How to Boot from USB on Different OSs [Step-by-Step Guide]

Cedric updated on Sep 08, 2022 to Knowledge Center

When Need to Boot from USB

While using computers, some kinds of issues will come out suddenly, and system not booting is one of the most serious problems. Corrupted operating system files, a blue screen of death, fatal hard drive issues, and many other situations can cause a system death. In these cases, we can boot the system from USB devices quickly, even if the system is dead.

Maybe you don't have these computer problems, and you can boot from USB drives when you need to upgrade or reinstall the operating system.

So now, some preparations are necessary if you want to boot from a USB drive.

What you should prepare to boot from a USB

Before we start booting your computers from a USB drive, some points you should notice:

  • Make sure your USB has at least 5 GB of free storage space, and there are no critical files on it.
  • Create a bootable USB drive with your USB device.
  • Ensure you can connect your PC to the USB drive perfectly. Some computers may don't have enough USB ports, use a converter.

Now we'll explain how to boot from USB devices on three mainstream computer systems – Windows 10/11, Linux, and Mac.

How to Boot from USB on Windows 10/11

To successfully boot your computer from USB drives on Windows 10/11, we need to know how to enter BIOS (Basic Input Output System) first. It is essential to put your USB drive into the first option and then restart your computer.

Now we'll tell you how to do it:

Step 1. Press the power button of your computer to start.

Step 2. Press ESC, F1, F2, F8, or F10 during the initial startup screen.

Step 3. The BIOS setup utility page will appear after you choose to enter BIOS setup.

Step 4. Select the Boot tab with your keyboard and move your USB device to the first one. (Click to find out why your USB not showing in boot menu.)

Step 5. Remember to save your changes and exit the BIOS setup.

Step 6. Now your computer will restart itself and boot from the USB drive.

Step 7. Then your computer may remind you to press any key to continue booting from the USB.

press any key to continue booting

After you boot your computer, you can change the BIOS settings again. If you don't change the settings and keep connecting your USB to the PC, your computer will boot from the USB drive every time.

How to Boot from USB on Linux

The method to boot from USB drives on Linux is similar to that on Windows, and we should change the settings in BIOS too.

Step 1. Make sure you have moved the USB device to the first one in the BIOS setup.

make sure your usb drive  is the first one

Step 2. Connect your computers to the USB drive and press the power button to restart.

Step 3. Select "Run Ubuntu from this USB" in the installer boot menu.

Step 4. Ubuntu will launch now, and you can adjust the settings in this system.

"I'm using a Mac system, and none of these helps." In the next part, we will introduce the method of booting from the USB drive on a Mac.

How to Boot from USB on Mac

It is easier to boot from a USB drive on Mac than that on Windows 10/11 and Linux. You can insert your USB drive directly and follow the steps:

Step 1. Restart your computer by pressing the power button.

Step 2. Hold the option button when you hear the startup sound.

Step 3. Then you can access the startup manager and choose your USB drive to boot.

choose your usb drive to boot

Step 4. Now reassure your choice by double clicking.

It is convenient for Mac users to boot from a USB device, and it only takes a few steps to finish.

Summary

Don't panic if some unpredictable issues happen suddenly and cause your system to crash. You have learned how to deal with these problems – booting the system from a USB drive. And booting from USB drives on different operating systems is not that difficult.

A USB drive can do a lot of things to protect your computers. Not only is a bootable USB, and it is an excellent strategy to make important files backup, system backup even the entire computer backup to your USB drive. Even if you deleted files faulty, you could easily get all the data back.

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