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How to Boot Lenovo ThinkPad from the USB Flash Drive

/ Posted by Ruby Johnson to Windows Tips

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A bootable USB flash drive can be a pretty useful tool when diagnosing a computer. If you're troubleshooting your ThinkPad or installing a new operating system, you'll have to "boot Lenovo ThinkPad from USB flash drive". Below we will delve into how to boot a ThinkPad from USB flash drive. Firstly, making sure you have created a bootable USB flash drive for your ThinkPad.

Part 1: How to Boot from USB Flash Drive on a Microsoft Windows 10/8.1/8 Preloaded ThinkPad

In Windows 10/8.1/8, you can't press F 12 to enter the Boot Menu. Alternatively, you have to enter the Boot Menu from within Windows 8/8.1/10.

  • In Windows 10/8.1/8, you can't press F 12 to enter the Boot Menu. Alternatively, you have to enter the Boot Menu from within Windows 8/8.1/10.
  • boot lenovo thinkpad from usb
  • Click on General and scroll to the bottom and click on Advanced Startup -> Restart Now.
  • Click on Use A Device and finally click on Boot Menu.
  • how to boot from usb on lenovo thinkpad
  • Click on the USB drive that you want to use to boot from. The computer will now restart and boot from the selected USB drive.

If you can't boot into your PC such as you forgot ThinkPad login password, in this case you can't boot from USB in method above, thus you can try methods below:

  • Press and hold the Shift key while selecting the Shutdown option in Windows 8. This will make the PC perform a full shutdown instead of a hybrid shutdown.
  • Connect a bootable USB drive to the USB port on your PC. Reboot your PC and now you can press F12 to enter the Boot Menu to choose boot from USB drive.

Part 2: How to Boot from USB Flash Drive on Older ThinkPad Systems?

If you use older ThinkPad system, follow steps below to boot from USB on your ThinkPad laptop.

  • Connect a bootable USB drive to the USB port on your PC. Reboot your PC.
  • When ThinkPad Logo appears on screen, press F12 or other Boot Option Key (click for details) to enter BOOT MENU (Boot Device Options).
  • how to boot lenovo thinkpad from usb
  • Use "↑, ↓" to choose the USB memory stick to boot from.
  • boot lenovo thinkpad from usb flash drive

Boot Option Key for older ThinkPad systems (from Official Lenovo Support)

ThinkPad model Action
G40, G41, R40, R40e, R50/e/p, R51, R52, T40/p, T41/p, T42/p, T43/p, X40, X41, X41 Tablet Press the blue Access IBM button when the message "To interrupt normal startup, press the blue Access IBM button" is displayed to enter the ThinkVantage Productivity Center, then select Start setup utility to open the BIOS Setup Utility.
R51e, R60/e/i, R61/e/i, T60/p, T61/p, X60/s, X61, X61 Tablet, Z60m/t, Z61e/m/p/t, Reserve Edition Press the blue ThinkVantage button when the message "To interrupt normal startup, press the blue ThinkVantage button " is displayed to enter the ThinkVantage Productivity Center, then select Start setup utility to open the BIOS Setup Utility.
240 series, 390 series, 570 series, i Series 1200/1300/1400/1500/172x, A20, A21, A22, A30, A31, R30, R31, R32,, S30, S31, T20, T21, T22, T23, T30, X20, X21, X22, X23, X24, X30, X31, TransNote Pressing F1 during startup when the ThinkPad logo is displayed.
310, 315, 310E/ED, 315ED BIOS Utility is entered by holding F2 while the ThinkPad logo is displayed after power on.
365C/CS, 365CD/CSD, 365E/ED Enter setup by pressing CTRL+Alt+F11 from a DOS prompt (you must be in DOS mode, not a DOS session under Windows).
365X/XD With the unit powered off, hold the F1 key and power the unit on. Keep F1 held down until Easy setup appears
360, 355 series, 380, 385 series, 560 series, 600 series, 701C/CS, 75x series, 76x series, 770 series With the unit powered off, hold the F1 key and power the unit on. Keep F1 held down until Easy setup appears.
Note: On the TP 701, you can also access the Configuration area on BIOS by pressing the Fn+F1 keys.
500, 510 Enter setup by pressing CTRL+Alt+F3 from a DOS prompt (you must be in DOS mode, not a DOS session under Windows).
700/C, 720/C Pressing CTRL+ALT+INS when the cursor moves over to the upper right hand side of the screen right after the memory count.
710T, 730T Hold the suspend/resume switch while powering on the computer.
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