How to boot BOINCpe/BartPE from a USB flash drive or USB HDD

BOINCpe-LogoInstead of running BOINCpe/BartPE from a CD you can also use a little tool to make it work right away from a USB flash drive or external harddrive. This guide describes how to set up your USB pen drive/stick in 3 simple steps.
BOINCpe only needs a 256 MB USB key to run. These are available for little money e.g. on eBay.

Please note that BOINCpe will still use a RAM disk to store intermediate computational results for the BOINC work units. This way a flash drive will not be worn out soon because of its limited number of write cycles. Basically, you could even write-protect the USB drive.

Step #1: Configure BOINCpe/BartPE

BOINCpe/BartPE on USB drive using PeToUSB - Part 1Please refer to How to set up BOINCpe and BOINCpe: Advanced Configuration on how to set up the plugin configuration meeting your needs.

You will not need to create an ISO and neither burn this build of your configuration to a disk (Media output = „none“). However, you need to be aware of the location where the output is being generated (the directory displayed after Output).

After the build process is completed, proceed to step #2.

Step #2: Prepare your USB drive

BOINCpe/BartPE on USB drive using PeToUSB - Part 2 (PeToUSB Configuration)Download PeToUSB and set it up according to the presented screenshot. Unfortunately, the latest version is available in German only.

Important notice: All your data on the USB drive being used for BOINCpe/BartPE will be lost if you follow these instructions!

Please backup your MBR (Master Boot Record) using the Tools\MBR sichern… command first. In case something goes wrong, you’ll be able to restore the original MBR and don’t end up with a useless USB drive.

Next, make sure you select the correct target drive (Ziellaufwerk). Finally, select the marked checkboxes and specify the output path of the BOINCpe/BartPE build and hit Start.

Please note that this guide is based on BartPE v3.1.10a and PeToUSB v3.0.0.8_GER.

Step #3: Boot the new host using the USB drive

You might have to modify the boot sequence in the host’s BIOS setup. Since the UIs of different manufacturers look slightly different to each other, you should watch out to have one of the following device as prioritized boot device: „Removable device“, „USB Storage Stick“, „USB Flash Drive“ or similar.

Some screenshots of popular BIOS versions are available here.


Major parts of this guide have been contributed by Thomas. Thanks for sharing your findings!

PeToUSB was developed by Rich Burnham from Please refer to the licence under which the tool is available.

2 Gedanken zu “How to boot BOINCpe/BartPE from a USB flash drive or USB HDD

  1. Roman Seifner


    great description. Its just short and all i wanted to know. really tried long time to get my BartPE image booted from stick (different confusing sites….), now the solution is there.


  2. Pingback: Fancy a BOINC? Part 3 – software « Nothing is more effective!

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