I ran into this problem and problem recently where I was trying to install linux from a USB stick on an slightly older machine (Intel Core2Duo era), and I had created a bootable Debian Jessie install image by simplying copying the netinstall image to the USB stick using cp file.iso /dev/sdb . This usually works just fine, but every time I put that usb stick in the system to boot from, it would just freeze the bios. If I started the system with the stick in place it would just start up then basically freeze up detecting drives. As soon as I unpluged the stick it would continue to boot. If I was in the bios, and inserted the stick it would freeze up, remove the stick and it would become responsive again. After pulling out some hair, and changing all the bios settings I could find relating to usb, I realized the stick I had was new, and was usb 3 (denoted by the blue colour plug). So I found an old cheap usb stick and wrote the image to that and tried it, and sure enough it just booted up without any problem and I was able to select it as a boot device and install.
So if your on and older system and can't boot from your usb install medium, try using an older usb stick (pre usb3) and that might solve the problem.
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