How to Boot from USB Windows 11: A Step-by-Step Guide

Booting from a USB drive on Windows 11 is a handy way to install or run a different operating system on your computer. It could also be a lifesaver if your system is having trouble booting from the hard drive. With a few simple steps, you can set up your machine to boot from a USB drive.

Step by Step Tutorial: Boot from USB Windows 11

Before we start, let’s understand what we’re about to do. Booting from a USB drive can be incredibly useful for troubleshooting or installing a new operating system. Here’s how to do it:

Step 1: Insert the USB drive

Plug your USB drive into an available USB port on your computer.

It’s important that the USB drive has the necessary bootable files. If it doesn’t, your computer won’t recognize it as bootable.

Step 2: Access the boot menu

Restart your computer and press the specific key to enter the boot menu. This is usually one of the function keys (F2, F10, F12), ESC, or DEL, but it can vary depending on your computer’s manufacturer.

The boot menu is a special menu that lets you select which device you want to boot from.

Step 3: Select the USB drive

Once in the boot menu, use the arrow keys to navigate to your USB drive and select it.

If you have more than one USB drive connected, make sure you select the correct one.

Step 4: Save and exit

After selecting the USB drive, save your settings and exit the boot menu. Your computer will then attempt to boot from the USB drive.

Make sure you press the key to save your settings, usually F10 or "Save and Exit" option.

After completing these steps, your computer should boot from the USB drive. If everything goes smoothly, you’ll see the operating system’s startup screen, and you can proceed with installation or troubleshooting.

Tips for Boot from USB Windows 11

  • Make sure your USB drive is formatted correctly and has the necessary bootable files.
  • Check your computer’s manual or manufacturer’s website to find out the specific key to access the boot menu.
  • If your computer doesn’t boot from the USB drive, double-check the boot order in the BIOS settings.
  • Disconnect any unnecessary USB devices to avoid confusion during the booting process.
  • Creating a backup of your important files before booting from a USB drive is always a good idea.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I know if my USB drive is bootable?

Your USB drive is bootable if it has an operating system’s installation files and a bootloader. You can usually create a bootable USB using specialized software.

Why won’t my computer boot from the USB drive?

There could be several reasons, such as incorrect BIOS settings, a non-bootable USB drive, or the USB port not working. Check these factors to troubleshoot the issue.

Can I boot from a USB drive on any computer?

Most modern computers support booting from a USB drive. However, some older systems might not have this capability.

What is the BIOS/UEFI?

BIOS (Basic Input/Output System) or UEFI (Unified Extensible Firmware Interface) is the program a computer’s microprocessor uses to start the computer system after it is powered on. It also manages data flow between the computer’s operating system and attached devices.

What should I do if the boot menu key doesn’t work?

If pressing the boot menu key doesn’t work, you might need to access the BIOS/UEFI settings and change the boot order manually.


  1. Insert the USB drive into a USB port.
  2. Restart the computer and press the key to access the boot menu.
  3. Select the USB drive from the boot menu.
  4. Save the settings and exit the boot menu.


Booting from a USB drive on Windows 11 is a process that can come in handy for various reasons. Whether you’re trying to install a new operating system, troubleshoot an existing one, or just running a live system for temporary use, it’s essential to know how to boot your computer from a USB drive. Remember, the key to a successful boot from USB is ensuring that your USB drive is correctly prepared with the necessary files and that you access the boot menu during startup. Once you’ve mastered this skill, you’ll be equipped to handle different scenarios that require you to boot from an external drive. So why not give it a try? You might just find it to be a valuable addition to your tech toolkit.

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