How to Fix Windows 10, 11 Bootable USB Not Working (5 Ways)

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Desktop/Laptop Won’t Boot from USB

Many computers including desktops and laptops don’t have a CD or DVD drive. In this case, a USB flash drive is a good choice. You can easily create a bootable USB drive to boot the PC when Windows fails to start up for troubleshooting or install the Windows operating system.

However, according to many users, their computers are unable to boot from USB. If you are also trying to boot your laptop or desktop from a bootable USB drive in Windows 10/8/7 but the system doesn’t allow you to do that work, what should you do to get rid of this case?

In the following part, let’s go to see some methods.

Part 2: What Causes PC Cannot Boot from USB?

Several possible causes can generate this problem; below I will list some of them.

Outdated Firmware: Remember that your computer’s operating system and firmware perform similar functions but at different times. When you start your computer, the firmware is the software in charge of managing your computer’s hardware. If this software is out of date, it may be unable to detect some devices.

Physically damaged USB ports: If the port you are connecting the USB device to has physical damage or dirt residue, this can hinder connectivity; if this is the case, try plugging the device into another port.

USB is not bootable: Remember that you can boot from a USB. The USB has to have a specific configuration. The files must have been previously configured to run in a firmware environment; therefore, copying and pasting a file will not be enough to be able to run it from the boot.

Wrong boot configuration: The firmware of any computer uses a boot hierarchy scheme. In this way, it first checks if there is an operating system installed to boot from it and, if not, it advances to the next position in the hierarchy scheme. Commonly, the second place belongs to an external storage medium such as CDs / DVDs, Floppy disks, or USBs. For everything to work correctly, you must assign the highest position in the hierarchy to the USB devices.

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Why Windows 10 bootable USB not working?

Windows 10 bootable USB not working issue may be caused by wrong boot mode or file system. Specifically, most of the old computer models supports Legacy BIOS while the modern computer like Windows 8/10 uses UEFI boot mode. And usually, BIOS boot mode requires NTFS file system while UEFI (CSM disabled) requires FAT32.

There are some other reasons may cause Windows 10 not booting from USB, please refer to the following scenarios:

  • Bootable USB is not detected as a boot device. This means your USB stick is either corrupted or unbootable itself, or USB boot is not supported on the computer. 

  • Bootable USB not showing up in BIOS. This may happen because of incrrect boot order. By default, your computer only boot from the first boot option. 

  • Bootable USB not showing up in boot menu. This is because your USB drive is old USB 1.0 or 2.0, which is not supported by Windows 10. 

  • You can’t boot from USB in Windows 10, not even select the right boot option. In this case, the USB drive is likely to be damaged or corrupted. You may receive error message like “no bootable devices found”.

Now, I’ll provide the approaches to check and fix the problem.

5 fixes to Windows 10/11 not booting from USB

Before you start, you need to know that USB drive as a boot option is supported in newer OS like Windows 8/10/11. But if the flash drive itself is not actually bootable, your computer will try to boot from the next bootable device in the priority boot sequence of BIOS.  This is why your computer continues to boot Windows without any prompts. 

Then, continue to learn how to fix Windows 10 bootable USB is not working.

Fix 1: Make Sure the file system of USB drive is formatted as FAT32

Format the drive with NTFS file system if the computer is Legacy BIOS mode. Meanwhile, format your USB with FAT32 if your computer boot mode is UEFI.

To format the USB drive, please press “Windows + E” to open file explore, right-click the USB drive and select “Format“, then select FAT32(Default) file system and click “Start” to begin.

Tip: Also, you can format USB flash drive to FAT32 using Diskpart. To open it, run cmd as administrator, type diskpart in the command prompt, and input the following commands subseqently. ▪ list disk ▪ select disk n (“n” refers to the disk number of the USB flash drive that you want to format) ▪ list partition ▪ select partition m (“m” is the USB flash drive partition number) ▪ format fs=fat32 quick

Fix 2. Be sure the USB drive is set to be the first boot option

You can restart your computer, press the key (eg: F2, F11, ESC) on the first screen to enter BIOS, find out Boot Options or something like that and set boot priority to USB drive

If you cannot see the USB boot option, your computer may not support this option. You need to try different ways.

Fix 3. Enable CSM or Legacy boot mode, and disable Secure Boot Control

You can enter the BIOS screen and click Boot > Launch CSM and enable it. Next, click Security > Secure Boot Control and disable it.

Fix 4. Change UEFI or Legacy BIOS boot mode 

You can enter BISO screen and click UEFI/BIOS Boot Mode or Launch Storage OpROM Policy, then select the right mode. If the bootable drive is FAT32, select UEFI. But if it’s NTFS, please choose Legacy. 

Fix 5: Create a bootable USB with Windows media creation tool

Up still now, if you don’t fix Windows 10 bootable USB not detected or showing up via the given solutions, you can choose to create an installation disc with Windows 10 media creation tool provided by Microsoft’s official website. Please follow the steps below. 

Download the media creation too first and then launch, select “Create installation media for another PC” and follow the on-screen instructions to complete this task.

Tip: Except for creating installation media, you still cancreate a bootable USB drive with built-in recovery drive (for detailed steps, see Windows 10 recovery disk). 

Now, you may already fix this error and have a bootable USB drive, so you can start to check if you can boot from USB in Windows 10 and then repair Windows 10 with bootable USB. The following is a simple guide for you.

1. Connect the bootable USB and set boot priority in the BIOS.

2. After the Windows files loading is completed, click Next until you see “Repair your computer” and tap on it. 

3. Click “Troubleshoot” -> “Advanced options” and then you will see several recovery tools. You can select one among them and follow the instructions to start repair.

Also, you can install SSD on Windows 10 with bootable USB, but the steps are slightly different. After booting from USB, you click “Install Now” instead of “Repair your computer” on the first Windows Setup interface. Then, just follow the prompt of the clean installation wizard.

That’s the entire process of fixing Windows 10/11 bootable USB not working and how to use it. You certainly wouldn’t use the fresh install method to get your computer back unless you want to abandon your operating system, installed programs, personal data, etc. The process is painful.

If you don’t lose all of them, you can choose to repair your computer with the given recovery tools. If you have a system image on an external hard drive, you can solve 99% of computer issues. It contains everything of your system disk and you can restore system image to new hard drive on the current computer. 

But sometimes you may find this way is not working. For example, when you restore system image to a smaller drive, you will be told this disk is too small, please replace with a larger one. Then, you need the help of a professional backup software.

Installing Plop if You Dont Have Windows installed

If you want to boot your computer from USB and have no Windows installed, then you’re probably looking to install Windows from a USB flash drive which can be quicker than using an optical drive. Plop Boot Manager does itself also include an ISO image which can be burned to a CD and then USB can be launched from there.

1. Download the Plop Boot Manager Zip file, then extract it to the folder of your choice.

2. Navigate to the extracted Plop main folder and find the plpbt.iso file, it’s the disc image file around 550KB if you have show extensions turned off in Explorer.

3. Now all you have to do is burn the ISO file to

3. Now all you have to do is burn the ISO file to a CD and then boot from it. To make a bit more use of the leftover space on the CD, this next solution could be useful…

A rescue and repair CD we just can’t stop recommending to people is Hiren’s Boot CD. This disc has so many useful tools there are very few things it doesn’t do when you need to perform a number of fixes or recovery operations. Another one of its included features is the Plop Boot Manager which can be loaded straight from the main Hiren menu.

1. All you need to do is Download Hiren’s Boot CD if you don’t already have it, and then burn the ISO to a CD.

2. Boot your computer using the CD and you will get to the main Hiren boot menu. Use the arrows keys to go down to the “PLoP Boot Manager” option and press Enter.

You will then get the standard Plop boot options a

You will then get the standard Plop boot options and can boot from USB.

Part 4: Check If Your USB Drive Is Actually Bootable

If the USB bootable drive has not been created the right way or if it is corrupt, you will not be able to install Windows with it. You need to make sure that USB drive has been prepared using the right tools and the right method. You will be able to boot Windows only if the drive is bootable.

This is why it would be worth your while to check if the drive is actually bootable. For this you will need to install a portable application called MobaLiveCD, which uses QEMU emulator to determine if the drive is bootable. Here are the steps:

Step 1. Download the application from (you don’t need to install it as it is a portable app for Windows)

Step 2. Launch the app and click ‘Run the LiveUSB’ button on the screen.

Step 3. You don’t need to create any virtual disk image. You can test the validity of the drive by clicking NO when the next confirmation dialogue box appears:

Step 4. The QEMU emulator runs and if the drive is bootable, you will see ‘Press any key to boot from CD or DVD…’

Step 5. If the drive isn’t bootable it will ask you to insert a bootable device.

If the USB drive is not bootable, you will need to create the proper bootable drive first. Different versions of Windows use different file systems. If you are trying to use the NTFS formatted bootable drive to install the Windows in the legacy-BIOS or UEFI mode, it will not work. If you are not sure what this is all about, you may contact Microsoft support for more help.

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