Windows 8 Booting From a USB Drive Runing via Windows To Go On Any PC

Microsoft Demonstrates Windows To Go allowing you to take your entire Windows 8 installation with you on a USB drive and use it on any machine.

We are not talking about think install, this is your Windows install with files and data on any USB drive and plug it to any other PC and continue working, as if you Windows 8 OS was on the PC.

Microsoft is targeting the Enterprise with Windows To Go. Contractors and vendors won’t have to spend time setting up computers when on a client sites, and can even demo key software that needs real hardware, without having to  compromised the clients local installation or need admin rights to do the install, as they WONT be installing anything on the clients PC. It will offer another alternative for those who need to work from home or remote locations.

Microsoft says this feature works with both USB 2.0 and USB 3.0. The drive used in the demo was a USB 2.0 drive.

Click here to see a demo of Windows To Go in action.

Technical details shared by Microsoft

  • Windows 8 can be configured to boot to a Windows To Go drive if one is the present by default.
  •  Core drivers are bundled in Windows To Go to avoid situations where Windows Update is unavailable.
  •  It will support USB 2.0 and 3.0
  •  There is no Hibernate possible for a Windows To Go instance
  •  Windows To Go will work on legacy BIOS and UEFI firmware. The deployment will have support for both enabled but it can be turned off.
  •  Crash and Dump will be available for Windows To Go instances.

That’s pretty cool, but happens when the USB drive is unplugged?

Click here to see a demo of What happens when you remove the drive while running.

According to Microsoft, this is like yanking your HDD when Windows is running. However, in Windows To Go, Microsoft has a very clever implementation.

Windows To Go will freeze the OS instance for 60 seconds when USB drive is removed.

If you plug the drive back within 60 seconds, then Windows will resume where it was, if you do not inserted the drive within 60 seconds then Windows will shut down.

Microsoft suggests a 32GB USB drive for Windows To Go.


About Joseph Leon Hall
I am a Systems Administrator, Network Engineer and Senior Technical Support Analyst and Microsoft evangelist. I spend my work time looking after networks, servers, desktops, laptops, and people. You ask wy people? That’s because in any network people matter. ”I am a PC! I am NOT a Mac nor a I a Chrome”

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