How to Make a Thumb Drive Bootable

by Quinten Plummer

Loading system maintenance or recovery files onto a bootable disk allows users to bounce back quickly in the event of a serious hard drive crash or to perform maintenance operations without the impedance of rogue "processes" running in the background of your operating system.

Simple Boot

Insert your thumb drive into an empty USB port and then open "My Computer."

Right-click on the icon for your thumb drive and choose the option labeled "Properties" from the menu that appears.

Click on the "Autoplay" tab from the next menu. Select from the drop down menu the type of media that you would like to make bootable inside of windows. Choose from the box below the drop-down menu what actions you would like windows to take when auto-playing these files. Click "OK" at the bottom of the menu.

System Boot

Visit and install a free copy of the HP Bootable Flash Utililty (see Resources below). Have a copy of the operating system that you would like to make bootable from you thumb drive. Select the drive letter of you thumb drive from the drop-down box on the menu that appears. Follow the remaining steps and then close the utility.

Restart your computer and enter into the system in BIOS mode. If you don't know which key to press, watch your system as it starts up--a message displaying which key to press will appear briefly during your computer's booting process.

Add USB booting to the list of startup procedures for your computers. Devices like your hard drive and DVD drive should be included in this list. Your computer checks each drive before booting and you need it to check for USB devices. Save the changes and exit.


  • close Don't enter into your computer's BIOS mode unless you have experience with it and you're comfortable with it--alterations made to your system's core could trigger adverse effects.

Items you will need

About the Author

Quinten Plummer began writing professionally in 2008. He has more than six years in the technology field including five years in retail electronics and a year in technical support. Plummer gained his experience in music by producing for various hip-hop acts and as lead guitarist for a band. He now works as a reporter for a daily newspaper.