Running Windows from an external USB drive with Windows To Go

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Windows To Go is a new feature in Windows 8 that enables enterprise administrators to create USB drives containing complete, managed Windows images that users can use to boot and run Windows on any Windows 7 or Windows 8 capable computer. Windows To Go makes it possible for employees to use a managed device whether they work from home, a client office or in a free seating environment. This session will discuss Windows To Go, its hardware requirements and building compatible and complementary software.








St. Helens



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    The Discussion

    • User profile image


    • User profile image

      hi thatis very good

    • User profile image

      Want to watch!

    • User profile image

      How's about some step by step instructions on how to create the To Go boot media?

    • User profile image

      I am searching high and low for instructions to create my own Boot disk.
      Pleeease post a link to instructions.

      I expected it to be as easy an applying the first index of the Windows 8 Developer build WIM to a diskpart parted, ntfs formated (I assigned Drive letter W) assigned and active partition of a 16 Gig USB 2 memory stick.

      Then running bcdboot.exe W:\Windows /s x: /f ALL

      If so .. then it's failing for me at the bcdboot command

    • User profile image
      Jowen Mei

      I dont think its possible to create your own bootdisk. You have to buy a license

    • User profile image

      We managed to get the system up and running. But its dead-slow and somehow unstable.

      I am using a Kingston 32gb Stick (DI102G2), USB2.

      What kind of stick have you used during the session (and distributed to the attendees)???


    • User profile image
      David Harold Whitney

      I like the faces show on the comments.

    • User profile image
      Steve Silverberg

      Our plan for Windows to Go was to showcase the feature at //Build/ but not enable broad creation of drives. The lack of capble flash drives in the market will lead many to try on sub standard drives and get a sub standard experience. The drive we distributed (Kingston 32GB USB 3.0) drive was specially modified (firmware changes) to work including reporting itself as fixed instead of removable.

      We realize many would like to try this feature now, but we (and hardware eco-system) are simply not ready for general consumption yet. We will communicate more information on this in the Beta timeframe.

      Thanks for your interest and patience

      Steve Silverberg
      Lead Program Manager
      Windows to Go

    • User profile image
      Robert Wunsch

      Great Session, and a amazing feature. I'm pleased to see that in a live habitat :-)
      I'm looking forward to test it and use it as it is available.

    • User profile image


      Thanks for the great session. I have attended Build conference, but missed your session at the coference.

      At Build conference, along with samsung tablet, I have also received a USB drive (32 gb). Is this "Windows To Go" drive? I have tried to boot a XP core i5 laptop with this drive, and it looks like a normal windows 8 installation software drive.

      Do I need to make any changes to this USB drive to make this as "Windows to go"?

      Thanks in advance.

    • User profile image

      The drives that were handed out at //Build/ to all attendees contain the windows 8 preview image and tools. This drive, while high quality and large enough, is still not suitable for Windows to Go. Specifically, it does not meet the speed requirements for reads and writes and it reports itself as removable rather than fixed. The Kingston, Super Talent and Western Digital drives referenced in the presentation are really the drives suitable at this time.



    • User profile image

      Since most serious computer users have been doing this for years, this is hilarious. If you really want to use windows on USB, just slip it into a VM inside of a Linux USB host OS.

    • User profile image
      Ladislav K

      I hope there will be no problém in the final version to run Windows To Go from a USB drive that reports as a removable drive. Windows Developer Preview is not able (or better say willing) to create a pagefile on a removable device and therefore lots of apps are not working including Internet Explorer and Windows Update.

    • User profile image

      Windows Developer Preview would create a pagefile on any removable drive unless it' s a flash card

    • User profile image
      Vijay Kumar K


      Can anyone let me know if Windows To Go will be as slow as I am seeing it. Imaging it took 350 minutes (see the following) and post boot configuration (and run up to desktop ready state) took almost about 15-18 hours. Any ideas on what can improve this time would be great. I am using a HP 32GB USB drive (

      C:\imagex.exe /apply install.wim 1 f:\

      ImageX Tool for Windows
      Copyright (C) Microsoft Corp. All rights reserved.
      Version: 6.1.7600.16385

      [ 100% ] Applying progress

      Successfully applied image.

      Total elapsed time: 352 min 10 sec

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