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How to Change Your Computer’s Boot Order

Normally when you start up your computer, it will automatically start by reading the computer’s internal hard drive. However, if you want the computer to boot up from a DVD or USB, you’ll need to change your computer’s boot order to list these first.

Steps on How to Change System Boot Order

You can change the boot order from your computer’s BIOS setup utility. To find out how just follow the steps below:

Note: this can vary between different PCs, so the below steps are only for general guidance. If you’re unsure, please check with your manufacturer first.

Step 1: Enter your Computer's BIOS set up utility

Computer BIO utility

  • To enter BIOS, you often need to press a key (or sometimes a combination of keys) on your keyboard just as your computer is starting up.
  • If you’re not sure which key this is, restart your computer and watch out for the information on the screen at the very beginning of the start-up process. Somewhere here, it will often say something like Press XXX to enter setup.
  • Make sure you press the setup key quickly before your computer starts loading from its internal drive, otherwise restart your computer and try again.

Note: If you can’t find the information about the key you need to press, Lifewire has produced a handy guide listing the most common keys used for different types of computers and motherboards, which can try taking a look at.

Step 2: Navigate to the boot order menu in BIOS

Boot order Menu in Bios

  • Once you enter your computer’s BIOS setup utility, look for an option to change the boot order.
  • All BIOS utilities are slightly different, but it might be under a menu option called Boot, Boot Options, Boot Sequence, or even under an Advanced Options tab

Note: You also might not be able to click with your mouse in a BIOS utility, so use the instructions on the screen for how to navigate between the menu items

Step 3: Change the Boot Order

  • Once you’ve located the page for boot order options in BIOS, you’ll see a list of options that your computer can load up from.
  • Again, these options will vary slightly between computers but will typically include: Hard Drive, Optical (CD or DVD) Drive, Removable Devices (e.g. USB or Floppy), and Network.
  • Change the list order so that USB Device or Removable Devices is listed first.

How do I change BIOS boot order?

Step 4: Save your Changes

  • Make sure you save your changes before exiting BIOS for the changes to take effect
  • Navigate to the Save and Exit or Exit menu and choose an option that says, “Save Changes” or “Exit with Changes Saved” (or something similar)
  • You may get a confirmation message as you’re exiting BIOS. Read it carefully to make sure you click the correct option to confirm the changes
  • Your computer will automatically restart once you exit BIOS

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