I bought an ASUS x501a laptop in March 2013.
It has no optical drive.
It has American Megatrends bios.
It has Windoz 8.
I want Linux.
I have a Kingston DataTraverler usb stick.
I tried to get the bios to recognize usb hdd (usb stick) - nogo.
A BestBuy guy showed me what to do.
And I pass this info on to you.
Make a bootable usb stick. Mine has Ubuntu 12.10.
Insert your bootable usb stick into PC.
Log into Windoz 8.
Select the following:
On the right side I scroll down to Advanced startup and select Restart now.
(The following may differ if you are using a different PC brand or model.)
Use a device - Use a USB drive, network connection, or Windows recovery DVD.
Use a device, UEFI: Kingston DataTraverler 109PMAP
GNU GRUB appears with 4 selections.
1. Try Ubuntu without installing.
2. Install Ubuntu
3. OEM install (for manufacturers)
4. Check disc for defects
I selected the first one
and it WORKED.
This is a bit awkward and has to be done each time.
I keep these directions in the cloud where I can get to them easily.
If you have a better, quicker way, please let me know.
If you are going to install Ubuntu, FIRST set up your partitions using Windoz.
Swap and /
then follow my above directions and install into /.
Give Windoz the boot.