Troubleshooting: Boot from USB

Troubleshooting: Boot from USB

Here we can see “Troubleshooting: Boot from USB”

Many recovery tutorials include instructions for booting from a USB stick. This knowledgebase article explains how to resolve the most common issues with booting from a USB stick, USB drive, or flash device.

Boot from USB Troubleshooting

If you can’t get your PC to boot from a properly generated bootable USB drive, it could be any of several factors, even after following our guide on booting from USB devices. This instruction will assist you in determining the problem and booting your computer from the external recovery disc.

Check to see if the USB is truly bootable

It’s critical to make a bootable USB. This is a crucial issue that should not be overlooked: copying a recovery ISO image or file to a USB drive will not work.

Bootable USB drives are not the same as the USB devices you use to save or transfer things from one computer to another. The traditional approach of generating a bootable USB drive by dragging-and-dropping or copy-and-pasting files to a formatted USB drive is insufficient. If you didn’t get a physical copy of the bootable USB in the mail or from a store, you’d have to convert an ISO file into a bootable USB by burning an ISO image of the data to the drive rather than the file/data itself.

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Our knowledgebase has instructions for making a bootable USB from an ISO image using free software such as Easy USB Creator or EasyBCD — the Easy USB Creator instructions are the most compatible and recommended. (Use of Easy USB Creator with recovery software is completely free.) You must carefully follow the instructions, and you must not open the ISO file (the file you likely downloaded containing the recovery program) directly — instead, download and install the USB burning software you intend to use (Easy USB Creator or EasyBCD), and use that application to browse for and open the ISO file you have downloaded.

Do not double-click or otherwise open the ISO file you just downloaded since you will not get the results you want!

Ascertain that the PC is configured to boot from the USB drive

By default, most laptops and PCs are not set up to boot from a USB device. When your PC initially turns on, you must manually take action to start the system from the USB flash drive plugged into the PC. Refer to the instructions for configuring your computer to boot from a USB drive.

Ensure that the USB is formatted as FAT32 rather than NTFS!

Many programs will not start from USBs that are not formatted as FAT32. However, according to our statistics, nearly half of USBs are formatted as NTFS. Make sure your USB is formatted in FAT32, and if it isn’t, format it.

Are you using Windows 8/10 or a PC with EFI/UEFI?

UEFI/EFI is a feature of newer Windows PCs and laptops that might make booting from recovery CDs and USBs difficult. Ensure your PC or laptop is configured to support booting from recovery CDs, DVDs, and USB sticks by following the instructions for enabling Legacy Boot and disabling Secure Boot.

The ISO picture should not be unzipped!

Do not extract or unzip the contents of what looks to be a WinZip or WinRAR file, a folder, or some other zipped archive! The file you downloaded is an ISO image, which may appear to be a ZIP file depending on how your computer is configured, but it is not. Instead of opening the download file immediately by double-clicking on it, launch the USB Creator and use the “browse” option to locate and pick the ISO image you downloaded!

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Don’t open the downloaded ISO image right away

Instead of double-clicking the download file, start the software and use the “browse” option to locate and pick the ISO image you downloaded!

On a different computer, test the USB

Using the USB stick in another PC with an evident “boot selection menu” button is the easiest way to see if the problem is with your PC’s configuration or the USB stick you’re trying to boot from.

Use a different USB to test the PC

Try booting your PC from any other guaranteed-bootable USBs you have laying around, such as the original Windows setup USB or your PC’s restore USB. This will reveal whether the issue is with your PC or the USB you’re attempting to make.


I hope you found this information helpful. Please fill out the form below if you have any queries or comments.

User Questions:

1. What is UEFI (Unified Extensible Firmware Interface) boot mode?

The boot procedure employed by UEFI firmware is referred to as UEFI boot mode. UEFI firmware analyzes all bootable storage devices connected to the system for a valid GUID Partition Table during the POST phase (GPT).

2. Is a bootable USB required?

If your computer becomes inoperable due to a corrupted or compromised operating system or is brand new, you can install the operating system using a bootable flash drive. After the files have been copied to your computer, restart it and go about your business as usual.

3. What exactly does it mean to “troubleshoot” a problem?

Troubleshooting is a method of identifying and resolving problems in complicated equipment, electronics, computers, and software systems. Gathering information about the problem, such as unwanted behaviour or a lack of intended functionality, is the first stage in troubleshooting.

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