How to boot a Toshiba Satellite from USB

Recently I needed to boot a Toshiba Satellite from USB (specifically an L505D-S5983). It didn’t automatically boot from a USB thumb drive when I plugged it in. That is often the case with name-brand PCs I’ve seen. You either have to pull up the boot menu or change the boot settings.

The easiest way to boot off USB

The easiest way to get it to boot from USB is to plug it in with the power off. Next, power it on and hit F12 until the boot menu comes up. In theory you only have to hit F12 once, but your timing has to be right. My practice is always to just hit F12 as many times as I can until it registers. When the boot menu comes up, USB will be one of the options–probably one of many options. Pick that option, and you’re off to the races.

When that doesn’t work

If the USB option doesn’t come up, try the drive in a different port. Then hit Ctrl-Alt-Del to reboot the system and hit F12 again. This time the option should be there. On some systems, a USB device has to actually be present before it will give you the option to choose booting off USB.

I don’t know for a fact that all Toshiba Satellite laptops use the F12 key to bring up the boot menu. But F12 is a safe starting point. If F12 doesn’t work, watch the screen. Odds are just before Windows starts loading, you’ll see something at the bottom of the screen that says what key to press to bring up a boot menu. That’s the key you want.

Of course it would be nice if all manufacturers would settle on a particular key to bring up the menu. I know better than to expect it to ever happen. It’s amazing we have as many standards as we do.

But now you know how to boot a Toshiba Satellite from USB. Good luck!