Just when I thought I have got everything sorted out nice, out comes a surprise. Turns out the industry has been stealthily moving away from BIOS towards EFI while I was happily using my old laptop.
Result : All my bootable USB drives are no longer supported. Hooray! There goes all my bootable recovery cum virus remover installation, all my linux distros (especially those live cds that run fully in RAM). It turns out that since mine is a 64bit machine, 32bit distros wont work very well, plus the ISOs need to support EFI. So far, it seems that only arch, fedora and ubuntu have support while the rest seem a little patchy. No tails or puppy.
I would probably have to manually switch to legacy bios to run these distros and switch back to UEFI to run windows. A hassle especially since I have to connect a USB keyboard just for switching since bluetooth does work in BIOS. Or I might just have to stick with VMs.