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Fix: Computer Will Not Boot With USB Device Plugged In

There is nothing worse than a blank screen after pushing the power button on your computer. The heart stops, the shoulders sink and this feeling of utter despair and anxiety quickly overtake the body.

Why? Why is this happening right now! I have emails to check, orders to process, papers to submit.

It is inevitable a computer problem starts whenever you most need the computer.

A quick examination of the computer shows a flash drive sticking out of a USB port. Could this be the problem? Let me pull the USB out and restart my computer.

A few moments later you discover removing the flash drive did the trick, the computer boots up and starts, as expected. So what happened? Why will my computer not boot with a USB device plugged in?

In this scenario the explanation is very simple. When the USB is connected the operating system thinks it should boot from the flash drive, not the computer hard drive.

At one time in this USB’s life, the drive was made to be bootable and book-strap code was flashed to the device. Because the computer BIOS sees the drive and the boot code, the BIOS will instruct the computer hardware to reference the USB stick for the operating system.

This doesn’t mean any flash drive connected will force your computer to boot from a USB stick, only if the USB stick was made bootable at some point. Most flash drives are not bootable by default and have the boot-strap code to overtake the machine.

The other important point to consider, is the BIOS might have a priority for startup to scan for a USB flash drive first, before checking the hard drive for an operating system. This BIOS order is usually setup so the User has an easier method for restoring the computer if something happens to the operating system during normal operation.

It is possible to switch, change or turn off the BIOS order and skip a USB all together. In order to do this, fetch the computer name and model and search the internet for the boot menu.

First go to the Windows icon and right click.

From there find “System” and click that to see your computer model. Now use that model number and search for (in this example) “HP Probook 450 G7 boot menu” and the internet will display the answer.

Computer Will Not Boot With USB Device Plugged In, image

Computer Will Not Boot With USB Device Plugged In

If you would like to remove the boot-strap code completely from the flash drive so this issue doesn’t arise again, the solution is very simple. Right click the drive letter of the flash drive in Windows and select Format. From that dialogue box, be sure to uncheck the Quick Format option.

full format to erase boot-strap code on USB flash drive

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Rich Gates

Administator for GetUSB.info GetUSB.info started in 2004 with the concept of providing USB information for everything USB related. At the time, USB was gaining momentum and every day new products, articles and news became published. Today, the site is focused on bringing technical information, tricks and hacks to USB related products. The site does publish off topic information as well, to keep the variety up. Please visit the footer area of any page if you or your company is interested in article or product placement via purchased advertising.

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