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Booting from USB Key

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Tim Norris
Occasional Visitor

Booting from USB Key

I have a DL380 G4 server that will not boot to a USB Key that has the SmartStart management software on it. I have booted other servers with this key, so I know it is a valid boot device. I also have the correct boot order and USB enabled in the BIOS. It just seems to ignore the drive altogether. Thanks in advance!
Honored Contributor

Re: Booting from USB Key

welcome to the forums Tim

from this page i see

Q3. Can the front USB port on the DL380 G4 be used as a floppy replacement?

Utilities are now available that allow the use of USB instead of floppy for a number of tasks, including system boot from USB drive key.

use this firmware cd version 8.6 to update firmwares from link below

Fixes listed

Resolved issue which could result in intermittent hangs using iLO virtual media.

Resolved potential issue with Online Spare Advanced Memory Protection feature which may result when failed DIMMs are installed as the spare memory.

%%% interesting...
Resolved an issue where the System ROM could hang at the end of POST when attempting to boot from a USB CDROM.%%%%%%

Resolved issue where Microsoft's future Windows Server operating system code-named "Longhorn" would not install properly. This operating system is not close to shipping and Microsoft has just released the Beta 1 version.

Added support for iSCSI adapters to be configured as the boot controller in the ROM-Based Setup Utility (RBSU). Certain iSCSI adapters previously would not show up in the boot controller menu in RBSU.

ensure bios options are set correct is stick usb 2 as bios by default is set to usb1

This is how we thank each other in the forum

Tim Norris
Occasional Visitor

Re: Booting from USB Key

Mark, thanks for your welcome and reply!

I would love to update the BIOS, but I cannot boot to any device. There is no OS installed yet, and it won't boot to the CD either.
Honored Contributor

Re: Booting from USB Key

ok bring server down to min config remove all extra cards etc
ensure the serial number on the physical is precisely the same as in the bios..

clear nvranm
Clearing the system configuration
To clear the system configuration:
1. Power down the server
2. Remove the server
3. Remove the access panellook at the diagram on it it will show the position of the maintenace switch( it clears Nv ram)
4. Change position 6 of the system maintenance switch to on.
5. Install the access panel
6. and power up the server
7. Wait for the POST message that prompts you to change the switch setting:
Maintenance switch detected in the "On" position.
Power off the server and turn switch to the "Off" position.
8. Repeat steps 1 through 3.
9. Change position 6 of the system maintenance switch to off.
10. Repeat steps 5 through 7.

when you say you cannot boot from cd is that from the firmware cd , what error do you get

can you boot from any cd feks microsoft setup cd,,
Pieter 't Hart
Honored Contributor

Re: Booting from USB Key

Are the systems you did boot from this stick same model?

The HP drive key or floppy drive key is not a "regular" usb stick.
it's a special stick that emulates two drives :
- a bootable floppy
- a system partition or "harddisk"

some systems only boot from the emulated "usb-floppy" part of the drive key.
Pieter 't Hart
Honored Contributor

Re: Booting from USB Key

check this document

HP USB Floppy Drive Key technologies technology brief

Re: Booting from USB Key


A G4 should boot from a USb stick, without any problems, if it is set to factory default, and you usb stick is bootable.

With Smart Start 8.3,the utility to create a bootable USB stick is on the image.

The FW CD, you need to download the utility from

I expect you have done that.

Re-check you boot order.
Re-check that the USB is enable and that USB legacy is enabled.

You might have to cahnge the hard disk order, when the USB stick is enabled.

Re-check that your USB stick is still ok.
I have destroyed 6 (bad quality sticks) in the past 2 months. 4 of them on the same day.

You can try to clear the cmos as suggested. But you can do that from the RBSU. But take care that you don't erase the disks also. So if you're not 112% that the disk won't be erased. Then remove the disks before you clear (Remeber power must be off when you remove disks).

I will post some notes, that I have made, when having issues my self.


Accept or Kudo


Re: Booting from USB Key

Here's my notes:

How to boot from USB on a Proliant.

If a Proliant canâ t boot from a USB memory stick.

Check the following:

Check the Memory stick, can it boot from another machine.
When the Memory Stick is known good.

In the RBSU check: (Press F9)
Check the Boot order
The USB memory stick must be listet before the RAID controller, as a USB FDD A: or a USB HDD c:

If that is ok, and the server still wont boot from the USB
Check the USB setting
Select System
Select USB Control (Note there might be a USB 2.0 also, choose the first)
Set USB to enabled.

Or If you got a Server with no Smart Array. But got ei. 2 HDDâ s on a SCSI controller or similar
Then you must check the HDD order.
You Memroy stick may be listet as the last disk.
Move it up as the first disk.

Note in most cases a Proliant should be capable to boot from a USB Memory, when the BIOS is set for default.

Accept or Kudo

Tim Norris
Occasional Visitor

Re: Booting from USB Key

Thanks so much for all your replies. I will try the above suggestions.

Also, here's a little for information:

I have set the USB Drive to be anywhere from 1st to 4th in the boot order list, and always above the Hard Drive.

USB, USB 2.0, and USB Legacy are all enabled.

The USB Key will boot other servers, but I don't have another DL380 model to try.

This server won't boot from the SmartStart or Windows Server 2003 CD-ROM either.

Thanks again!

Re: Booting from USB Key

If you still can't get it to work.

try with a reset to default, but take care that you dont erase your disks.

Can you read the stick from the OS?

Accept or Kudo

Tim Norris
Occasional Visitor

Re: Booting from USB Key

Thanks Mark1234--that worked.

Thanks again for all your help!
Occasional Visitor

Re: Booting from USB Key

I am horrible at this, so i am trying to install win 7 to my computer with a usb but I am having the same problem as you were having couple years ago and honsestly i dont understand what Marcus123 said. Can you please share with me how you have done this.