Make a USB Flash Drive Bootable

By Jason Gordon

A boot drive contains a boot sector and system files necessary to boot the computer. These drives are necessary when the system will not boot normally. Traditionally, boot disks were floppy disks but now they are commonly CDs or DVDs and, recently, USB drives. Follow the steps below to make a USB flash drive bootable.

Things You'll Need

  • USB flash drive

Step 1

Insert a USB flash drive into an open USB slot on your computer. Remove any important files from the drive, because it must be formatted to be made into a boot drive.

Step 2

Download the HP Drive Key Boot Utility from the link listed in Resources and double click the file. This works with non-HP flash drives as well.

Step 3

Install the software package. Make sure you don't have any other external USB drives plugged into your computer to avoid accidentally formatting the wrong drive.

Step 4

Follow the on-screen instructions to format the USB drive and install the system files needed to make it bootable.

Step 5

Restart your computer and enter the BIOS (usually by pressing F2 or F10 on startup) to select boot options. Look for the USB Drive---sometimes also referred to as USB ZipDrive or USB HDD. Select and boot from this source.

Tips & Warnings

  • Important: The PC you are attempting to boot from must support booting from a USB drive. Check your BIOS to find a select boot option.

References & Resources