Booting an ASUS Laptop to a USB Drive

I purchased an ASUS Zenbook Pro laptop (UX550VE).  It’s a pretty amazing machine.  The specs are:

  • 15.6″ HD Touchscreen display
  • Intel Core i7 7th Gen 7700HQ @ 2.80Ghz
  • 16GB RAM
  • 512GB NVMe PCIe Gen3x4 SSD
  • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050Ti with 4GB RAM
  • 2 USB C 3.1 Gen 2 (Thunderbolt)
  • 2 USB 3.0 Gen 1
  • HDMI

As it turns out, there are some issues with this computer, and I may not keep it.  Specifically, when one attempts to load a new version of Windows, the keyboard no longer maps certain keys correctly.

Figuring this out, of course, required actually booting from installation media for Windows 10 and figuring out how to boot from installation media for Windows 10 proved to be a challenge in and of itself.

When you boot up this laptop, it goes straight to the installed OS; in this case, Windows 10 Home.  It takes about 2 seconds to boot and there’s no indication of any kind to let one how to get into the BIOS.

After trial, error and a chat with tech support (who was pretty helpful), here’s how to accomplish this daunting task….

1. Power on the Laptop
If you don’t know how to do this, then I’m not sure anything else here can help you.

2. Hit the <F2> Key as if Your Life Depended On It
Seriously… spam the hell out of this.

3. Welcome to the BIOS Utility

2018-01-30 21.59.22.jpg
Pardon the pictures… no screenshot functionality available, and I didn’t dress up for this.

Notice how under “USB Port”, you can see the SanDisk USB stick is detected, but it doesn’t show up under “Boot Priority”.

This particular USB drive is formatted as NTFS because of its size.  If it had been FAT32, it would have been detected:

2018-01-31 13.19.07.jpg

4. Enter Advanced Mode
Enter Advanced Mode by hitting the <F7> key:

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5. Change Boot Options
Go to the Boot screen by using the left and right arrow keys.  Once there, you need to disable the “Fast Boot” option:

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From there, go to the Security screen and set the Secure Boot to “Disabled”:

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Back to the Boot screen, set CSM Support to “Enabled”:

2018-01-31 13.42.15.jpg

You’ll see the Launch PXE OptROM Policy, which needs to be set to “Enabled”:

2018-01-31 13.42.31.jpg

6. Select Boot Device
Reboot, hit <F2> to enter the BIOS Utility and then hit <F8> to select the boot device, which should be your USB drive.

2018-01-31 13.52.21.jpg

Isn’t that easy?

Yeah, I didn’t think so, either.

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