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How to Check If a USB Drive is Bootable in 4 Steps

Want to test if the bootable pen drive is working or not? Here are a couple of simple ways to check if the USB drive is bootable or not.

As long as you have the ISO and a big enough pen drive, Windows makes it easy to create a bootable USB drive quickly. Though there is no built-in program, you can use Rufus or Media Creation Tool programs to create a bootable USB drive.

Generally, bootable USB drives work perfectly fine for the most part. i.e., you plug it into your machine and boot into it. However, in some cases, the bootable USB drive might not work as it should. In those situations, it can be a pain in the back to realize some problem with the bootable drive after restarting the system and plugging it in.

To avoid it, you can check if a bootable USB drive is working or not directly in Windows. That way, you don’t have to restart the system multiple times or waste your time with repetitive tasks.

So, in this quick and easy Windows guide, let me show you the steps to check if a USB drive is bootable or not.

How to check if a USB drive is bootable?

There are multiple ways in Windows to verify if a USB drive is bootable. I will show three of the easiest and sure-fire methods to check if the USB is bootable. Click on the jump links below to go to the method of your choice.

  1. Check the Disk Management tool
  2. Command to check if USB is bootable
  3. Use the MobaLiveCD program to check if a USB drive is bootable

1. Check-in Disk Management tool

Bootable USB drives are recognized as such in the Disk Management tool. All you have to do is find the drive and take a look at its properties.

First, right-click on the Start menu and select the “Disk Management” option. You can also search for the same in the Start menu.

open disk management tool

After opening the Disk Management program, identify the USB drive. Right-click on the USB drive entry and select the “Properties” option.

open usb drive properties

Here, go to the “Hardware” tab, select your USB Drive, and click the “Properties” button under the “Device Properties” section.

click properties

Now, go to the “Volumes” tab. If the USB drive is bootable, you will see “Master Boot Record” or “GUID Partition Table” right next to the “Partition Style” entry. In addition to that, you will also see other recognizable entries like “No media,” 0 MB capacity, unallocated space, and reserved space.

Important note: If you cannot see the Disk Information, click the “Populate” button. It will force Windows to grab and show the disk information.

check if usb is bootable or not in disk management tool

As you can see, though the Disk Management tool doesn’t explicitly say if a drive is bootable, it gives you enough hints to recognize one.

2. Command to check if USB is bootable

You can take a look at the disk properties in the Command Prompt window to tell if a USB drive is bootable or not. Specifically, we need to take a look at the Status of the USB drive. If the status says “No Media,” then it is probably bootable. Here is how to find it.

First, open the Command Prompt program. You can either search for it in the Start menu or use the “cmd” Run command. After opening the Command Prompt tool, type “diskpart” and press Enter.

The above action will open the Diskpart command-line program inside the Command Prompt window. Next, type the “list disk” command and press Enter. Now, recognize the USB and look at its Status column. If it says “No Media,” then the USB drive is bootable.

Execute the “exit” command twice to quit the command window.

Important note: Keep in mind that this approach is not perfect and unreliable at times. Depending on the bootable drive, the OS, and how it is created, the Status might also say “Online” or “Offline” for the bootable drive.

3. Use the MobaLiveCD program to check if a USB drive is bootable

MobaLiveCD is a nifty little program that can scan and tell if a USB drive is bootable or not. One of the best things about MobaLiveCD is that it tries to boot into the USB drive. That way, you will know with 100 percent certainty if the drive is bootable.

First, go to the dev website and download the MobaLiveCD application — https://www.mobatek.net/labs.html

After downloading the application, right-click on the exe file and select the “Run as administrator” option. This action will open the MobaLiveCD application with admin rights.

open mobalivecd

On the main screen, click the “Run the LiveUSB” option.

click run the liveusb button

Now, select the USB drive from the dropdown menu and click the “Ok” button.

select usb drive to check if it is bootable

MobaLiveCD will ask if you want to create a hard disk image for the virtual machine. Click the “No” button to continue.

click no

As soon as you do that, MobaLiveCD will try to boot into the USB drive. If the boot drive is created correctly, you will boot into the USB drive.

After checking, you can safely close the application.

Important note: As of writing this, MobaLiveCD only supports Legacy BIOS bootable drive. If the bootable drive is created in UEFI mode, then MobaLiveCD cannot boot into it.

That is it. It is that simple to check if a USB drive is bootable.

I hope that helps.

If you are stuck or need some help, comment below, and I will try to help as much as possible.

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