How Do I Get My Computer to Boot Without a Boot Disc?

by Joanne Reid
external drive image by Albert Lozano from <a href=''></a>

For your computer to boot, it needs instructions. In a functioning system, the boot instructions are on the computer's hard drive. If something goes wrong the typical backup boot system is on a CD that you can instruct your computer to boot from. However if you don't have a functioning CD drive, then you have to resort to other boot options.

Step 1

On the second computer, download the WinToFlash tool. The Resources section below has the link to the WinToFlash tool.

Step 2

Back up all files you want to save from your USB device.

Step 3

Run the WinToFlash tool, and browse to your Windows CD files. In the WinToFlash window make sure that your USB drive letter is right.

Step 4

Click "Create" to start the bootable USB process and wait until it completes.

Step 5

Turn on the computer that needs to be booted, and enter "Setup." The keystroke to enter "Setup" varies according to the brand of computer, but usually it can be seen as soon as the computer turns on.

Step 6

In the "Setup" choose the boot sequence so that the computer will search the USB drive first for a boot system.

Step 7

Turn off your non-booted computer.

Step 8

Insert the USB Drive into the computer to be booted.

Turn on the computer to be booted and if all goes well, it should boot.


  • If you don't have the capacity to boot from a USB drive in your "Setup" section, the other choice is to remove the hard drive from the non-booting computer, attach it to a functioning computer, and perform the necessary disk operations from there. In the Resources section there are bootable images for most Windows operating systems.


Photo Credits

  • external drive image by Albert Lozano from

About the Author

Joanne Reid has been writing since 1972. Her work includes articles for publications such as "Pageant" and "Writer’s Digest" and websites such as She was a computer consultant for private industry and various levels of government for 18 years. Reid has a Master of Arts in history from the University of New Brunswick.

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