I did play this Windows 8 these days due to I got my Asus VivoTab Smart ME400 before.
As I really wanna escape Apple’s product line, from past year, I sold iPhone 4, swapped to Samsung Note I , and now one Note II LTE . Selling iPad3 because I’m very angry about they release iPad4 shortly . Right now, I just have ONE left, which is iPod Nano, I turned as Music Watch.
When Windows 8 release, I keep looking at those different build, Home, Pro, Ent version, when I check Ent. version, it contains a function call Windows to go and I went to deep search about this feature. It’s very interesting and I impressed how it works and how about the performance. Due to I got a new Asus Tab, I play a lot about Windows 8 and wanna do something about Windows to go. So.. what is it actually ?
Quote from Wikipedia :
“Windows To Go is a feature in Windows 8 Enterprise that allows Windows 8 Enterprise to boot and run from mass storage devicessuch as USB flash drives and external hard disk drives. It is a fully manageable corporate Windows 8 environment. Using Group Policy, Windows Store can be enabled for a Windows To Go workspace (limited to one PC) and Store apps can be used on that workspace.”
So, you can think about in simple word : Windows on USB HDD/Flash , you can take away, using your own system, software, data in anywhere from OTHER desktop/laptop. Which means BYOD (bring-your-own-device) . It is full version Windows 8, not like Windows PE. All data will save in your USB not the host’s HDD , so it’s really safe, and you ccan enable bitlocker.
System Requirements for Windows To Go
Boot process: Capable of USB boot
Firmware: USB boot-enabled. (PCs certified for use with Windows 7 or Windows 8 can be configured to boot directly from USB; check with the hardware manufacturer if you are unsure of the ability of your PC to boot from USB)
Leies note above : your target boot pc must required supported Windows 7/8 ( check your motherboard and BIOS)
Process Architecture: Must support the image on the Windows To Go drive
External USB Hubs: Not supported; connect the Windows To Go drive directly to the host machine.
Processor: 1GHz or faster
RAM: 2GB or greater
Graphics: DirectX 9 graphics device with WDDM 1.2 or greater driver
USB Port: USB 2.0 port or greater
How about the speed ?
It’s very depends on your device which you store on, I tried THREE very different storage, and here’s the result :
1) Kingston DataTraveler Workspace (Official Support Windows to Go Features)
This is very very nice, this flash running USB3.0 and even my old PC running in USB2.0, still really fast like as SATA because it used SSD technology in this drive. But the cost very … I just bought a 32GB one, cost me HKD990.00.
2) USB 2.0 HDD
It’s pretty old one, Lacie 250GB Rubbed Drive, only support USB2.0 , but the speed acceptable. You can use this method if you don’t wanna buy a new one.
3) Normal USB 2.0 Flash
NO Way.. Maybe the flash too slow, even building the image to flash, take me around 85mins . If you have a USSB3.0 and faster transfer rate, you can try it. But !! The build process is totally different from 1) & 2) .
Okay, let go for the topic .
How to build Windows to Go with Official Support WinToGo USB Flash and Normal USB Harddisk ?
The step is very simple. I didn’t snap photos, using other web photos… haha
You need have :
1) Windows 8 Enterprise X86 / X64 installed PC ( You can install it to VMware if you dun wanna install again).
2) Windows 8 Enterprise X86 / X64 DVD / ISO
3) One Official Support WinToGo USB Flash or Normal USB Harddisk.
Notes about 2) :
– If host PC is 32-bit with legacy BIOS, then it will only support booting from a 32-bit Windows To Go USB flash drive.
– If host PC is 64-bit with legacy BIOS, then it will support booting from 32-bit and 64-bit Windows To Go USB flash drive.
– If host PC is 32-bit with UEFI BIOS, then it will only support booting from a 32-bit Windows To Go USB flash drive.
– If host PC is 64-bit with UEFI BIOS, then it will only support booting from a 64-bit Windows To Go USB flash drive.
– Windows To Go is fully supported on either USB 2.0 or USB 3.0 ports on PC’s certified for Windows 7 or Windows 8 (except Windows 8 RT).
** so, it’s better building 32-bit (x86) is better than x64 for Compatibility for some old machine, but sadly, it can’t boot from Mac.
1) Goto Control Panel
2) Click on Windows To Go
4) Locate Windows 8 DVD,
NOTE: If for some reason Windows didn’t find the .wim file, then click/tap on the Add search locationbutton to manually navigate to and select the DVD or mounted ISO from step 1 above.
6) Start to Build !
7) Choose NO, I recommend .
Note about this option :
Yes = This will only set this Windows 8 Enterprise PC (host) to always automatically boot from any bootable USB flash drives when they are connected at boot. If you connect the Windows To Go USB flash drive to another host PC, then it will be the same as No below.
No = This will mean that in order to boot from you Windows To Go USB flash drive when you restart or boot your host PC, you will have to manually either select to boot from the USB flash drive from the boot menu, or to set your BIOS or UEFI to have the USB flash drive listed first in the boot priority list.
8) Then, Don’t click anything, unplug USB and plug again.
This step can let your USB Flash / USB HDD boot from both EFI and Legacy BIOS.
You will find your USB flash/HDD won’t shown in My Computer. Then we need to go :
Control Panel > Administrative Tools > Computer Management > Disk Management
As above screen shown, you can see your USB Flash/HDD without any letter, you need to find out the SECOND Partition, right click and choose “Change Drive Letter and Paths…”
Click “Add”, “Assign the following drive letter: to “, any letter is fine. I assume set to “D” here.
Then go to start, type cmd in search box and run it with administrator privileges.
8a) We need go to the directory of the USB.
you should type :
bcdboot.exe X:\windows /s X: /f ALL
8b) it will show it is done successfully .
9) then you can reboot.
10) Remember set your Bios/EFI boot with this USB Disk.
11) Normally , you will see the screen booting in Windows 8 and Just set it up, install any software and put your data.
It’s All Set Here !
How to build Windows to Go with Normal USB Flash ?
This is more advanced , you need to see the step very very clear before you start and I advise :
USING A USB 3.0 AND FAST SPEED READ + WRITE ONE or don’t do it unless you have HUGE patience …..
*** I assume the USB Flash letter is D:
1) Run CMD with Admin Right.
( RED color is what you need to type in and press enter )
DISKPART> LIST DISK
Disk ### Status Size Free Dyn Gpt
——– ————- ——- ——- — —
Disk 0 Online 298 GB 0 B
Disk 1 Online 29 GB 0 B
DISKPART> SELECT DISK 1
Disk 1 is now the selected disk.
DiskPart succeeded in cleaning the disk.
DISKPART> CREATE PARTITION PRIMARY
DiskPart succeeded in creating the specified partition.
DISKPART> FORMAT FS=NTFS QUICK
100 percent completed
DiskPart successfully formatted the volume.
DiskPart marked the current partition as active.
Let this cmd open and we need to use again later.
2) This section will need some tools before you go.
Download : http://www.mediafire.com/?j531x8u76f3i2yc
Extract it to C:\win2go (create this folder by yourself)
3) Open Windows 8 DVD or Mount the ISO, go to sources\ ,copy “install.wim” to C:\win2go
4) Then, back to cmd, type :
IMAGEX.EXE /APPLY INSTALL.WIM 1 D:\
it will takes around an hour to do it. Depends on the speed of USB Flash. Mine, USB2.0 used 85mins to copy ……
After done, type this :
BCDBOOT.EXE D:\WINDOWS /S D: /F ALL
5) it will show it is done successfully .
6) then you can reboot.
7) Remember set your Bios/EFI boot with this USB Disk.
8) Normally , you will see the screen booting in Windows 8 and Just set it up, install any software and put your data.
It’s All Set Here !
Finally : Enable Store App
Windows To Go does not have Windows Store enabled by default, which means you will not be able to install Apps on the installation.
But you can easily enable the store app on Windows To Go PCs using the Policy Editor.
1) Open the run command (Win Key + R) and then type gpedit.msc and press enter. This will open the Local Policy Editor.
2) Now navigate to Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Store.
3) Here you will see an option “Allow store to install apps on Windows To Go workspaces”. Double click on the option.
4) Select the Enabled option and click Apply to save the changes.
If you enable this setting, access to the Store application is allowed on the Windows To Go workspace. Only enable this policy when the Windows To Go workspace will only be used with a single PC. Using it with multiple PCs is not supported. Now you can start installing apps on your PC even if you have Windows To Go running.
Additional Information :
If you need more information about Official Windows to Go USB Flash, you can go here :
Start your BYOD now !
I did install Windows 8 1x Times within 3 days , hahahaha.