SOLVED: hp laptop cannot boot from USB

When upgrading to a newer Windows OS, using a bootable USB drive comes in handy. You just need to burn an ISO file onto a USB drive to make it a Windows bootable drive, plug it into your HP laptop, and select the option to boot from the bootable drive from BIOS.

Follow the on-screen instructions to update the Windows operating system. New Windows will be installed. Sounds simple, doesn’t it? and it is. Unless your HP laptop is not detecting the bootable USB.

Well, the problem with an HP laptop not detecting the USB drive can be tricky to solve. Dozens of factors can be involved.

For instance, the USB is not booted properly, a faulty USB, A faulty USB port, the USB drive is not compatible with the BIOS version of your laptop, etc. 

Here, I have discussed the most popular solutions to help your HP laptop detect USB drives.

What you need to know:

  • To enter BIOS mode on the HP laptop, turn off the laptop. Now turn on it again and press the ESC. Select the BIOS mode by pressing F9.
  • To enable legacy mode: From the BIOS settings, go to the Boot manager, and enable the Legacy support option.
  • Changing the USB version to FAT32 if you are using an older HP laptop.

Ways to solve HP laptop can not boot from USB.

1. Double-check the sequence of the boot order in BIOS again.

After turning your HP laptop off and plugging the bootable USB onto a USB port. Powering on the laptop is not booting from the USB drive as it’s what you want. 

You should know that reordering the booting sequence is the main thing so your HP laptop knows from where to boot. Topping the boot sequence to boot from “USB drive” first, means your laptop will boot from the USB drive. Otherwise, it will choose the main hard drive to boot up, which by default has been set- completely ignoring the inserted bootable USB.

How to make an HP laptop boot from a USB drive.

  • Turn off the laptop by holding the power button for 10 seconds.
  • Now turn on, and press the “ESC key multiple times”
  • The BIOS menu should be on the screen.
  • Press F9 to enter the boot menu setting.
  • Now set the USB drive to boot first.

This is a general method that should work. You can skip to the new solution if you still have problems.

2. Recreate the Bootable USB

An HP laptop may show an error when booting from a Bootable USB, stating “No operating system found.” This is most often the case with USB as the HP laptop cannot detect an operating system.

Double check the USB if it’s working fine on another computer/laptop, if the USB is not working on any other device then the USB is at fault.

You may need to recreate the bootable USB. A good idea is to choose a different software this time, or download the updated version of Rufus. I will recommend the Windows USB tool.

Anyways, before recreating the bootable. Check the following settings that may help. The purpose is to change the USB format from NTFS to FAT32.

  • Turn on your laptop.
  • Plug the USB drive.
  • Right-click on the “USB storage bar.”
  • From the properties choose FAT32.

Most USB boot sticks are formatted as NTFS, which includes those created by the Windows USB tool and Rufus. The NTFS format does not work with UEFI systems (such as Windows 7 or 8), only the FAT32 format will work if the BIOS is in the UEFI mode. 

3. Disable secure boot and enable legacy mode

If you are sure that bootable USB is working fine on other devices. But your HP laptop is not able to detect this, this indicates a problem with the BIOS settings.

There is a possibility that your HP laptop’s BIOS is set to UEFI mode, which is incompatible with the USB format for some reason.

Changing it to Legacy mode will solve the issue. Further, switching to legacy mode should automatically disable secure boot, if it does not already. Do it manually.

How to Disable secure boot and enable legacy mode on a hp laptop.

Step. 1 Turn off your HP laptop.

Step.2 Now turn on and press the ESC key.

Press F10 to enter the BIOS setup.

Step. 3 Look on the top bar, and choose the tab saying “system configuration

Now select the Boot options to enter the new page.

Step. 4 Enable Legacy mode and disable secure boot.

Use arrow keys (<,>) to change the settings of the legacy mode.

Important: after changing the settings, press F10 to “save changes and exit” and restart your laptop, most likely it will restart by itself.

At this stage, an HP laptop should detect the bootable USB. And if it did not work, then there could be a rare problem that could be solved by following the next solution.

4. Internal USB 3.0 Controller” from “Enabled” TO “AUTO”

It’s also possible that the version of the laptop’s USB Port and the USB is not matching.

This happens when USB ports are set to enabled, setting them to Auto or disabled should solve the problem of the hp laptops not detecting a bootable USB.

How to set internal USB 3.0 controller from enabled to auto on HP laptop.

Enter the BIOS mode by pressing the F10 key.

Go to the advanced settings.

Disabled the XCHI pre-boot Mode by using the arrow keys.

I encountered this same issue with my HP desktop not recognizing my USB device until I changed the settings. With this enabled, USB devices not plugged in at boot aren’t recognized. Disabling it allows USB devices to work normally. Sounds strange but this is what it is.

5. Check the name of the Bootable USB

Sometimes the USB name that appears in the BIOS is mistakenly ignored by many users. Carefully read the names of the storage devices that show in the BIOS menu. 

Bootable USBs are commonly referred to as:

  • +Removable Devices
  • +Hard Drive
  • CD-ROM Drive

6. Try a different Port

Laptops have different USB ports, which are treated differently by the motherboard based on their type. Hence, try another USB port if one isn’t working, most likely the issue will be resolved in this way.

7. Remove other devices connected through a USB

It might be a good idea to remove any other USB storage devices you have. Such as wireless mouse receivers or external displays in your computer may interfere with your computer’s ability to boot your new operating system and process the bootable USB device.

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With 10+ years in software engineering, I specialize in blogging and web development. My skills span front-end, back-end, database design, web security, and SEO. Passionate about crafting helpful digital experiences.