will overwrite data on it completely.

3. Correctly connect the USB drive to your machine and make sure that Windows has detected it and assigned a drive letter to it.

Follow the overall process to create a portable Windows USB drive and boot from it:

Step 1. Launch EaseUS Todo Backup. Expand the Tools menu and click "System Clone".

select system clone

Step 2. On the "System clone" window, the software will choose the system partition and boot partition by default. Just Choose the USB drive as the destination disk. Click on "Advanced options" and then "Create a portable windows USB Drive". Click "OK" and then "Next".

select system clone

Step 3. You can preview or adjust the disk layout on the destination drive. If there is no problem, click "Proceed" and the software will start immediately cloning the default system partitions of your desktop/laptop to the USB drive. After the cloning process is over, you can safely plug the USB drive out.

select system clone

Step 4. Boot from the USB drive.

  • Connect your portable USB to the computer
  • Restart the computer and press "Del" to enter BIOS
  • Set the PC to boot from the portable USB by changing the boot order in BIOS under the "Boot" tab
  • Save changes and you'll see your system booting up from the USB drive
 

Users of EaseUS products will also have access to 24/7 technical support. Our data specialists will be able to assist you with any problems you may experience when using our products or if you have other questions with data management. We ensure that you will be able to fully use the software without any trouble. Just contact our support, and we will guide you through the entire process if you are experiencing any issues.

Method 2. Create a Bootable USB with Windows Media Creation Tool

For users looking to use official tools, Windows has a tool for bootable media creation. With this tool, you will be able to create an installation media that can be used to perform a fresh install of Windows 10 or upgrade from older versions to Windows 10. However, here's what you will need in order to create an installation media:

  • A computer connected to the internet: The installation media will download additional data from the internet during installation.
  • A USB flash drive or DVD: The external device will be used as a bootable drive, note that all data on the device will be lost once it is used to create a bootable drive. Back up all data as needed.
  • A Windows product key: As you are going to install Windows 10, you will need to have the required license key in order to install Windows 10 through bootable media.

Before installing or upgrading to Windows 10, you should check your PC for the following:

  • Check if the CPU is 32-bit or 64-bit: The correct version of Windows must be installed
  • Check if the computer meets the system requirements for Windows 10
  • Check the language and edition of Windows

Once all requirements are noted, you can begin creating the installation media.

  1. 1. Download and install the media creation tool.
  2. 2. Run the tool, select Create installation media for another PC
  3. 3. Select the language, edition, and architecture (64-bit or 32-bit) for the Windows 10 installation.
  4. 4. Connect your USB drive to the computer, the drive must have at least 8 GB of space. This will delete all data on the drive. You can also create an ISO file on your PC which can be written to a disk later.

Once the media is created, you can begin installing Windows 10. But first, you should save and backup all important files beforehand. You may also need to update all drivers as needed. If your installation media is an ISO file, you will have to burn the file onto a disk first.

You can then boot into the USB drive using the method explained above. Select appropriate settings and begin installing Windows 10.

Conclusion

Sometimes you may want to boot your computer with an external device such as a USB drive instead of the system drive. For example, you need to install or perform a system recovery for Windows using installation media. We recommend that you use EaseUS Todo Backup, a versatile data utility tool that allows you to easily clone the operating system onto an external device. With this bootable media, you will be able to use Windows 10 on other computers as needed.

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Updated by Gemma

Gemma is member of EaseUS team and has been committed to creating valuable content in fields about file recovery, partition management, and data backup etc for many years. She loves to help users solve various types of computer related issues.

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