Cannot boot Windows install from a USB flash drive?

The flash drive that wouldn’t boot

Ever tried to boot from a USB flash drive and it didn’t work?

Recently I used Rufus to “burn” one of my custom Windows images to a USB flash drive. What I wanted to do was to install Windows from a USB flash drive to a client computer. I inserted the USB stick in my target computer, I hit F12 to enter the boot option screen and selected my USB flash drive. But the computer didn’t boot.

Instead of starting the installation the screen just went back to the boot menu again and again each time I tried…

There seemed to be something wrong with the way the USB flash drive was set up. What could it be? Rufus? Wrong partition table? Wrong file format? Corrupt Windows installation? I decided to find out!

Investigation

The Rufus documentation makes it clear that in order to boot a UEFI:NTFS drive you have to disable “secure boot” in the computer BIOS. Which kind of sucks right? Not because secure boot is such an important thing, but because it is just another tedious step in the process.

So how about just not use UEFI and return to the medival legacy BIOS? Well you can, but then you will most probably have to enable “legacy boot” in the BIOS settings which takes us back to square one.

Conclusion

Either if you use UEFI or Legacy BIOS in Rufus you will have to change something in the BIOS settings 😣.

That is only if you are using a flash drive made with Rufus. If you use a flash drive made with Windows Media Creation tool for example you will be able to boot without Secure Boot and without Legacy boot.

So in essence Secure Boot is a piece of 💩