Test your system for USB boot compatibility

USB Boot Test; The following tutorial will enable a user to check if a computer system can boot from a USB device. It can ultimately help determine if the computer can boot a Linux version from a bootable USB. In most cases if the test is successful, you should have no problem running a Live USB Linux.

In addition to testing that your PC can run Linux, the included “Memtest86+” system memory diagnostics program allows the user to scan their system memory for errors by booting memtest from the USB device.

Basic USB Boot Testing Essentials:

  • Windows PC
  • USB flash drive
  • Memtest86+ USB Installer.exe

Installing Memtest86 to test for USB Boot compatibility

The following explains how to install Memtest86+ on a USB device and further run Memtest from USB. Ultimately enabling us to quickly test whether a system can boot from USB. The Memtest86+ USB Installer was created by Lance per the request of Samuel Demeulemeester, the author of memtest86+.

  1. Download, extract and run Memtest86+ USB Installer. Then follow the onscreen instructions
  2. Reboot your computer and set your system BIOS to boot from USB-ZIP or USB-HDD. Or, set the hard disk boot priority to boot from the USB stick if your BIOS lists the device as a hard drive
  3. Save your BIOS settings and reboot

Upon reboot, you should have a successful launch of Memtest86+ from the USB flash drive:

Memtest86 running from a USB Flash Drive

Memtest86 USB Boot test

This concludes that your system is capable of booting from a USB device using Syslinux. If it worked, it should also be possible to run Live Linux from USB.

Notes: After booting Memtest from USB, it is not necessary to complete the system memory test. However, if you have the time, it can’t hurt to ensure that your computers memory is in good shape.

This test does not guarantee that your computers hardware is supported with a particular Linux distribution. It is possible to pass this test and still have problems booting Linux. For example: A Video Card driver may not be available by default with a particular Linux distribution which could leave you at the shell after boot.