Booting through a USB Hub?

AntiGates

Junior Member
Jul 31, 2015
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Getting ready to replace my current laptop, and have noticed that many current offerings do not have an abundance of USB ports.

This tells me that I should buy a powered USB hub, to assure flexibility, going forward.

I frequently use a Linux "live" system installed on a USB thumb drive . Hold down the escape key while powering on, select the USB drive from the menu, and good to go.

If I'm trying to boot from a thumb drive plugged into the hub, will my machine still recognize the thumb drive as bootable media?

Might sound dumb, but I have zero experience with USB hubs, so I'd like to avoid unpleasant surprises.

Thanks in advance
 

mindless1

Diamond Member
Aug 11, 2001
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I'd get a laptop with at least 2 USB ports, in case one gets damaged if nothing else (breaking the solder joint on the PCB is not uncommon, especially with the tiny USB-C), then put the boot thumb drive directly into one and the hub into the other port.
 
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AntiGates

Junior Member
Jul 31, 2015
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That's kind of part of my problem. Laptops that I am seeing on store shelves , frequently have only 2 usb ports, one type A and one type C.

From time to time I recreate a master bootable usb from my existing, (with updates and modifications) and the create process is fairly RAM and CPU intensive. SO, I think my best strategy is to have the "write to" unit plugged into the onboard socket, with the booted source (the "read from" unit) located on the hub.

Write speeds usually being slower than read, so I'm trying to eliminate any bottlenecks that might magnify that problem.

My alternative, if it turns out the boot cannot be performed from the hub, will be to mail order a unit having more on-board ports. Which I'd do only as a last resort, since the delivery would most likely occur while no one is home, and the thought of my new lap top waiting for me on my front porch, is not a pleasant thought.

Can't believe the dearth of ports offered on currently available laptops. My current unit is flush with all type of ports...
 
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mindless1

Diamond Member
Aug 11, 2001
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Some shipping options allow holding your package at the local distribution center for pickup, or signature required.

I'd expect the hub to fully keep up with write speeds, even if sharing bandwidth with other peripherals, within reasonable limits... unless using a blazing fast flash drive.
 

lakedude

Platinum Member
Mar 14, 2009
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If I'm trying to boot from a thumb drive plugged into the hub, will my machine still recognize the thumb drive as bootable media?
I don't know for sure but this is generally considered a no-no.

Maybe these newer UEFI BIOS can handle it?

I'm going to go out on a limb and guess that the system isn't fully aware of itself until it gets further along in the boot process when drivers are loaded for all the fancy extra bits. I mean it has only been fairly recently that a BIOS would know what to do with a mouse. In the past being able to use a mouse came later in boot process.

I expect usb hubs are similar and not fully supported until later in the boot process but it is all just guesswork on my part.
 

AntiGates

Junior Member
Jul 31, 2015
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I know, right?
I suspect the dearth is a strategy to prop up the faster bus speeds? At least as it pertains to usb ports.

I've not seen ANY laptops that offer four usb 3.x ports. I've seen one at Best Buy offering two usb 2.x ports plus one usb 3.x type A and one Type C...that I'm considering.
 

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