I can not boot
from any USB thumb drive media, why?
ALL WAYS From Sunday. (I will try my best, seen them all I have ) (Not one word here applies to Apple anything)
I will call this thumb drive the USB stick or just STICK, from now on. (pendrive/key/thumb/memory stick)
Booting to USB is a BIOS issue and has nothing to with Windows, or Linux, you can even boot to Freedos. (yes) or boot to any ISO made for PC (IBM) claimed to be bootable, like my PCI sniffer does.
On some old PCs (Compaq) there are no BIOS pages to access and no boot order page to see or change, no hot key F9 for boot on the fly. (Plop is the only cure) ( and has PATA drive inside) wow old. 1999 year.
One pitfall is booting any UEFI formatted STICK on any OLD PC, or the reverse MBR STICK and then forgetting to turn off SAFE_BOOT in BIOS.
This is what you want see on a modern PC with Modern BIOS. (OLD PCs back in 2002 or older can't do this)
Examples of W7 USB booting clean, this EMS means the Windows PE Pre - Environment. If you can not reach this 1st screen the USB stick is bad or this PC can not boot to USB.
If the USB boots, the screen will text, "hit any key to boot USB" do so or it can never boot any USB stick. I hit space key, big and easy mashing)
Let me be clear here, BIOS makes this happen, not the OS ! BIOS only gets you here. (or UEFI Safe_boot or Secure boot off) As seen here.
This message complies with "EL Torito" spec, and allows the 2nd boot from Windows install to not loop endlessly and boot through to the 2nd boot.
Hit space bar (tap tap, tap) next up is.... (sorry there is no key marked "any key" (pun) This too is a BIOS feature that some makers of PC messup big time. (eg.fails to ask this press question)
If you fail to hit a key, NO USB can boot ever, nor and optical media (CD/DVD/BR) for that matter. (some BAD BIOS, are so bad they do not comply with El Torito spec. (say year 2003 to 2007; the bug years)
The W7 install screen #1
W7 , install page 2. if you get this far , the USB sticks seems be be OK. (but can fail if the HDD is bad) Below and above is my HP ELITEBOOK.
It is safe to go 1 page more testing.
The next button above takes you to the HDD setup screen if no HDD is found there, then it is probably a bad HDD see all test here.
This next photos is an 11 year jump back in time today (blast from the past) to 2007, P5 Asus, last BIOS upgrade was 2010.
As you can see it can not see my defective USB STICK.
Missing USB or wrong BIOS version This guy removed all SATA device, trying to force USB to boot.
Next is a P5Q mobo from ASUS, seen my USB stick, Sandisk (do not buy any USB stick that shows, w8/10 only usage (UEFI) or is useless on W7
This order is wrong, but some BIOS have hot key F8 to change order on the fly or F9 as HP does.
Note how it even says the name of the STICK (makers name) Older BIOS may show, Udisk, removable, or?
Now last this screen from XP (the virus magnet) F6 H3LL I call it. This will cause no HDD found, or no SSD found. XP has like 10% of all SATA driver mission on the install media.
I am not promoting XP here, I'm showing 1 very good reason to update to W7 only. (F6 hell and no HDD found)
Building Install USB devices: NO, you can not just copy the ISO to the STICK.
STICK , Thumb Drive , Pen Drive, USB Key drives, or USB flash memory devices (or just STICK)
RUFUS (free) The last XP /VISTA version was V2.18
Watch out for W10, it has both 32 and 64bit inside one ISO, so need 8GB minimum stick sizes, W7 (either bit 32/64) fits 4GB up.)
FAT32, issues, the MS ISO do not have huge 4GB or larger files that make FAT32 fail.
Rufus, free is portable, no install needed and no malware. (from makers site)
At another working real modern PC, create the new USB W7/10 installer USB STICK. ( I like to preformat the USB stick to FAT32, for best support on old PC's)
If your PC is a very old legacy PC, with OLD BIOS, do not expect 1TB USB STICKS to work, ok? use 8GB or 16. Cheap ones. In the same vain do not buy or use UEFI only STICKS in legacy PC, << fail you will.
This is W7 ISO. v2 example. This works on most older PCs say built back to year 2007.(or new)
Nothing can be more simple using RUFUS (millions do every day)
Super old PCs year 2000 to 2005 range many do not boot at all to USB, (no BIOS support is why) upgrade the BIOS?
Here is 1 example of hopeless case, no possible BIOS USB BOOT support.
Presario 2800 series (2002) (Compaq now HP entered the market with Presario, product, yah that long ago. 1995? ish.(SAYS WIKI)
The 2200 has no USB ports at all. 1997/8
There are vast numbers of PCs that do not boot from USB, 2000 year to 2007 is good range for failure and before that year. 1995 is an intro year, with say Windows 98SE loaded , USB works but not booting to it.
Back in 1995 we patched the OS to use, USB devices or even bought USB cards to do this.
My page here is 2007 and newer PC, so I will let legacy older DIE HERE.
end legacy, begin modern.
The ISO sets all other parameters, NTFS is ok on modern PC's, but not super OLD PC's say before 2007
This new version is not compatible on XP nor VISTA. (do I neeed to say older? I'd hope not)
V3: Is new.
V3, is new and focuses directly on new PCs. CSM ( means compatibility mode ) My PC is CSM mode. (new from ASUS Z270)
PC settings (only seen on modern PCs with UEFI )
* Ensure Secure Boot is disabled.
* Ensure Legacy mode is enabled.
* Save the UEFI/BIOS changes.
On modern HP PCs the F9 key (hammered at power on) lets you select the boot device ON THE FLY.
Try all USB ports, for sure test the stick on a good working PC with W7 or newer running, (build the STICK on modern PC)
In the BIOS of most top grade PCs the USB ports can be
disabled, so make sure they are not . (Mine has USB2 and USB3, on my PC
2010 Elitebook USB3 ports are dead in BIOS by design)
One more pitfall.
Windows 7 32-bit does not support UEFI booting at all). (only 64bit does)
A walk down memory lane, BIOS, fiddling bits.
Default BIOS. (very old LEGACY) 2007 or older. But all versions have Set defaults) (99% do)
Click F9 to reset BIOS and then Yes.
USB bit flips. (Top branded Asus motherboards or high end Enterprise level PCs also have full settings in BIOS ,vast types of settings are here unlike some home grade toy like PCs)
If savvy find every entry with the word USB and make sure they are set correctly. "enabled"
FDD = floppy disk drive for the young kids that never seen one.
Ever seen a ZIP drive, (mines in the land fill) This is a super old PC here below. Like Y2K old.
The USB IOmega ZIP drive, CDROM and FDD external all work here but not USB memory. (legacy H3LL) Circa year 2000 stuff.
version 1. 8-3-2018 (I think I got them all, for USB BOOT DEAD)