How to Boot from the USB CD Drive

Level of difficulty: Intermediate

The world of computing has seen many innovations through the years with some being used as the foundation of newer technologies while others dying an agonizing death and fading into oblivion so to speak. One of the newest technological breakthroughs for both the desktop and the laptop architectures is the introduction of the Universal Serial Bus (USB) which provides the machine with a faster way of transmitting data among sharing components like the hard drive and the CD or DVD drive for example. The speed of data transfer delivered by this technology has become universally accepted in such a way that it has become the established standard for connecting various external peripherals to any computer unit such as hard drives, mouse, digital cameras, webcams, keyboards, scanners, and even CD or DVD drives. Since this technology can be considered as relatively new, some older hardware configurations do not have built-in support for the use of this device and may require the installation of expansion cards like PCI-based USB ports which according to some computer experts deliver a little bit slower data transfer rates compared to native USB ports.

Materials Needed:
- Computer with USB port
- External CD drive with USB connector
- Internet connection
- Web browser
- Bootable CD media
Step 1
To be able to boot from a USB CD Drive (or any external peripheral using the USB port for that matter) it is important that your motherboard has built-in support for this function. To check for the availability of this feature, reboot the machine.
Step 2
During the booting process press DEL or F1 (or whatever applicable key) to enter the BIOS settings. In the BIOS settings go to the section for boot devices. Set the primary boot device as the USB port or other external device.
Step 3
Usually hardware that supports booting from USB-based devices can detect the attached device on the USB port during boot up. So under the boot settings it should be able to detect that a CD or DVD drive is connected to the USB port. Select this option and make sure to save the changes in the BIOS settings. The machine will automatically reboot.
Step 4
If however the BIOS settings has the option to boot from the USB port but cannot detect the connected device, you may need to download an updated driver from the hardware manufacturer. Launch your Web browser and navigate to the manufacturer's website.
Step 5
Select for support based on the model of your motherboard. Download and install the driver update based on the instructions provided by your hardware manufacturer.
Step 6
Repeat step 2 to step 3 to check if the device can be properly identified. Make sure that the external device is turned on (if applicable) and the cable is firmly connected to the computer and the external device.
Step 7
Make sure to load a bootable CD media in the external drive to allow for a successful booting from the USB CD Drive.