New Dell computer says it cannot be booted from USB or CD

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New Dell computer says it cannot be booted from USB or CD

Postby willdef » Mon Jun 23, 2014 12:46 pm

Thank you in advance,

After trying several Linux distros on my old computer, which had Windows XP, none really worked.

I recently bought a new Dell Inspiron desktop 3000 series model 3646. It has Windows 8.1 pre-installed. My intention was to try Windows 8 and if I did not like it try a linux distro booting from a cr-rom or USB stick prior to a harddrive install.

I tried to change the BIOS setting on the new Dell computer to boot from a CR-ROM or USB stick without success. The settings are quite a bit different than on my old computer. Searches on the Internet, forums, and Dell's website were not very helpful.

Through the Windows 8 desktop I found an option to change the BIOS settings through something called the Action Center. I opened it and it seemed fairly straight forward, but when I switched it to boot from a USB stick it said this computer does not have an option to boot from USB. Setting it to boot from the CR-ROM drive produced the same answer.

Lastly, before I bought this computer I told the salesperson I would probably install Linux at some point and asked how to get a copy of the Windows 8 operating system, either on CD or flashdrive, if I wiped out the Windows OS installing Linux, or wiped out the Windows OS for any reason. He said most computers now have a Create Back-Up Disk feature for this purpose. I cannot seem to find it on this computer.
So, does anyone know how to change the BIOS or is this particular model truly not capable of booting from a CD or USB stick? If not I may return it.

I think I want Linux. Within a couple of hours of setting up the new computer, which was very easy, I downloaded Mozilla. It came pretty bare boned without Flash. Rather than going directly to the Adobe Flash website I foolishly downloaded an app thru Mozilla's add-on website that contained Flash, but also came with about ten other unwanted apps and add-ons. One of the apps took over both Mozilla and IE, and I could not get rid of it for anything. Technically, according to the Internet, it was not a virus but was not desirable. It breezed past both Windows firewall and the pre-installed anti virus software like it was not there. I finally did a reset to original setting just to get rid of it. Fortunately I had no files other than the Mozilla download. I realize I clicked the install, but I do not want to worry about stuff like this every time I download something.

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Re: New Dell computer says it cannot be booted from USB or C

Postby kc1di » Mon Jun 23, 2014 1:10 pm

I don't have one of those machines here, But sometimes you have to disable the UEFI and set the machine to Legacy boot to be able to boot from the CD Rom.
give that a try, I'm not sure on your machine how to get to that setting, But Dells owners manual says you have to hit the f2 key at just the right time during boot. to access the control panel.
good Luck :)
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Re: New Dell computer says it cannot be booted from USB or C

Postby ClutchDisc » Mon Jun 23, 2014 1:13 pm

I'm guessing it has UEFI? If so that is going to be a lot of fun trying to get to the BIOS...You have to go through about 5+ random hops through the Win 8 metro garbage to get it to restart into the BIOS. I don't remember them all, but I think this is how is works: Go to the right edge, and click something like PC settings, that will take you into a metro screen. from there I remember that Win 8 and Win 8.1 were different here, but for Win 8 it was then something like general, and then something like advanced restart, and then I think you had to select change UEFI settings. I think you have to make a back up of Win by going to something like backup and restore from the control panel, but I'm not sure. You will need a large USB for it as the Win 8 backup files are over 16 GB if I remember correctly.

If you are sure you want Linux, I would avoid all the Windows hassle and return that computer and get a nice powerful desktop from system76. They come with Ubuntu pre installed, so they are made for Linux. You should be able to run Mint on one of those very easily. That's just my choice though, and I thought you might be interested in it.
Dell Dimension E310 desktop, 2.80 GHz, 2 GB DDR2, 500 GB HDD - Linux Mint 17.2 (Mate 32bit)
Acer Aspire One KAV60 netbook, 2 GB DDR2, 120 GB HDD - Ubuntu MATE 15.04 (32bit)

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Re: New Dell computer says it cannot be booted from USB or C

Postby gold_finger » Mon Jun 23, 2014 3:15 pm

From:, pg. 51
Entering System Setup
1. Turn on (or restart) your computer.
2. During POST, when the DELL logo is displayed, watch for the F2 prompt to appear and then press <F2>

The F2 prompt indicates that the keyboard has initialized. This prompt can appear very quickly, so you must watch for it, and then press <F2>. If you press <F2> before the F2 prompt, this keystroke is lost. If you wait too long and the operating system logo appears, continue to wait until you see the operating system’s desktop. Then, turn off your computer and try again.

I'm guessing there may be another key that gets you a separate 'Boot Menu' (instead of getting into Bios/Uefi settings) on startup -- possibly the <F12> key. Look for any messages that flash on the screen during startup to indicate that. Select that option if it's available rather than hitting <F2>.

NOTE: Many times you need to have the bootable device in the computer to see the choice available to boot it. If you don't have a bootable USB plugged in when looking through boot choices, then computer may not give you the choice.

Dell Back-up and Recovery provides flexible, automated backup and recovery to ensure your precious pictures, music and files remain safe. This feature is accessible through the My Dell interface.

If you successfully boot and decide to try installing as a dual-boot with Windows 8, see here: Guideline for Installing Mint on a Windows 8/8.1 Computer
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