By default, every PC is programmed to boot from its internal hard disk drive or solid state drive. However, in some cases, it might not be ideal, and you’ll be required to know how to change the boot order to prioritize a specific device for booting.

Instances like upgrading or reinstalling your operating system require you to use a USB bootable media. For this to work, you must change the boot order to start the PC from the bootable media.

The boot order is the sequence in which your Windows computer tries to find and load an operating system as set in BIOS or UEFI Firmware in modern PCs. If you have multiple operating systems installed on your computer, you can change the boot order to specify which operating system you want to start with.

In this article, we’ll explore how to change the boot order in BIOS for Windows 10 and Windows 11.

What Is BIOS?

BIOS, which stands for Basic Input/Output System, is a firmware interface that is present in most personal computers. It’s the first software that runs when you power on your computer, initializing hardware components such as the CPU, memory, and storage devices.

Its primary function is to perform a Power-On Self-Test (POST) to check the hardware components and ensure they are functioning properly. It then loads the operating system into the computer’s memory and transfers control to it, allowing the operating system to take over and continue the boot process.

Now that you have a basic understanding of what BIOS is and what it does, let’s proceed to learn how to change boot order.

How to Change Boot Order in BIOS

Before we get into the details, you need to know how to access the BIOS settings. To do so, you’ll be required to instruct your PC to load the UEFI/BIOS interface by pressing a specific key multiple times at startup.

The key to press varies from one motherboard manufacturer to another. But basically, the most common keys are F2, F9, F10, F11, or Esc. Check your computer’s manual or search online for the specific key to use on your computer model.

With that out of the way, here’s how to change boot order in BIOS:

Step 1: Switch Off Or Restart Your PC

  • First, you’ll need to load the BIOS setup utility. As mentioned above, identify the key to initialize the BIOS setup. This will usually be shown on the screen during startup.
  • Next, restart your PC and press the function key multiple times to enter the boot menu. Be sure to hit the key as soon as a message appears during POST. If you’re late, let the PC restart and switch it off, before starting the process again.

Step 2: Access the BIOS Utility

Once you press the correct keyboard command, you’ll access the BIOS Setup Utility. Keep in mind that the BIOS utilities will vary from one computer model to another.

How to access the BIOS Utility

Step 3: Change the Boot Order

On the BIOS Setup Utility window, find the Boot tab and select it.

Change the boot order

Here you’ll see a list of devices in the order in which your PC will boot. By default, the computer will first try to boot from devices it considers hard drives – usually the internal hard drive containing the operating system.

If it doesn’t find any hard drives, it will look for the next bootable media, like a CD-ROM drive. If it doesn’t find it, it will look for the next bootable media attached, such as a USB flash drive. Lastly, it will try to boot from the network.

To change the order in which the computer boots from first, use the arrow keys on your keyboard to select the device you want. Usually, there’s a + sign next to the selected device, or the selected device will be highlighted.

Step 4: Saving And Exiting BIOS

Knowing how to change boot order in Windows 11 or 10 isn’t complete if you don’t save your changes, since your preferences won’t take effect. To do that, follow the instructions provided in your BIOS Utility.

For example, you may be required to press F10 to Save and Exit the BIOS Setup Utility.

Now, once you confirm your changes, go on and start your computer. It will boot in the boot order you specified in the BIOS Setup Utility. If the device isn’t bootable, BIOS will attempt to boot from the next device on the list, and so on.


Related: [FIXED] How to fix the Inaccessible Boot Device Error in Windows 10?


Booting from USB in Windows 10/11

Now that you know how to change boot order, let’s explore further and learn how to boot from USB in Windows 10/11. First, you’ll need to create a bootable USB flash drive.

This will burn the Windows ISO files to the USB flash drive. Once the bootable media is ready, follow these steps to make Windows boot from the USB flash drive.


Related: How to fix Windows 10 errors when mounting ISO files?


Method 1: If PC Starts Normally – from Settings

If your PC starts normally, you can change boot order to instruct BIOS to load from the bootable flash drive. Here’s how to change boot order when you can access your PC:

  • Insert the bootable USB flash drive that contains the Windows ISO files into the computer.
  • Use the Win + I hotkeys to bring up the Settings app, then select System > Recovery. On Windows 10, open Settings > Update & Security > Recovery.

Windows PC System Recovery

  • Select the Restart now button to the right of Advanced startup.

Advanced startup Windows 10

  • Your PC will restart and load into the recovery environment. On the Choose an option window, select Use a device. If you don’t see that option, it means the USB flash drive you created isn’t bootable.

Use a device Windows 10

  • Choose the USB flash drive from the list of bootable devices.
  • Your PC will reboot and boot from that USB device.

Method 2: If PC Won’t Start Normally

If, for some reason, your Windows PC fails to start normally, your only option is to access BIOS to boot from the USB flash drive. First, connect the bootable USB flash drive to your computer and power it up.

Just when it starts to load, press the designated keyboard command (usually specified in your motherboard manual) repeatedly until you enter the BIOS setup.

As explained above, change the boot order so that Removable Devices is the first option. This means that BIOS will first attempt to boot from the USB device. Remember to save and exit BIOS Setup Utility to save your preferences.

Booting from DVD in Windows 10/11

Say your computer has thrown a startup error like the Srttrail.txt error. You’ve decided to reinstall Windows or upgrade to a newer version. This calls for starting your system using boot media.

Now, just like with booting from USB, you can boot from DVD on your Windows 10/11 PC. Here’s :

  • Start by burning an ISO image to the DVD.
  • Insert the DVD and restart your computer. Make sure to change the boot order so that the BIOS boots from the DVD.
  • You may be prompted to press any key to boot from the CD or DVD. You’ll only have a few seconds to do so. Failure to press any key, your PC will go to the next device in the boost sequence lists, which is more likely to be the hard drive.

Booting from DVD in Windows 10:11

Troubleshooting Boot Issues

Usually, Windows will boot without issues. However, in some cases, you might encounter a black screen with an error message, such as Status: 0xc0000605 Info: A component of the operating system has expired.

Obviously, this isn’t a good thing, but it’s not the end of your PC either. When your Windows won’t boot, you can try a few troubleshooting steps:

Step 1: Turn Off Fast Boot

Windows PCs come with a setting inside your BIOS or UEFI known as Fast Boot that allows the system to start faster by preloading drivers. However, if there are compatibility issues with Windows Update, Fast Boot won’t work.

Luckily, turning off Fast Boot can rectify the matter. To do so:

  • Press the Windows logo on your keyboard, type Control Panel, and hit Enter.

Windows Control Panel

  • Change the View by option in the far right corner to Large icons or Small icons.

all Control Panel items

  • Select Power Options and click on the Choose what the power button does link.

Choose what the power button does

  • Select the link that says Change settings that are currently unavailable.

change settings that are currently unavailable

  • Under the Shutdown settings option, uncheck Turn on fast startup (recommended).

Turn off fast startup

  • Click Save changes at the bottom of the page to confirm your preferences.

Also Read: How to Turn Off Fast Startup in Windows 10/11


Step 2: Check Your BIOS Settings

If your BIOS settings are misconfigured, your computer won’t boot correctly. To check these settings, you must access BIOS and then check:

Secure Boot

Secure Boot Windows 10

Secure Boot is programmed to protect your system against malware. It checks drivers and hardware loaded by Windows 10 or 11 at startup. If it doesn’t recognize any driver or hardware component, it might generate an error at boot.

You can disable Secure Boot, but this may mean resetting your BIOS or Windows to factory default.

You may also want to reset your BIOS configuration. More on this below.

Step 3: Scan Your System for Malware

Another solution to resolve Windows boot issues is to scan your computer for malware and viruses. These entities are known to delete files or alter crucial system settings, causing errors and malfunctions.

The best method for dealing with viruses and malware is to use a trusted tool like Auslogics Anti-Malware. This tool performs a thorough scan of your system, ensuring that any suspicious files or programs are quarantined to await further action from you.

Auslogics Anti-Malware

The software identifies malware your main antivirus program might have missed, protecting your system from online threats.


Read: Auslogics Anti-Malware: Features and Reviews


Step 4: Perform a Startup Repair

Startup Repair is an effective solution that can come in handy when your PC refuses to start correctly. To use it:

  • Turn your PC off. Press the power button to turn it. While booting, be sure to turn it off when you see the Windows logo. Repeat these two more times. On the third time, Windows will boot into the recovery environment.

Automatic Repair Windows 10

  • After the diagnostics mode loads, you’ll see a notification that says Windows 10 failed to boot and is now running Startup Repair.

Related: How to Speed Up Windows 10 Startup


Step 5: Restoring BIOS to Default Settings

Restoring the BIOS to its default settings can be a useful troubleshooting step if you’re experiencing boot issues with your computer. Note that resetting the BIOS to default settings will revert any customizations you may have made, such as overclocking settings or boot order changes.

Remember, the steps to restore the BIOS to default settings may vary slightly depending on the manufacturer and model of your computer or motherboard. Therefore, always consult the documentation or support resources provided by the manufacturer for specific instructions.

To reset your BIOS:

  • Turn on the PC.
  • Press the F2 for Lenovo laptops (or the specific key to enter BIOS Mode for your PC model) multiple times before the PC loads.
  • Press the F9 or F5 key to bring up the Load Defaults option.

Restoring BIOS to Default Settings

  • Select Yes to restore BIOS to default settings.

Restore default BIOS settings

  • On laptops like HP, you can find the Restore Defaults option under the File tab.

BIOS system information

  • Click Save > Exit.

Your computer will restart with the changes saved.

Final Thoughts

There you have it! Those are solutions on how to change boot order in BIOS on Windows 11 and Windows 10. Keep in mind that, your computer will check the first boot device to load the operating system from, based on your boot order.

If it doesn’t find any bootable media, it will look for the next device on the list that it can boot into. Remember, you can easily change the boot order at any time from the BIOS or UEFI and set your preferred device as the first boot device.

And, if your Windows 10/11 PC starts to become sluggish, we recommend using a robust and reliable PC optimizer like Auslogics BoostSpeed. Apart from tweaking performance settings, the tool keeps your PC lean to ensure it runs at optimal levels every time you use it.

FAQ

What If I Can’t Access the BIOS?

If you can’t access BIOS:

  • Restart your PC and try again.
  • Make sure you’re using the correct keyboard command. Different motherboard manufacturers use different keys to enter BIOS. The most common ones include F2, F10, Esc, or Delete.
  • Check your keyboard. If you’re using a wireless keyboard, switch to a wireless one and try again.
  • Clear CMOS.
  • Seek professional assistance.

How Often Should I Change the Boot Order?

You should change the boot order only when necessary, such as when installing a new operating system or troubleshooting startup issues.

Will Changing the Boot Order Delete My Data?

No, changing the boot order only affects the sequence in which your computer looks for bootable devices. It won’t impact your data.

Is the Process for Changing the Boot Order the Same for Windows 10 And Windows 11?

Yes, the process of changing the boot order is similar for both Windows 10 and Windows 11.