Creating a bootable USB stick

8 December 2007 by Snakefoot | Comment » | Trackback Off
It is possible to boot from a USB pen- / stick- / flash- / thumb-drive, which can be useful for different things:
  • The USB stick can be used for system recovery, as it can contain lots of tools and can store files one might want to recover from the system.
  • The USB stick can be used for motherboard BIOS flash, as not all computers has a floppy drive or can find BIOS flashing tools compatible with ex. Vista
Installing/recovering Windows from USB stick
There different tools available that can help in preparing the USB stick: Related Preinstalled Environment for emergency recovery
Related Create Windows 7 Repair disk on USB stick
Booting into DOS using USB stick
To flash the motherboard BIOS, then one is usually required to boot into DOS to run the AwdFlash.exe utility. The HP USB Disk Storage Format Tool comes to the rescue as it allows one to easily format an USB stick, so it will work as a DOS bootdisk. One just have to check "using DOS system files located at" and point it to a location where the 3 critical files for a DOS boot disk Msdos.sys, Io.sys and resides.

Booting from USB stick
The hardest part is actually to figure out how to tell the motherboard that it should boot from the USB stick instead of the CD-ROM or hard disk.
  • For the Intel P35 Motherboard one has to select "Advanced BIOS features" and select "Hard disk boot priority", where the USB pen should be listed, and then one can use Page-Up and Down to change the boot selection order (First I thought it was the "First boot device" one should change, but neither USB-FDD, USB-ZIP or USB-CDROM worked).

Updated: 12 December 2012


Comment by debbie b - 8 January 2012 @ 23:31 Reply

My son bourght a Dell Laptop with already installed Windows 7 Home Premium . Her had 64 Bit. I have all the disks showing it is legal. However it will not let him repair. He had a message “Missing Boot Manager”. Microsoft will not help said it was Dell, this was a laptop that came with programs on it from Dell. No warrantee on the laptop.
I tried to download to a dvd and non are large enough to hold data. I don’t know anyone with this program windows 7. I have a windows xp. Any suggestions other than purchasing a new windows 7. I have a USB stick that can hold the info.
I am a single mom with a niave son.

Comment by Tony Bradley - 24 January 2012 @ 11:46 Reply

Hi Debbie,

I’d suggest using Linux rather than Windows

With a Linux distribution, you get the operating system plus LOADS of applications, all for very little money, unlike Windows where all you get is the bare bones supposed operating system which is eyewateringly expensive (and you still don’t own!)

Find a local LUG (Linux User Group), and there’ll be plenty of people more than willing to help you for free!

Good luck


Comment by lebz - 26 March 2012 @ 19:34 Reply

i have tried everything. Bt cant fix my boot mgr is compressed.

Comment by Clinton Corwin - 9 April 2014 @ 23:54 Reply

My windows 7 laptop keeps saying BOOTMGR is missing Press Ctrl+Alt+Del to restart but when i press those three and it just goes back to the same screen every time, help please?

Comment by Snakefoot - 10 April 2014 @ 19:58 Reply

For people needing help with compressed/missing bootmgr:

Comment by Anthony Gajadhar - 11 June 2014 @ 0:30 Reply

My Windows 7 boot is compressed ,and on the screen it tells meto go to ctrl=alt=del. but this dont work, I do not have a disc to reboot , what should I do,\

Anthony Gajadhar

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