Learn how to make a USB drive bootable

Flash drive and other types of USB drives have replaced floppy disks and CDs as the preferred portable storage mechanism for many IT pros. See how you can make these devices into bootable disks for rescuing a system.


In the Technical Q&A forum, TechRepublic member qpeabody asked, "I'm looking to make a jump drive, thumb drive, or USB drive bootable. More specifically, I'd like to make it network bootable. Can anyone help me with this?"


Some confusion quickly developed after this question was posted. Member haileyan responded, "There is no way to make a USB device bootable. You may be able to find DOS drivers to make the device work in DOS, but that would still require booting to a floppy first. Until motherboard manufacturers start making motherboards that recognize USB devices as bootable, you are out of luck. Currently they do not."

Actually, haileyan was right—as of a couple years ago many motherboards did not support bootable USB drives. However, now most modern motherboards do support bootable USB drives.

The bottom line is that if the BIOS on the motherboard supports booting from one of its USB ports, then you can set up a bootable USB drive, and several TechRepublic members posted links that show how to do it. Here are three of the best links that were posted:


The text of discussion posts from TechRepublic members has been slightly edited for spelling, punctuation, and clarity.

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