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DaddyX
2 Iron

Studio XPS 8100 Doesn't Boot From A USB Flash Drive

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Actually, my Studio XPS 8100 does boot from a USB flash drive, but it won't do this automatically, even though my BIOS is set to boot first from a "Removable Device".

To get my computer to boot from a UFD (USB flash drive) I have to press F12 at startup, and then manually select the UFD.

I discovered the reason: My BIOS - the latest version - doesn't recognize my UFD as a "Removable Device". Instead, it considers the UFD to be a hard drive: it appears in the list with my 'real' hard drives.

I can boot from a UFD - I just have to remember to press F12 at startup. So my question is:

Why does the BIOS consider my UFD to be a hard drive and not a "removable device"? If a UFD is not a "removable device, then what is?

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DaddyX
2 Iron

Re: Studio XPS 8100 Doesn't Boot From A USB Flash Drive

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During my research for this question I learned that booting from a USB flash drive (UFD) can be a problem. Apparently, there is no standard accepted way for a BIOS to recognize and boot from a bootable USB flash drive. Dell seems to be providing two solutions: first, to categorize a bootable UFD as a hard drive, giving you the opportunity to temporarily switch the order of bootable hard drives in the BIOS; and second, F12.

Does this make sense to you?

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7- Gold

Re: Studio XPS 8100 Doesn't Boot From A USB Flash Drive

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Hi DaddyX,

Yep, that's a strange one all right. What's on this flash drive?

I have an old 256MB bootable flash drive with the Dell diagnostics bootable image and several other utilities. And my XPS 8100 boots right to it. So I know the model is capable of booting to a flash drive.

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DaddyX
2 Iron

Re: Studio XPS 8100 Doesn't Boot From A USB Flash Drive

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The UFDs I'm booting from are all of the 'rescue' or 'recovery' type, like the UFD my backup software created to restore a system partition. They're created with Windows PE. Perhaps if they weren't WinPE-based they would look more a "removable device" to the BIOS?

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7- Gold

Re: Studio XPS 8100 Doesn't Boot From A USB Flash Drive

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Is your flash drive set up as a single partition?

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DaddyX
2 Iron

Re: Studio XPS 8100 Doesn't Boot From A USB Flash Drive

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Yes, all 6 of my bootable UFDs are setup as a single partition. All are "Healthy, Active" partitions, according to Windows 7 Disk Management. This includes my Windows 8 Pro Upgrade UFD (which I don't plan to use for a while.)

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7- Gold

Re: Studio XPS 8100 Doesn't Boot From A USB Flash Drive

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Pretty strange. I'm not sure why this is happening. Anyway, the F12 procedure works, so you still have that as a work-around.

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DaddyX
2 Iron

Re: Studio XPS 8100 Doesn't Boot From A USB Flash Drive

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Thanks for your help. It may be something unique to my system. If I find an answer I'll post it here.

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DaddyX
2 Iron

Re: Studio XPS 8100 Doesn't Boot From A USB Flash Drive

Jump to solution

During my research for this question I learned that booting from a USB flash drive (UFD) can be a problem. Apparently, there is no standard accepted way for a BIOS to recognize and boot from a bootable USB flash drive. Dell seems to be providing two solutions: first, to categorize a bootable UFD as a hard drive, giving you the opportunity to temporarily switch the order of bootable hard drives in the BIOS; and second, F12.

Does this make sense to you?

7- Gold

Re: Studio XPS 8100 Doesn't Boot From A USB Flash Drive

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Ok, I did some fiddling with this tonight. You're right. The flash drive appears in the hard disk boot priority list (but not in the drives list), and setting the first boot device to removable device does not result in the system booting to the flash drive.

So it appears you are correct.

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DaddyX
2 Iron

Re: Studio XPS 8100 Doesn't Boot From A USB Flash Drive

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I also looked at pictures of other Phoenix Award BIOSes online, and while other versions do not directly compare to my BIOS, in these images a UFD was also recognized as a hard drive. In these images, "Removable Device" referred to a floppy drive.

I have my solution. Thanks again for your help and your great participation in the Dell forums.

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