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How to Make a Bootable USB Flash Disk

by Ty ArthurUpdated September 28, 2017

Most computer systems are not currently designed to boot from a flash drive such as a USB memory stick, but instead are set up to boot from a floppy disk. If you don't have a floppy disk drive on your computer, it is possible to use a USB drive instead, but you will need to download and use several third-party software solutions. You will also need to change several settings in your computer and on the USB drive, which can be a complicated process.

Restart your computer system. Press the "F1" button repeatedly once the restart process starts until the BIOS menu appears on the screen. Press the down arrow key and highlight the "Advanced" option.

Press "Enter" and then scroll down to "Enable USB Support." Press "Enter" again to turn on the USB booting option. Press "F10" to finish restarting the computer and return to your operating system.

Insert your USB flash disk into the USB port on your computer. Click on the Start menu and then choose "My Computer." Right-click your USB drive and select the "Format" option. Leave the various drop-down menus at their default settings and click on "Start Format."

Note the drive letter associated with your USB drive in the "My Computer" menu, such as G:\ or F:. Navigate your browser to the link in the Resources section for the "Bart's MBKT" program.

Download and install the software. Open the program. Click inside the command prompt and type the phrase "mkbt -x bootsect.bin" followed by the drive letter for your USB drive. For example, if your USB drive is the "F" drive, type "mkbt -x bootsect.bin F:."

Close the Bart's MBKT program and return to your web browser. Follow the link in the Resources section to the "Boot CD" website. Search for the boot disk that corresponds to your computer's operating system.

Download the boot information for your operating system and then transfer it to the USB flash drive. Restart the computer with the USB drive still inserted into the USB port to boot your computer from the drive.

Tips

You may have to press a different key to access the BIOS settings. Other common options are "F2," "F8" and "F10."

Depending on the manufacturer of your computer, the exact steps for changing the BIOS settings may be slightly different. Consult the manual that came with your computer or go to your computer manufacturer's website for more information on the exact BIOS settings to change to make the computer boot from a USB drive.

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