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Booting off USB is easy. You go into the BIOS, find the option that says USB boot, enable it, and then go into the boot order, select USB, and move it to the top. Well, not if you have an HP or a Compaq, you don’t. How do you make HP and Compaq computers boot off USB?

Presario SR5350F processor speed: 1.8 GHz frontside bus speed: 800 MHz maximum memory capacity: 2 GB memory speed: PC2-5300 memory type: DDR2 SDRAM Video Memory: 64MB dedicated, 256MB. IMPORTANT: This is a client's computer and not mine. I do not own this machine nor do I have it in my possession. Questions directed to me about what kind of.

I’ll tell you.

HPQ machines usually do have an option to enable USB boot, but when you go into the boot order, you’ll never find USB. For some reason, they make it tricky–I suspect it’s so that people don’t accidentally render their machines unbootable by keeping non-bootable USB drives plugged in all the time.

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The easier way

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On some models, including but not limited to the Mini 110 and the HP Compaq 6910p, you can just plug in your USB device, reboot, hit F9 while the system is running through POST, and you’ll have an option to choose what drive to boot from. If you have this option, it may be preferable, since you don’t have to change anything. You can just let the system boot off the primary HDD or SSD, and it will boot faster since it’s not looking for anything else. Then, any time you want to boot off USB, CD, or something else, just use the menu.

The harder way

If you can’t find that option, or that option doesn’t work, here’s another way.

Shut down the computer.

Plug in your USB device.

Enter the BIOS by mashing the appropriate key (F10 on my Mini 110, but for some reason I think it may be F1 or F2 on some models).

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Make sure USB boot is enabled.

Go look at your hard drives. You’ll see your USB device listed there, and chances are it will be lower priority than your internal drive. Set your USB device to have priority over the internal hard drive.

Save your changes and reboot.

I don’t tell you exactly which screens have which options, because it varies a bit from model to model and I haven’t seen enough different models to know what the pattern is. But the procedure was very similar on the last four different HP machines I’ve looked at. What I tell you here should be enough to get you going if your HP or Compaq computer won’t boot off USB and you need it to.

Specific instructions for the Mini 110

Since I happen to have my HP Mini 110 handy, here’s exactly how to do it on that machine:

Plug in your USB drive

Reboot

Hit F10 to get into the BIOS

Using your arrow keys, navigate to System Configuration

Again using your arrow keys, navigate to Boot Options

Still using your arrow keys, choose Boot Device Priority

Select your USB drive. Hit F5 until it becomes the first boot device.

Hit F10 to save your options and exit. Your Mini 110 will now boot off a USB device, assuming it’s bootable.

Once you’re done booting off USB, you may want to change the boot order back so you don’t accidentally boot off the device again. Accidentally launching Windows setup is harmless enough; but if you keep a copy of Darik’s Boot and Nuke on USB laying around, it’s reasonable to want to have to jump through some hoops to launch that.

Further reading

If you’re interested in installing Windows off USB, here’s some help with that too.

What about other makes of computers, you ask? Well, it happens that Toshiba laptops are similar.

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You probably don’t need to have a technician’s experience to remove a drive from Hewlett-Packard or HP Compaq desktop computer. The computer cover can be easily removed to reveal the access to all internal components of the system, including data storage drive that is failed and require the special care in the data recovery clean room facility.

Like other competing computer manufacturers, HP produces several chassis types. And that includes TWR – Tower, Convertible Minitower, Micro-Tower, Slim Tower, Small Form Factor, Ultra-slim Desktop, Desktop and All-in-One chassis form factors. Also, HP divides its business desktop line to number of brands including HP Business, HP Pro, HP Elite. Most known and popular HP desktop PCs in North America are HP Pavilion, Pavilion Media Center TV, Pavilion SlimLine PC, and HP Compaq lines. Few pictures below may help you to get an idea on how to handle this task.

HP Workstation Drive Removing Directions

HDD bays in HP XW6600 Workstation
HDD bays in HP Z820 Workstation

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There is no problem locating a hard drive inside the normal size desktop system box, as shown above.

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HP Compaq Elite Ultra-slim PC Drive Removing Directions

HDD in HP Compaq 8200 Elite Ultra-slim PC (XZ788UT)

Removing drive from slim PC can be a little bit more complicated operation, because it involves finding the way how to access to drive’s rack beneath other components.

HP-Mini desktops have 2.5' hard drive or SSD. Refer to an article about cables and connectors for HDD and SSD.