USB flash drives are a convenient means of file storage, but they can also be formatted in such a way that they actually emulate a CD-ROM boot disc. A USB flash drive can come in handy as a boot disk as it has an increased storage capacity compared to a CD-ROM. USB flash drives are more portable and durable than CDs as well.
Download the HP Disk Storage Format Tool (see Resources). This is the application that will format the USB flash drive to make it a bootable disk.
Download the Windows system files (see Resources) and save them to a folder of your choosing. These files are necessary for the USB flash drive to be properly formatted as a bootable disk.
Connect the USB flash drive to an available USB port on the Windows-based PC.
Run the HP Disk Storage Format Tool.
From the "Device" drop-down menu, choose the USB flash drive from the list.
From the "File system" drop-down menu, choose "FAT 32" from the list.
Check the "Create a DOS start-up disk" box. Click the dotted button and select the folder containing the Windows system files. This process is vital as it ensures the USB flash drive will be recognised as a bootable disk.
Click the "Start" button. A warning prompt will appear. Read the warning and then click the "Yes" button to begin the format. When complete, the USB flash drive will be a bootable disk.