Can you boot from USB 3.0?

Discussion in 'Motherboards' started by zCypher, Feb 23, 2012.

  1. zCypher

    zCypher Diamond Member

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2002
    Messages:
    5,947
    Likes Received:
    5
    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=62950&vpn=CMFVYGT3-32GB&manufacture=Corsair)

    So is this "normal" or.. ?
     
  2. paperwastage

    paperwastage Golden Member

    Joined:
    May 25, 2010
    Messages:
    1,847
    Likes Received:
    1
    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?
     
  3. imagoon

    imagoon Diamond Member

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2003
    Messages:
    5,199
    Likes Received:
    0
    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...
     
  4. General Kenobi

    General Kenobi Senior member

    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2011
    Messages:
    310
    Likes Received:
    0
    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.
     
  5. vailr

    vailr Diamond Member

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 1999
    Messages:
    5,014
    Likes Received:
    1
    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
     
    #5 vailr, Feb 23, 2012
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2012
  6. zCypher

    zCypher Diamond Member

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2002
    Messages:
    5,947
    Likes Received:
    5
    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.
     
  7. fluffmonster

    fluffmonster Senior member

    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2006
    Messages:
    204
    Likes Received:
    0
    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.
     
  8. vailr

    vailr Diamond Member

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 1999
    Messages:
    5,014
    Likes Received:
    1
    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.
     
  9. imagoon

    imagoon Diamond Member

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2003
    Messages:
    5,199
    Likes Received:
    0
    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.
     
  10. MadScientist

    MadScientist Platinum Member

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2001
    Messages:
    2,002
    Likes Received:
    0
    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
     
    #10 MadScientist, Feb 23, 2012
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2012
  11. VirtualLarry

    VirtualLarry Lifer

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2001
    Messages:
    33,723
    Likes Received:
    90
    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.
     
  12. SkOrPn

    SkOrPn Junior Member

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2012
    Messages:
    16
    Likes Received:
    0
    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-USB-DVD-Download-Tool/3000-18513_4-10972600.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!

    SkOrPn
     
  13. bankster55

    bankster55 Golden Member

    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2010
    Messages:
    1,124
    Likes Received:
    0
    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
     
  14. SkOrPn

    SkOrPn Junior Member

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2012
    Messages:
    16
    Likes Received:
    0
    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...
     
  15. vailr

    vailr Diamond Member

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 1999
    Messages:
    5,014
    Likes Received:
    1
    @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.
     
  16. SkOrPn

    SkOrPn Junior Member

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2012
    Messages:
    16
    Likes Received:
    0
    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...
     
  17. tweakboy

    tweakboy Diamond Member

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2010
    Messages:
    9,518
    Likes Received:
    1
    nah I dont believe this. You can get a 3.0 USB 1TB 900GB Momentus my dad just got.

    I should test the speed , my dad gets nervous when Im on his rig lol

    BS USB 3.0 can boot just fine he can make that Seagate Momentus his OS drive which would be stupid since he has a a-data 128GB which is enough for him since no games installed or .. many apps are installed buy ya hes got 20GB free, ouch,,,
     
  18. RU482

    RU482 Lifer

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2000
    Messages:
    12,681
    Likes Received:
    0
    anyone using a 7-series Intel chipset and an Ivy Bridge CPU been able to boot to a USB3.0 flash drive or HDD?
     
  19. SkOrPn

    SkOrPn Junior Member

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2012
    Messages:
    16
    Likes Received:
    0
    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?
     
  20. tripleG

    tripleG Junior Member

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2012
    Messages:
    2
    Likes Received:
    0
    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?
     
  21. Insert_Nickname

    Insert_Nickname Platinum Member

    Joined:
    May 6, 2012
    Messages:
    2,650
    Likes Received:
    6
    Short answer is no. But why would you run Windows from a USB-device...? Just curious... :confused:

    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...
     
  22. tripleG

    tripleG Junior Member

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2012
    Messages:
    2
    Likes Received:
    0
    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!
     
  23. KriB

    KriB Junior Member

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2012
    Messages:
    14
    Likes Received:
    0
    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.
     
    #23 KriB, Nov 19, 2012
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2012
  24. dawian

    dawian Junior Member

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2012
    Messages:
    1
    Likes Received:
    0

    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.
     
  25. imagoon

    imagoon Diamond Member

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2003
    Messages:
    5,199
    Likes Received:
    0
    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.
     
Loading...