How to Boot a Mac from an External Drive or Alternate Startup Disk


Before you get started

As you may already know, an operating system is crucial to keeping your computer systems running.It helps to process and manage your PC’s memory as well as its software and hardware. It also allows you to communicate with the computer so you can carry out behind-the-scenes tasks. [1]An older operating system won’t mean it’s the end of the road for your computer, but you’ll eventually stop getting security updates and receiving support. So, in most cases, it’s in your best interest to upgrade.

USB drive

Before you boot from your USB drive, you’ll need to prepare with the right knowledge and materials, just like any other DIY project.First, you’ll want to invest in a USB flash drive that has at least 16GB of space which should give you some breathing room in terms of storage. However, if you’re able to invest in a 32GB USB drive, that is an even more optimal amount of space for this project.


Next, you’ll want to obtain a license to run the Windows 10 operating system. You can either purchase a Windows license outright or simply use one you have under your account already. After doing so, utilize a Windows USB utility to configure the USB drive with Windows 10.One drawback to booting Windows 10 from a USB device is that the operating system will be slower than it would be if it ran off your regular hard drive. With that said, it’s still a good option if you want a new OS.Not sure how to configure your USB drive? Microsoft conveniently offers Windows to Go which can create a bootable Windows USB drive easily.Unfortunately, Windows to Go is only compatible with Education and Enterprise versions of Windows 10 and needs an official Window to Go drive to work [2]. There’s also another option you can use called WinToUSB which can make a bootable drive from any USB and any OS.Now, you can move on to actually booting your Windows 10 operating system from your USB flash drive.


Dual Boot from different hard drives – …

 · Dual Boot from different hard drives. … Can anyone help with the set up of dual boot where Windows 10 boots to first drive C: and Linux would boot to the second drive F:. I found several samples using one drive but I would prefer to use two drives. they are both SATA drives.

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  • Booting a preloaded operating system drive without proper formatting (as instructed on the setup screen) will cause system to be unstable.

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Create a Windows 10 boot drive for your PC. Its easy

2 天前 · Have a USB boot drive handy should you ever need to reinstall Windows 10 on your PC. Ian Knighton/CNET It's easy to get intimidated when you hear terms …

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How to make a bootable USB in Windows 10

Some users may want to create a bootable USB in Windows 10 so as to boot and fix computer even when it fails. This is not difficult to achieve, but it’s better to figure out your specific needs before you start.

Basically, there are 2 types of bootable USB:

Installation USB: Copy Windows 10 ISO to USB and therefore creating a bootable drive. It could be used to clean install Windows 10 from USB on the same or another computer.

Recovery USB: It contains all the advanced recovery options to help you troubleshoot Windows 10 even when the computer won’t boot. If you back up system files to the USB, you can also use it to reinstall Windows 10. Note it usually doesn’t apply to different computer.

How to create an installation USB

To create Windows 10 installation to USB, you need to download MediaCreationTool first. Find “Create Windows 10 installation media” and click “Download tool now” below it. Then you need to prepare a USB flash drive with at least 8 GB.

Open the MediaCreationTool, choose Create installation media for another PC and click Next.

Select the configurations of the Windows 10 ISO you will download. If you want to use the USB on the same computer, just let it Use the recommended options for this PC, otherwise please uncheck it to make your choices according to actual situation.

Choose USB flash drive and click Next to create an installation USB. You can then use it to boot and (re)install the same or another computer.

How to create a recovery USB

You need a USB drive with at least 16 gigabytes space to create an USB recovery drive.

Search “recovery drive” on the taskbar to run the tool. Tick the option Backup system files to the recovery drive, otherwise the USB cannot be used to reinstall Windows 10. 

Then select your USB drive to Create the recovery drive. When it’s complete, eject the USB.

When the computer fails, just connect the USB, start the PC and press the required key to enter BIOS, set the bootable USB as the first boot option and save the settings.

After choosing keyboard layout, you can choose Troubleshoot > Advanced options to troubleshoot Windows 10, or select Recover from a USB to reinstall Windows.

Boot from destination disk ona desktop

Usually, desktop allows you to install multiple hard drives on the host, which is different from laptop. To install the new disk, do as following:

1. Turn off your computer. Make sure all keyboard and power lights off and no fats are running.

2. Unplug the power cord as a safety measure. Press and hold the power button for about10 seconds to drain any lingering power. It is recommended to wait for another five minutes before proceeding to the next step.

3. Remove all the peripherals, such as keyboards, printer, mouse and so on. (Note: you can take a few pictures so that you can know how to reconnect them later).

4. Now use the correct screwdriver size to remove screws.

5. Remove the cover and access to the internal components of the computer. Locate the internal drive.

6. Disconnect any cables and remove all screws that are used to hold the drive in place.

7. Pull out the old hard drive and insert the new drive carefully. Secure it using the screws that were attached to the old one.

8. Then reconnect all the cables and peripherals. Put the cover back on.

When rebooting your computer, it will boot from the new disk. If you keep both the old and the new hard drive connected to your computer, to boot the computer from the cloned SSD/HDD, you need to get into BIOS to set the new drive as the prior boot device to boot. 

1. Reboot your computer and press a specific key (usually the DEL, ESC, F1, F2, F8, F9, F10, F11,F12 key) constantly to get into BIOS.

2. When you get into the BIOS, you can use the arrow keys to select the cloned SSD/HDD as the prior boot drive, press Enter key to boot from it. Such as the following pictures:

Method 2: Set computer to boot from USB drive via Boot Option Menu

Besides accessing the BIOS user interface, users can directly go to the Boot Options Menu as well. Just like a BIOS Entry Key, most of the systems also have a Boot menu key that can be used to select the primary booting device. Though, before you proceed, you need to ensure your system follows legacy support for booting.

Additionally, you should also be familiar with the Boot menu key on your computer. Here are some popular options:

  • Insert the bootable USB drive into the computer and restart the computer.
  • As soon as you see the company logo on the screen, start pressing the Boot menu key.
  • This will open the Boot menu on the screen. It will display a list of all the devices your system can consider as a booting source. Just select your connected USB and let your computer boot from it.

  • If you generated a bootable flash drive/USB, repeat all the steps that you did when you generated the flash drive in the first place. You may have skipped a step or two, which may be causing the trouble.
  • Check out whether BIOS has been configured properly or not. It is one of the most common issues causing the booting error.
  • Lastly, sometimes the BIOS motherboard is compatible with just certain USB drives, so try using another USB drive and restart your desktop to check whether it works.

By following these simple solutions, you can easily learn how to boot a computer from a USB drive. You can try either of these options and set the desired booting source for your computer. Go ahead and give it a try. If you face any problems, let us know about them in the comments below.

Manufacturer Laptop Desktop computer
HP F9 or ESC F12
Acer F12 ESC
Lenovo F12 F12
Thinkpad F12 F12
Asus Esc F8
MSI F11 F11
Samsung F12 F12
Microsoft surface Pro Volume- Volume-
Sony Esc Esc
Toshiba F12 F12
Fujitsu F12 F12
Gateway F12 F12

What you will need:

  • A USB Flash Drive (with no data on it or one that is expendable)
  • Maybe an hour (depending on how big your hard drive is)
  • A storage disk to save a backup image (always do this – follow the instructions here)
  • Both hard disks installed
  • TuxBoot
  • CloneZilla

Get everything you need ready for a smoother process. Once you have installed all the programs, settings, and have all the data you want, you can get started. Follow the steps below, and it should work out nicely and without a hitch.

1. Go to Windows/My Computer, and right-click on My Computer and select Manage. Once the window opens, choose Disk Management, and usually Windows will acknowledge a new disk has been located and that it needs to be initialized and formatted. Click OK and choose NTFS quick.

2. Download Tuxboot and CloneZilla. CloneZilla will be the application we will use to create an image of the hard drive, and Tuxboot is what we will use to mount it to the USB Flash Drive so that we can boot to it.

3. Once these applications are downloaded, plug in the flash drive that you will be using and format it clean, as we will be using this Flash Drive for CloneZilla. Go to Windows/My Computer, and right-click on My Computer and select Manage. Select the disk (making sure you do NOT select C: drive or another drive you are using) and right click and format it to NTFS Quick, and give it a Drive Letter.

4. Open Tuxboot. Once Tuxboot opens, click on the bottom and choose ISO and click the button to find the location of the CloneZilla live .ISO file. Once that is complete, make sure that the drive you are mounting CloneZilla to is the USB Flash Drive. Hit OK.

5. Reboot the computer and boot off of the USB Flash Drive. Go into BIOS. I don’t know what key that is for your computer but it is either F2 or the DEL key by default. Once you are in, go into your BOOT section and manually boot off of the USB flash drive. This will start CloneZilla.

6. Choose the default CloneZilla Start option, choose your Language Keyboard, choose Do Not Touch KeyMap, and choose the first option: “Start CloneZilla Live.”