How to Boot From a Secondary Hard Drive

By Randall Shatto

Booting to a second or slave hard drive can be a necessity. If your operating system is not functioning properly, booting to your secondary hard drive could be your only solution. You can use the second drive to run a virus scan, use the computer or try to fix your main drive. However, you need an operating system on the drive to be able to boot. If you are unsure, the computer will boot or state, "Insert a Disk."

Step 1

Boot to the BIOS. Turn on or reboot your computer. Watch the screen closely for a "Setup" or "BIOS" instructions. You will need to press a key to enter Setup. This is commonly Del or F2. Your specific computer may differ. Other keys may include F10, Esc or Ins.

Step 2

Search for "Boot Sequence" or "Boot Order." Use the arrow keys to navigate through the information tabs at the top. Then use the up and down arrow to move through the options.

Step 3

Change the boot order for your hard drive. The boot sequence usually is master drive, CD drive and then slave drive. Use the arrow keys on the first boot device. Change to "Slave Drive" or "Secondary Master Drive."

Step 4

Press F10 to save adjustments. Your computer will automatically reboot. Wait for the PC to boot up normally.

Tips & Warnings

  • Your PC BIOS may differ. Look for the "Booting" options and change accordingly. Usually, the save option is F10. However, the commands for saving and help are on the bottom of the BIOS screen.Typically, USB keyboards and mice do not function outside of the operating system. Use a PS2 keyboard to change the BIOS settings.Only change the "Boot Sequence." Unless you are experienced with computers, modifying other options can cause the computer not to operate.