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Old 02-23-2012, 10:22 AM   #1
zCypher
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Default Can you boot from USB 3.0?

I can't seem to be able to. If I use one of my two USB 3.0 ports, the device does not get recognized upon boot (but does in Windows). USB 3.0 is enabled in the BIOS. If I plug the device into any other USB port it seems (all 2.0) it will detect it upon boot, and I'll be able to boot from it.

Would this be a BIOS or motherboard limitation of some kind? I can't find anything about it on motherboard manufacturer's website. USB key itself is definitely USB 3.0. It's a Corsair Flash Voyager GT (like this one http://www.ncix.com/products/?sku=62...acture=Corsair)

So is this "normal" or.. ?
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Old 02-23-2012, 10:44 AM   #2
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I'd say its whatever you are trying to boot to, doesn't have the drivers for USB 3.0

Windows 7 doesn't have drivers for USB 3.0 on my board, had to download it manually via the manufacturer website or via windows update... tried to boot to a USB W7 installer on USB 3, doesn't work.... maybe you can slipstream the driver in?
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Old 02-23-2012, 11:06 AM   #3
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I would suspect that either the USB3 devices are missing code needed to boot or the BIOS doesn't support booting from them. Booting is a 2 way street in that the device has to offer the ability to act as a boot device and BIOS has to recognize that. I would suspect the USB3 chip more however since on the BIOS side, the boot signatures and codes have been standardized for years and the USB3 controller simply isn't initializing or announcing the ability be a bootable device.

edit:

It also may only support EFI booting. I have seen that on a couple of servers...
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Old 02-23-2012, 11:49 AM   #4
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If your board has UEFI, USB3 boot should work through it. You may need to update your USB3 drivers in Windows if you haven't already - you may even have to install a beta version if you already have the latest stable drivers.
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Old 02-23-2012, 12:03 PM   #5
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Windows cannot (normally) boot either from USB 2.0 or 3.0 devices. This was purposely done by Microsoft to try and prevent "piracy". However, special altered Windows install discs have been re-engineered to overcome this limitation.
One example - Google search:
"Windows 7 USB Drive Edition v4.0 [BETA] x86 by iMortaluz"
For a full speed USB 3.0 (external HD) to be bootable, may need extra "engineering" beyond what's presently only available for USB 2.0 drives. Or might need better bios support for bootable USB 3.0, which should happen with a yet future Intel (Haswell) motherboard chipset.

Note: the USB 3.0 controller may also have an update-able firmware.
The most common USB 3.0 controller is from NEC/Renesas:
http://www.station-drivers.com/page/renesas.htm
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Old 02-23-2012, 12:14 PM   #6
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I have a bootable Windows install, it's definitely not a Windows limitation since I can boot from it when plugged into a USB 2.0 port. Microsoft themselves even has a tool to copy your ISO to a bootable device.

Anyway, I suspect you are right about the EFI thing, I don't think this board has that kind of BIOS so maybe that's why.
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Old 02-23-2012, 12:49 PM   #7
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I had to enable USB3.0 Legacy mode on my mobo for drives attached there to even be seen by UEFI, and update the firmware on the board.

Ubuntu will not boot from USB 3.0 at all at present.
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Old 02-23-2012, 01:26 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zCypher View Post
I have a bootable Windows install, it's definitely not a Windows limitation since I can boot from it when plugged into a USB 2.0 port.
Windows 7? I'm sure that Windows XP cannot (by normal "Microsoft approved" installation methods) boot from either a USB 2.0 or 3.0 port. If Windows 7 can boot from such: it's news to me, anyway.
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Old 02-23-2012, 01:29 PM   #9
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Can boot Windows 7 off the network via PXE also. Can even go diskless on a workstation even though many apps don't like it.
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Old 02-23-2012, 02:19 PM   #10
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Yes, with a Corsair Flash Voyager USB 3.0 drive in a USB 3.0 port, but only when Legacy USB 3.0 Support is enabled in my bios. I'm using the latest bios and USB 3.0 controller drivers.

The drive works fine in Windows in a USB 3.0 port when Legacy USB 3.0 Support is disabled but the bios will not see it.

Format the drive to NTFS and copy your Windows 7 files from your installation disk to the drive. No special tools are needed to make it bootable.

Asrock uses the ETRON EJ168 USB 3.0 Controller on their MBs. Latest drivers can be found here: http://www.station-drivers.com/page/etron.htm
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Old 02-23-2012, 05:00 PM   #11
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I had a "UEFI: USB3.0 boot" option show up on my ASrock 990FX Extreme4 mobo, when I plugged in a USB3.0 flash drive from Microcenter into one of my front USB3.0 ports, and attempted to set the boot order. Note that only the UEFI boot version option showed up, not a regular USB boot option. I'm not really sure why that was.
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Old 09-30-2012, 01:56 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vailr View Post
Windows 7? I'm sure that Windows XP cannot boot from either a USB 2.0 or 3.0 port. If Windows 7 can boot from such: it's news to me, anyway.
Lol, Microsoft made this decision to allow booting from USB on April 27th of 2005. I was there during WinHEC 2005 when they announced it during a dinner party I attended on the upper floor of the Seattle Convention Center. Windows "Longhorn" a.k.a "Vista" (all builds), Windows 7 (all builds) and now Windows 8 (all builds) have been able to boot from USB for the past 7 or 8 years. Windows 8 even lets you run the entire OS from a USB flash drive using "WindowsToGo". I have not installed Windows from DVD since the Vista days. Microsoft even released a tool in 2009 to let you burn a Windows 7/8 ISO to a USB flash drive. Installing from USB takes only a few minutes as compared to the excruciatingly long time it takes from DVD, so long you have a fast USB drive.

http://download.cnet.com/Windows-7-U...-10972600.html

Now back on topic. Has anyone found a USB 3.0 PCI-Express 2.0 card that has a boot ROM on board to allow booting from USB 3.0 Flash Drives yet? Windows 8 natively supports booting from USB 3.0 now, but the USB 3.0 card must have boot code (in order to be seen by the BIOS as a bootable device) and all the ones I find do not, except for the Asus U3S6, which is expensive, no longer avail by Asus and has a whole host of problems if your not on the approved motherboard list.

I desperately want/need to boot from USB 3.0 and do not really want to retire my Rampage III Extreme as of yet. I am very surprised this feature is still not available to the general public without Native Intel support. Any ideas or links to potential hardware would be most appreciated. Thank You!

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Old 09-30-2012, 02:09 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VirtualLarry View Post
I had a "UEFI: USB3.0 boot" option show up on my ASrock 990FX Extreme4 mobo, when I plugged in a USB3.0 flash drive from Microcenter into one of my front USB3.0 ports, and attempted to set the boot order. Note that only the UEFI boot version option showed up, not a regular USB boot option. I'm not really sure why that was.
Thats because it was FAT32
On ASUS bios you can go to boot overrides or F8 menu and you will see both UEFI GPT and non UEFI NTFS (MBR) modes for same device. The bios detects these things. Same with Win 7 DVD - X64 can be UEFI or MBR depending on which one you pick and X86 will go MBR only
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Old 09-30-2012, 02:37 PM   #14
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EDIT: I just discovered that the ONLY computer in my household that allows booting via USB 3.0 is my GA-Z68XP-UD3-iSSD Motherboard. And although it appears to be a old school BIOS design, according to Gigabyte it is Hybrid EFI Technology. All of my USB 3.0 devices are seen during post and within the BIOS. The mobo uses an ETRON USB 3.0 Chip.

Now, I wonder if this feature is specific to being placed on the mobo using Hybrid EFI or if the ETRON can do this natively? If it is native, than maybe a PCI-Express card based on the ETRON chip will also allow booting??? lol I'm just drawing at straws here because I so badly want to use my USB 3.0 ports to test out Windows 8 installations and WindowsToGo. Going to research if ETRON has any add-on cards for sale...
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Old 09-30-2012, 03:17 PM   #15
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@SkOrPn: Every add-on PCIe USB 3.0 card I've seen are NEC/Renesas chip based. If one of those won't do the job, then you may need to upgrade the motherboard to Z77.
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Old 09-30-2012, 06:08 PM   #16
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Quote:
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@SkOrPn: Every add-on PCIe USB 3.0 card I've seen are NEC/Renesas chip based. If one of those won't do the job, then you may need to upgrade the motherboard to Z77.
Yeah I was thinking the same thing, a new Z77 mobo. However, I have come across quite a few add-on cards that are based on ASMedia, ETRON, VIA etc etc (Like the amazingly fast HighPoint RocketU U1144 USB 3 card) but every reviewer says they do not boot as it is missing the boot ROM (then why does the ETRON chip boot on my Gigabyte board?). Apparently the boot rom is not needed if you have a EFI based motherboard. After further research my Gigabyte board is NOT EFI after all (well not until the latest Firmware release which is true UEFI and it does not have that BIOS flashed onto it), its just the standard Award BIOS with an EFI Bootloader patched into it, so now I am not sure why it allows booting to my USB 3.0 flash drives. Seems to me all one would need is the boot code built into the USB 3.0 chipsets firmware. Which leads me to believe there has to be a simply PCI-e card that can boot on older BIOS systems.

Below are some of the models that are based on VLI, ETRON and ASMedia. I'm just going to buy all of them in one swoop and test each one. If any of them work within my BIOS I will be happy, so long I can boot off of it, lol...

VLI based http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16815124101

ASMedia based http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16815124108

ETRON based http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16815124105

Looks like there are all kinds of USB 3.0 cards, however I guess if you are looking for only one particular feature you have to buy them all and test them yourself... haha this sucks...
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Old 09-30-2012, 07:01 PM   #17
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anyone using a 7-series Intel chipset and an Ivy Bridge CPU been able to boot to a USB3.0 flash drive or HDD?
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Old 09-30-2012, 08:07 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RU482 View Post
anyone using a 7-series Intel chipset and an Ivy Bridge CPU been able to boot to a USB3.0 flash drive or HDD?
I think every system based on the 7 series chipset using UEFI can boot to USB 3.0 devices regardless of the CPU used. Just not normal old school BIOS based motherboards, which makes no sens considering Asus had EFI on their Asus P5Q Deluxe, yes a Intel P45 Express chipset from like 2007. So, its not a technology dependent on newer hardware that is for sure...

Why do you ask? Is your 7 series system not seeing your USB 3.0 device during post?
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Old 11-13-2012, 10:57 AM   #19
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I have the same problem with booting windows 7 off USB3.0 on my Dell Precision. When I contacted Dell they told me that the USB3 ports are not natively supported by the BIOS and there are no plans for a BIOS update that will allow this. The Drive can be used in Windows 7 once booted with it's USB3 drivers installed.

My question is when are the Windows 7 drivers loaded? Can I have a small USB2.0 drive that contains a boot partition, with the bulk of windows on the USB3.0 drive so performance is better while running Windows?
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Old 11-13-2012, 11:11 AM   #20
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My question is when are the Windows 7 drivers loaded? Can I have a small USB2.0 drive that contains a boot partition, with the bulk of windows on the USB3.0 drive so performance is better while running Windows?
Short answer is no. But why would you run Windows from a USB-device...? Just curious...

It can be done with Windows 8. It features a special Windows-on-the-go mode, but its only officially supported on the Enterprise edition. That's not available for consumers...
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Old 11-13-2012, 01:35 PM   #21
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I have a work laptop for when I travel, but don't want to use it for personal use (They don't allow me to install my own software on their build)@#@# I'm currently using an eSATA external drive that I boot off when I want my own environment, but have wanted to make use of the USB3 ports on the laptop to test performance@#@#

Thanks!
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Old 11-19-2012, 02:44 AM   #22
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Quote:
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anyone using a 7-series Intel chipset and an Ivy Bridge CPU been able to boot to a USB3.0 flash drive or HDD?
I am able to boot a Windows 7 USB installation from San Disk 3.0 boot device on my Asus P8Z77-V PRO.

However, when the installation of Windows 7 was starting it failed saying it was missing a driver. Meaning, it boots, but Windows will not install.

Used the same USB 3 flash drive in a USB 2.0 port and it installed.

Last edited by KriB; 11-19-2012 at 02:47 AM.
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Old 12-14-2012, 01:23 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KriB View Post
I am able to boot a Windows 7 USB installation from San Disk 3.0 boot device on my Asus P8Z77-V PRO.

However, when the installation of Windows 7 was starting it failed saying it was missing a driver. Meaning, it boots, but Windows will not install.

Used the same USB 3 flash drive in a USB 2.0 port and it installed.

Well, thats the point. You cannot boot into OS. The fact that device is bootable is nothing special. Problem are the USB 3.0 drivers that are not being loaded into Windows (7 or 8) in the pre-boot mode. After pre-boot finishes and it commands to load the OS, it is missing the driver and spits out BSOD.

While there are methods how to integrate USB 3.0 driver into Windows 7 installation and make it USB 3.0 bootable to be able to install from USB, I hadnt found out way how to successfully boot full fledged Windows 7 instalation from USB drive @ USB 3.0 port. It works like charm in USB 2.0 port, but not in 3.0. Not to mention Windows 8, not even installation USB boot @ USB 3.0 works there (again, with USB 2.0 works like charm). Dont even bother to try fooling it with USB 2.0 hubs (tested) - no go.

Now, you can tweak the drivers and tell them to load at startup. Google how, but be careful, messing with USB drivers can end in some BSODs, so backup system drive image first. It *should* work with non-intel drivers, but it doesnt work with Intel drivers (tested). Reason lies within Intel and I dont understand the waiting, I suppose it was Intel who provided universal USB 3.0 (non-booting) driver to Microsoft for Windows 8, now they need to repair it, make it for pre-boot loading and send it to Microsoft to issue the hotfix.

Just to mention: For those actually unaware that Windows 7 and 8 can both be booted from USB drive, please google booting from VHD disk (Windows 7 Ultimate and Windows 8 Pro). Yeah, thats it.
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Old 12-14-2012, 02:52 PM   #24
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It is not really difficult to install the drivers in the Windows 7/8 installers. It is just Windows PE and could be done in a couple of minutes if you had the WAIK installed some where.
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Old 12-14-2012, 03:18 PM   #25
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Quote:
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anyone using a 7-series Intel chipset and an Ivy Bridge CPU been able to boot to a USB3.0 flash drive or HDD?
My Gigabyte H77M-D3H with F9 BIOS (and i3-3225 processor) would not boot from a PQI USB 3.0 Win8 installation flash drive, but I since have seen there is a beta BIOS (I guess I should be saying UEFI, but Gigabyte still calls it BIOS...) with "Windows 8 compatibility," like adding Secure Boot and Quick Boot. I wonder if it now supports USB3 booting as well?

(*If* I end up reinstalling Win8 yet again, I will give it a try, but I'm not going to do that if I can avoid it.)
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