Is it possible to boot from USB devices?

Posted on 2003-03-31
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2010-04-25
I don't know if this is possible, but it would be nice...  You could finally remove floppy drives (Dell is going to do this anyways), and just use USB key-chain (flash?) memory chips or some such.  This makes a lot of sense for laptops and smaller devices.
Question by:arjkane
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LVL 44

Expert Comment

ID: 8243625
The BIOS has to support booting to USB devices. And it has to be a bootable device. Memory chips are not bootable devices.

The Crazy One

Expert Comment

ID: 8254682
It's possible.

The bios must support it,and the usb device must support it too.

you can try to update your bios version to newest version

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Author Comment

ID: 8254976
Why can't memory chips be bootable devices?  They should be able to emulate the response to indicate that they are bootable...

So, what happens when you have multiple bootable USB devices attached?  Does each USB device have an 'interrupt' (or an address number that can only be physically changed on the device) like SCSI?
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LVL 44

Accepted Solution

CrazyOne earned 200 total points
ID: 8255140
>>>Why can't memory chips be bootable devices?  

The just can't. They don't have a bootsector and the computer does not see memory chips as bootable devices.

Expert Comment

ID: 8260973
memory is EMPTY when you turn your pc on!
LVL 44

Expert Comment

ID: 8262523
I don't think the flash memory is EMPTY. It is a storage device similar to a harddisk in that it retains what is put on it with or without power. But it is different from a harddisk in that it is structured like RAM.
LVL 12

Expert Comment

ID: 8272342
Bootable flash disks have existed for many years.
USB boot is still work in progress. Yuo need bios support, and a bootdisk  in the USB device. Many of the USB flash sticks claim to be bootable.

Author Comment

ID: 8286014
'public' thanks, that's what I thought, flash disks can be bootable, and USB devices can be bootable, so it should be possible to have a USB bootable flash device.  Has anyone ever booted from a flash stick? (or has anyone seen proof of USB flash sticks that claim to be bootable?)

Expert Comment

ID: 8290225
Im sure that they will be bootable with a modern bios.  I have an external USB CD-WRITER which I can boot off so I dont see how it can be any different.

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