USB Boot Device is Not Available

My Dell XPS 420 is not booting due to being shut down while the error checking utility was running. BootIt shows everything to be ok and can see files but says some may be corrupted.
I put the latest copy of Ubuntu on a usb thumb drive, following the directions exactly. Hoping Ubuntu can see my files so I can save some of them.
I made my usb device my bootable drive and restarted the computer. All I got was the screen that offers various safe mode options. Ubuntu was a no show. Rebooted and hit F12 to see the boot sequence. USB device is first and selected but when I hit enter, I get the message, "SELECTED BOOT DEVICE NOT AVAILABLE". I moved it to another usb port. Same message. I know it's a working usb thumb drive. I know both usb ports work. Using Ubuntu is my last option (that I know) to see my files. Anyone have a suggestion as to why my usb boot device is not available?
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More about boot device available
  1. Is the Ubuntu version bootable ? This seems to be the problem.
    Try any other bootable software, yes you need to make your USB drive bootable by way of installing booting software from OS.
  2. I made a bootable Ubuntu CD. It worked long enough to get most of my data off and then stopped working after about 6 boots. I've got this ordered
    Hope I can run chkdsk and fix the drive to make a couple backups before I install a new hdd and Win 7.
  3. If your USB drive will not boot, disconnect any other USB devices before you re-try especially any card readers or USB printers. In my situation, a SanDisk card reader was preventing the bootable USB drive (containing Windows Defender offline) from booting.
  4. Chaserome, this incident is a year old. I was able to get all the data I needed but ended up (for the first time ever) having to take the computer to a repair shop. They got me back up and running. But, I knew I'd be replacing the computer within a few months and didn't want the hassle possibly running into problems down the road so I purchased a Dell XPS 8300.
    Thank you for taking the time to answer. Maybe someone else will be helped by it :)
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