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

Booting from a USB drive in Windows 11 might sound complicated, but it’s quite simple once you know the steps. You’ll need a USB drive with the Windows 11 installation files on it and access to your computer’s BIOS or UEFI settings. Follow these steps to boot from a USB drive: insert the USB drive, access BIOS/UEFI, change the boot order to prioritize the USB drive, and restart your computer.

How to Boot from USB on Windows 11

In this section, you’ll learn how to boot from a USB drive on Windows 11. This process is useful for installing a new operating system, troubleshooting, or running diagnostics.

Step 1: Insert the USB Drive

Ensure that your USB drive contains the Windows 11 installation files, and insert it into an available USB port on your computer.

Before proceeding, double-check that all important files are backed up, as the process may erase data.

Step 2: Access BIOS/UEFI Settings

Restart your computer and press the designated key (usually Del, F2, or Esc) to enter the BIOS/UEFI settings.

The key varies by manufacturer, so refer to your PC’s manual if you’re unsure. This step needs to be done quickly after the computer starts.

Step 3: Change the Boot Order

Navigate to the Boot menu within BIOS/UEFI and move the USB drive to the top of the boot priority list.

Use the arrow keys to select the USB drive and follow on-screen instructions to change the order. This ensures the PC boots from the USB drive first.

Step 4: Save and Exit

Save the changes you’ve made in BIOS/UEFI and select the option to exit and restart your computer.

Usually, you can save changes by pressing F10 or following the on-screen prompts. Your computer will reboot.

Step 5: Begin the Installation Process

Upon restarting, your computer should boot from the USB drive, starting the Windows 11 installation process.

Follow the on-screen instructions to install or repair Windows 11. Depending on your needs, you might select different options.

Once you complete these steps, your computer will boot from the USB drive, and you can proceed with the Windows 11 installation or troubleshooting as needed.

Tips for Booting from USB on Windows 11

  • Prepare Your USB Drive: Always ensure your USB drive is properly formatted and contains the Windows 11 installation files.
  • Know Your BIOS/UEFI Keys: Familiarize yourself with the key needed to enter BIOS/UEFI settings for your specific computer model.
  • Backup Data: Always backup important data before making changes to your system.
  • Use Reliable USB Ports: Insert your USB drive into a USB port that you know works well.
  • Check USB Drive Compatibility: Ensure your USB drive is at least 8GB and compatible with Windows 11.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I boot from a USB drive using any USB port on my computer?

Yes, but it’s usually safer to use a USB port directly connected to the motherboard, usually the ports on the back of a desktop PC.

What if my computer does not recognize the USB drive?

Ensure the USB drive is correctly formatted and contains the Windows 11 installation files. Also, try using a different USB port.

Do I need to change the boot order back after installing Windows 11?

It’s not necessary but recommended to change the boot order back to prioritize your main hard drive.

Why is my computer still booting to the hard drive instead of the USB?

Double-check the boot order in BIOS/UEFI settings to ensure the USB drive is listed first.

Will booting from a USB drive erase my data?

Booting itself doesn’t erase data, but installing Windows 11 might. Backup any important data before proceeding.


  1. Insert the USB drive.
  2. Access BIOS/UEFI settings.
  3. Change the boot order.
  4. Save and exit.
  5. Begin the installation process.


Booting from a USB drive to install Windows 11 is a straightforward process if you follow the right steps. This method is particularly helpful for clean installations, troubleshooting, or even trying out new features before committing to a full upgrade. Always remember to backup important files before making significant changes to your system.

By following this guide, you’ll be able to boot from a USB drive with confidence, ensuring a smooth installation or troubleshooting experience. If you’re new to this process, take your time with each step, and don’t hesitate to seek additional resources if needed. Happy computing!

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