On Windows PCs, by default, the boot order is set to start the computer from the hard drive. More specifically, boot from the Windows drive. That way, you will directly boot into the Windows operating system. However, there might be situations where you need to change the boot order such that the system boots from a USB drive or an external hard disk.
For example, if you want to reinstall Windows from a bootable USB drive, install another OS like Ubuntu, run diagnostic tools, etc., you have to boot into the USB drive to start the installation process. However, since the computer is set to boot from the Windows drive, you have to modify the boot priority order to boot from the USB or external drive.
Thankfully, changing the boot order on a Windows PC is really easy. In this article, I’ll show you the steps in detail. Just follow them, and it will be done in a couple of minutes.
How to change boot order on a Windows PC
You can modify the boot priority order from the BIOS/UEFI screen. You can open the UEFI screen from the Windows recovery environment. The below steps show you how to access the UEFI screen and tweak the boot order as needed.
Before proceeding, ensure the bootable drive is plugged in. For example, if you want to boot from a USB drive, plug it in.
- Open the Settings app.
- Go to the “Windows Update > Advanced Options > Recovery” page.
- Click on the “Restart” button next to Advanced Startup.
- Go to the “Troubleshoot > Advanced options” page.
- Click on the “UEFI Firmware Settings” option.
- Press the “Restart” button.
- Click Advanced Options or press F7 on the UEFI screen.
- Go to the Boot tab.
- Change the boot order as required.
- Press the F10 key to Save and Exit.
- The system will reboot automatically.
- Now, the system will boot according to the new boot order.
Note: Depending on your motherboard, the steps will be slightly different.
Steps with more details:
First of all, we must open the UEFI screen. For that, open the Settings app with the “Start icon key + I” keyboard shortcut. You can also search for Settings in the Start menu and click on the appropriate result.
Once the Settings app opens, go to the “Windows Update > Advanced Options > Recovery” page and click/tap on the “Restart” button next to Advanced Startup. This action takes you to WinRE (Windows Recovery Environment).
On Windows 10, go to the “Update & Security > Recovery” page and click on the “Restart Now” button under the “Advanced Startup” section.
In the recovery environment, go to the “Troubleshoot > Advanced Options” page and click on the “UEFI Firmware Settings” option, and then the “Restart” button.
The above action opens the UEFI screen. More often than not, most computers show the boot order option on the home screen itself. If you can see it, modify the boot order as needed. Otherwise, click on “Advanced Options” or press the “F7” key on your keyboard.
Next, go to the “Boot” tab and tweak the boot order as necessary. If the boot order is a dropdown menu, select the device of your choice from the menu. On the other hand, if it’s a list, put whatever device you want to boot from at the top of the boot order list. For example, if you want to boot from a USB drive, set it as the default from the dropdown menu or move it to the top of the list.
After making the necessary changes, press the “F10” key to Save and Exit. If prompted, choose the “Save and Exit” option.
The above action saves the changes and reboots the PC. On reboot, your computer will boot according to the new boot order. For instance, if the USB drive is the new top priority, the computer will boot from the USB drive if it is plugged in. If it is not plugged in, the computer will automatically boot from the second-priority boot option.
Note: If you dual booting, you can change the default OS or display boot order when dual-booting.
That is all. It is that simple to change the boot order on a Windows PC.
I hope this simple and easy Windows how-to guide helped you.
If you are stuck or need help, send an email, and I will try to help as much as possible.