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  1. #1
    Star Lounger
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    How to boot to external USB drive?

    Win8/8.1 won't let me to second drive or safemode. I have DVD recovery disks, bootable USB image discs, and fully cloned/copies on ext drives.

    But the old F8 method to change boot options is gone. The only way to boot to safemode, or an ext USB stick, or secondary ext drive is to FIRST boot to Windows.

    Then inside Windows, change the settings for alternate boot. Or use msconfig to select safemode. This defeats the whole purpose of having an image or backup drive.

    I can click F12 boot options and make changes, but they don't work. It boots to windows.

    How do I boot to a second drive WITHOUT first booting to windows?

  2. #2
    4 Star Lounger SpywareDr's Avatar
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    Did you try changing the boot order in the CMOS/BIOS Setup? Set it to try USB first, CD/DVD second, hard drive third etc. Then, if you don't have a bootable USB plugged in, it will next try the CD/DVD drive. And if nothing's there, it will finally try to boot from the hard drive.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by SpywareDr View Post
    Did you try changing the boot order in the CMOS/BIOS Setup? Set it to try USB first, CD/DVD second, hard drive third etc. Then, if you don't have a bootable USB plugged in, it will next try the CD/DVD drive. And if nothing's there, it will finally try to boot from the hard drive.
    Many times. That's the point of my thread: I cannot change anything in setup/bios/cmos.
    I can change the boot order but it does not work. The only way to boot to usd/or dvd, is by booting to Windows, and then change boot order in Settings.

    This I can do, but I cannot turn on the power button and with some menu F2, f8, F12] and select usb or ext drive.

    So my image backups are worthless because iI cannot boot to them.

    Do a google on "booting to usb in windows 8" and you get pages and pages, but if you look them. they all show a process of first booting to windows. That is useless for using backups.

  4. #4
    4 Star Lounger SpywareDr's Avatar
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    Can you get into the CMOS/BIOS Setup? (To do this on my computer I turn it off, wait a few seconds, turn it back on and start slowly tapping the [Del] key).

  5. #5
    Super Moderator RetiredGeek's Avatar
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    Robert,

    Two questions:

    1. What brand/model of computer?
    2. Do you have Secure Boot enabled?

    May the Forces of good computing be with you!

    RG

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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by RetiredGeek View Post
    Robert,

    Two questions:

    1. What brand/model of computer?
    2. Do you have Secure Boot enabled?

    Many thanks, all. I was using a known 'good' use bootable, but then tried it on another computer. Did not work, so made a new one. Now with F12 can get to that usb bootable. Still cannot boot to second hard drive, but I'm ahead of this now so will go with it. Annoying about the second ext drive. It's a fully bootable copy/clone but boot menu does not show it. I've had this problem on other Dells.

  7. #7
    Silver Lounger
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    If it's Windows you're trying to boot on a USB drive, Microsoft prevents that. eSATA drives work but that's about it.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by F.U.N. downtown View Post
    If it's Windows you're trying to boot on a USB drive, Microsoft prevents that. eSATA drives work but that's about it.
    Thanks. I was so frustrated with my two previous Dell's inability to boot to ext drive, called Dell on this question. They suggested a Dell with four USB 3.0 ports and using an external USB3 drive. So, I got that but unable to boot and extremely frustrated.

    Worse, my two year old Dell has two matched, internal side by side 1 tb drives, and I can easily clone/copy C to E as my backup. But I cannot boot to the second drive, even with Dell's talk through tech sup.

    I fall into the UEFI, Secure boot nightmare, etc., and never boot to the second drive. Yes, I can physically swap drives but what a pain.

    I specifically bought this Dell because they said it would work.

    Yeah, I know, a seller who lies. Amazing, eh?

  9. #9
    Silver Lounger wavy's Avatar
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    David

    Just because you don't know where you are going doesn't mean any road will get you there.

  10. #10
    Super Moderator RetiredGeek's Avatar
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    Robert,

    Try turning off SecureBoot via F12 at boot. Then Reboot and select USB device.

    I have a DellXPS8700 (a little over 2yrs old) and I can successfully boot Windows PE disk created by Macrium Reflect w/o disabling Secure Boot. However, to run Microsoft's, yes Microsoft, Windows Defender Offline from a USB Thumb Drive I have to turn Secure Boot Off.

    I've never tried to boot a clone of my system drive and can't see why I should need to. Of course I'm not using MS's backup solution but rather a good third party program.

    HTH
    May the Forces of good computing be with you!

    RG

    PowerShell & VBA Rule!

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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by RetiredGeek View Post
    Robert,

    Try turning off SecureBoot via F12 at boot. Then Reboot and select USB device.
    Visitors here so will try this Monday. It's been months since trying, but seems I could not change SecureBoot from F12. Had to be changed inside Windows for next boot. But will try.

    I never tried to boot a clone of my system drive and can't see why I should need to. Of course I'm not using MS's backup solution but rather a good third party program.
    I don't use MS backup but a third party copy/clone system, that has worked for years. I could enter setup, change boot order anytime. Except not on Win 8. I do this to ensure the backup actually works. A friend lost his HD, no problem, and then learned his backup was no good. Since then, I test my backup a few times a year.

  12. #12
    Super Moderator RetiredGeek's Avatar
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    Robert,

    When boot or re-boot you need to tap the F12 repeatedly, until you hear a beep. You should then get this menu:
    20150912_163040.jpg

    Then Select: Change Boot Mode Settings to get this screen:
    20150912_163116.jpg

    Select UEFI Boot Mode, Secure Boot Off first it that doesn't work try Legacy Boot Mode. HTH
    May the Forces of good computing be with you!

    RG

    PowerShell & VBA Rule!

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