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Problem booting from USB: Common Causes

There are multiple reasons that your computer will not be able to boot from USB but in any case we will help you to boot from USB with a few tricks 🙂

Make sure to...

  • The USB is min. 4 GB and is from a known trademark
  • You know the Magic “F” key to tell the computer to boot from another device, otherwise see this other FAQ
  • You have used the tools that we suggested to load Elive on it, most of the “bootable maker tools” changes the internal structure of the system, which is not reliable most of the time (and in very small cases it can help you to make to boot it)
  • If your computer comes with Microsoft Windows 8 or bigger you may need to disable the UEFI and other options from the BIOS first
  • Your computer is not a Chromebook, see Cause 4
  • If these solutions fail, try to upgrade your BIOS firmware

Cause 1: Hardware Problem

One of the biggest causes to not be able to boot from USB is because the USB medium itself, the quality on how they are made and how internally works can affect a lot, for example there’s some memory sticks that are slower to startup, and so since the BIOS has a limited time to recognize them, if they don’t show up in the limited time the bios timeouts and skips it.


  • Try with various USB sticks, they are cheap, and use common trademarks
  • Don’t try to make the computer directly recognize and boot it, instead, pick the “Fx” option that shows up the menu to select from which device to boot from, on that way you give more time to the USB to be initialized and you make sure that the system will try to boot from it since it is meant to be listed.

Cause 2: Unrecognized Bootable formats

The correct way to boot an USB is with the “USB HDD” mode (bios), but some bioses are simply unable to read the filesytems, even if Elive uses a very compatible partition structure by putting the bootable files in a fat16 partition, some bios makes the bootable sectors not being recognized and so unable to boot the device


The solution is simple: If you used the .img files (USB images), try to use the .iso files instead (DVD images), they are built in hybrid mode so are recognized like an emulated cdrom from USB, in short:

the 90% of computers are able to boot the USB images, while the 80% of them are able to boot from the DVD ones (independently), and there’s a 30% of these problematic computers that only can boot one or the other.

Cause 3: Windows is f!#!%$$$ again...

Again another monopol tactic by microsh1t, this time was a painful play, they simply prohibited any computer to boot any system that is not theirs, with the simple excuse that is not a verified system, they called it “secure boot“, but who is the authority behind that certify’s that a system is trusted or not? them, of course, and what you need to do? just pay a good amount of money so that they can sign your files making the computer accept your system to be able to boot… And you cannot simply remove your windows or change your hard disk with a new one, because they simply implemented this in the machine itself, good play sadists…

Some articles about this corruption case:


Not all the chances are lost, fortunately by law they are simply not allowed to prohibit a computer to boot the system that the user wants. So you need to enter in special configurations to disable these options, they are not hard to do and you can just follow these 3 very simple steps from our other FAQ’s

Cause 4: Chromebooks

A Chromebook is a normally a pretty nice laptop worth of the price, unfortunately they are lock to be used only with their useless ChromeOS system, unless you are able to unlock them! but to unlock them is even a more hard task than removing the secure boot from windows (they are not good doing things even when wants to do bad), for a chromebook you even need to open it! scary huh? In any case I can tell you that it worked without problems in an Acer C720 that personally tried, a pretty nice device for its price including touchscreen and nice speakers. If you try to unlock it I don’t suggest you to try some hacks, but instead to unlock it entirely from the hardware and changing the bios.


Is better to search yourself the info in google for your specific models, but I can at least give you good articles about it:

A magical solution for old computers that cannot boot from USB...

Since the Elive 2.0 Topaz version there’s a special boot parameter that makes you to be able to boot from USB from any kind of computer in the world! promised!

It consist in a very simple trick implemented in the internal code, you just need to add to the boot options the changedevice parameter, and when the system boots, it will ask you to insert the USB, then you just need to remove the cdrom / dvd and press Enter to continue, it will continue booting then from the USB contents since it has already loaded the internal kernel and module drivers, nice trick! don’t you think? 🙂

Pick your flavour