Windows 8 and 8.1 Forums


Has anyone got the Windows To Go feature working?

  1. #1


    Posts : 5,707
    Windows 8.1 Pro

    Has anyone got the Windows To Go feature working?


    I would like to use my 16 gig or maybe a new 32 gig USB flash drive to use the Windows To Go feature of Windows 8. BUT, the Consumer Preview has no way to create such. I've only found a boot setting pertaining to it. Has anyone got this to work or go?

    Before the naysayers say it, you CAN run Windows off a flash drive. I've already done it with Windows 7 on my 16 gig USB 2.0 flash drive. It boots about as fast as most PCs, and works quite fine. I want to see Windows 8 in action though.

      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  2. #2


    Hafnarfjörður IS
    Posts : 4,376
    Linux Centos 7, W8.1, W7, W2K3 Server W10


    Hi there
    It's possible with XP -- there's a post about Hirens CD which is an XP system that runs off a flash drive --

    I don't know if it can be done for VISTA, W7 or W8 --- pity as it could be a useful tool.

    I currently use a very small Linux distro for this sort of stuff and bring up a W7 VM which is as near a portable system I can get.

    Works on W8 as well -- install a MINIMAL Linux with a GUI -- install vmware / VBOX on the linux and then copy a W7 / W8 VM on to the USB drive

    I'm using a 16 GB drive -- the Linux distro is only 1 GB and I've the other 15GB for a small W8 system.

    You don't need to be "Geekish" for a tiny Linux -- all you want it for is to be able to boot and start your Windows VM

    Once up and running your W7/ W8 VM can access via networking relevant drives etc etc.

    It runs Office quite nicely too but I wouldn't try and run Photoshop on a Windows VM running off a USB !!.


    Hint -- create the VM on s "Normal" Disk first as W7 will object if you try and install to a small Disk drive. Then "Clone" the VM using Acronis or some other tool to the USB.


    To Coke robot == I'd be interested in knowing how you got W7 to run natively via boot of a USB -- Unless you were using some type of sysprepping I thought that you'd have trouble with the USB drivers as these aren't loaded until quite late into the kernel load.

    A USB BOOT installation disk is quite a different matter as it simply has to read the whole OS via Bootstrap on to a HDD and then the loaded OS (in this case the installation program) takes over.

    For an ACTUAL OS to run off the USB read / write drivers have to be loaded with the kernel -- this is fine for Linux but Windows I think does it totally differently.

    Cheers
    jimbo
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  3. #3


    I followed the steps outlined at Ars Technica here

    Ordering "Windows to Go": how to create a bootable Windows 8 USB thumb drive

    It worked (but make sure you read the comments for a few important clarifications).

    However, the installation does not allow Windows Update to work because of an Administrator Permission restriction!!! It's Error 80070002 I think. I can't find anyone who has been able to get a fix which would allow updates to process normally.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  4. #4


    Portsmouth Hants
    Posts : 772
    Windows 8.1 Pro with Media Center


    You can do it with Windows Embedded Standard 7 SP1. Remarkably it runs without activation problems on any PC that can boot from a USB stick, but it is not quite fast enough to be comfortable. Write filters protect the USB flash memory from too many rewrites.

    There is a Windows Embedded Standard 8 CTP released which is capable of doing the same thing, but my experience with WES8CTP is not a pleasant one - the Image Builder is slow and buggy, and resulting systems are not fully operational - but it is beta software.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  5. #5


    Posts : 5,707
    Windows 8.1 Pro


    Quote Originally Posted by bummpr View Post
    I followed the steps outlined at Ars Technica here

    Ordering "Windows to Go": how to create a bootable Windows 8 USB thumb drive

    It worked (but make sure you read the comments for a few important clarifications).

    However, the installation does not allow Windows Update to work because of an Administrator Permission restriction!!! It's Error 80070002 I think. I can't find anyone who has been able to get a fix which would allow updates to process normally.
    Awesome! Those are actually the instructions I am going to use this weekend when I get around to it, I have my 32 bit Windows 8 and the AIK kit. Did you install it on a 16 gig flash drive? I did some experimenting and found that 32 bit Windows will install solidly on a 7 gigs.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  6. #6


    Posts : 5,707
    Windows 8.1 Pro


    Quote Originally Posted by fafhrd View Post
    You can do it with Windows Embedded Standard 7 SP1. Remarkably it runs without activation problems on any PC that can boot from a USB stick, but it is not quite fast enough to be comfortable. Write filters protect the USB flash memory from too many rewrites.

    There is a Windows Embedded Standard 8 CTP released which is capable of doing the same thing, but my experience with WES8CTP is not a pleasant one - the Image Builder is slow and buggy, and resulting systems are not fully operational - but it is beta software.
    I was actually going to use Windows Embedded Standard 7 originally, but I never could find how to install it to the USB flash drive though.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  7. #7


    Portsmouth Hants
    Posts : 772
    Windows 8.1 Pro with Media Center


    Just like the WAIK example linked by bummpr, you use imagex to apply the image to a prepared USB stick. In the WES7 feature pack the USB Boot feature rather than Windows Boot is selected.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  8. #8


    Posts : 5,707
    Windows 8.1 Pro


    UPDATE!

    I report to you all from my new Windows 8 To Go drive! I have it installed on my 16 gig flash drive with plenty space left. I'm kind of impressed with the performance of it, I was expecting some lag considering my old Windows 7 flash drive, but on 8, it's like, almost non-existent. I've tested it on two machines, my desktop and a laptop, and it's fairly solid.

    But as with any software in development, I am coming across the glitches. I have a glitch in the Windows Store when trying to install and app, it's a lime green bar that comes up with no text whatsoever. The Windows apps aren't working anymore, but I've already had that happen on my desktop. I can't install Windows updates due to a user account permissions issue that doesn't seem to have a solid fix for. Also, I can't install the Zune software because it detects that it's going to be installed on a removable drive, not a hard drive. This is unfortunate for the Zune software is the best metro designed Desktop app out there.

    Overall, though, it was fairly simple to do. I didn't need to get a 32 gig flash drive. I did have to use an advanced partitioning program to size the flash drive down. I really think Microsoft has a hit with this. This could really be another outlet for them to tap into for Windows sales. Also, this can definitely be quite the GOD send in the enterprise situation for corporate users that are sick of using xp or want to work offsite. This is quite handy!
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  9. #9


    Hafnarfjörður IS
    Posts : 4,376
    Linux Centos 7, W8.1, W7, W2K3 Server W10


    Hi there
    I've just got it up and running

    I am about to try and install Acronis TH -- I'm going to use the 2011 version since the 2012 update has all sorts of bells and whistles in moving the program -- makes MS and even Adobe activations seem really simple. (Slightly OT but although I agree with people protecting their software -- once you make it SO rediculous that even legitamate users have trouble then "it's all over" and people will either not upgrade or choose something else -- just a lesson to anybody trying to implement software security).

    I want Partition Manager and Office 2010 as well.

    These apps will be great if I can get them working. -- I might even attempt Photoshop CS5.5 !!


    Not sure with the Windows Update but somebody I'm sure can get this solved.

    Access to local and network disks for read write is just fine.

    If MS were to push this it could be a HUGE Winner. (Probably be an "Extra charge" feature though in the REAL OS when it is released).


    BTW anybody else trying this : REMEMBER TO SET THE USB PARTITION TO ACTIVE after creating the primary partition or it won't boot. That cost me 2 hours of trying and experimenting.

    The IMAGEX.EXE extraction process took me around 65 mins to do on a decent i5 processor 8GB laptop so be patient at that stage.

    Also use the AMD64 folder in the WAIK to extract the 64 bit IMAGEX - don't use the IA folder. The x86 for 32 bit installation is in the x86 folder in the WAIK.

    Remember also after the USB boots for the first time and sets up its devices etc you need to have the product key available when it finally starts preparing the desktop.

    Finally do run this on a decent computer while creating it so your graphics display will be reasonable. If you set it up on a small netbook you'll get mobile phone or tablet size resolution which maxes out at something just like VGA.

    For this type of appliction the lack of Windows update might not be a serious problem but it would be nice if it could work.


    Note everybody -- If I can create this Windows to go then ANYBODY can do it so it's not difficult --just FOLLOW THE INSTRUCTIONS CAREFULLY.

    On some sites where I work and XP is still in use this will be a HUGE winner as I can run my Office 2010 EXCEL stuff etc without any software needing to be installed on the corporate laptops and if you've ever worked in some large organisations you know how long it takes even for a SMALL request to get authorized and processed.


    (Suggestion for the mods - perhaps a decent tutorial on creating a Windows to Go USB stick -- i'm sure this will be a popular feature -- even for those who will stick with W7 or even XP for the forseeable future and gets round "Dual Boot" problems or using Virtual Machines).


    After x-64 bit base install W8 took 7.67 GB leaving me with around 23 GB left on a 32 GB USB stick -- so this ought to work fine on a 16 GB usb stick.

    Cheers
    jimbo
    Last edited by jimbo45; 18 Mar 2012 at 04:29.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  10. #10


    Posts : 5,707
    Windows 8.1 Pro


    Quote Originally Posted by jimbo45 View Post
    Hi there
    I've just got it up and running

    I am about to try and install Acronis TH -- I'm going to use the 2011 version since the 2012 update has all sorts of bells and whistles in moving the program -- makes MS and even Adobe activations seem really simple. (Slightly OT but although I agree with people protecting their software -- once you make it SO rediculous that even legitamate users have trouble then "it's all over" and people will either not upgrade or choose something else -- just a lesson to anybody trying to implement software security).

    I want Partition Manager and Office 2010 as well.

    These apps will be great if I can get them working. -- I might even attempt Photoshop CS5.5 !!


    Not sure with the Windows Update but somebody I'm sure can get this solved.

    Access to local and network disks for read write is just fine.

    If MS were to push this it could be a HUGE Winner. (Probably be an "Extra charge" feature though in the REAL OS when it is released).


    BTW anybody else trying this : REMEMBER TO SET THE USB PARTITION TO ACTIVE after creating the primary partition or it won't boot. That cost me 2 hours of trying and experimenting.

    The IMAGEX.EXE extraction process took me around 65 mins to do on a decent i5 processor 8GB laptop so be patient at that stage.

    Also use the AMD64 folder in the WAIK to extract the 64 bit IMAGEX - don't use the IA folder. The x86 for 32 bit installation is in the x86 folder in the WAIK.

    Remember also after the USB boots for the first time and sets up its devices etc you need to have the product key available when it finally starts preparing the desktop.

    Finally do run this on a decent computer while creating it so your graphics display will be reasonable. If you set it up on a small netbook you'll get mobile phone or tablet size resolution which maxes out at something just like VGA.

    For this type of appliction the lack of Windows update might not be a serious problem but it would be nice if it could work.


    Note everybody -- If I can create this Windows to go then ANYBODY can do it so it's not difficult --just FOLLOW THE INSTRUCTIONS CAREFULLY.

    On some sites where I work and XP is still in use this will be a HUGE winner as I can run my Office 2010 EXCEL stuff etc without any software needing to be installed on the corporate laptops and if you've ever worked in some large organisations you know how long it takes even for a SMALL request to get authorized and processed.


    (Suggestion for the mods - perhaps a decent tutorial on creating a Windows to Go USB stick -- i'm sure this will be a popular feature -- even for those who will stick with W7 or even XP for the forseeable future and gets round "Dual Boot" problems or using Virtual Machines).


    After x-64 bit base install W8 took 7.67 GB leaving me with around 23 GB left on a 32 GB USB stick -- so this ought to work fine on a 16 GB usb stick.

    Cheers
    jimbo
    I figured out the issues with Windows Update and Windows app updates, you have to change out the USB drive's driver file with an altered one. This will make the USB drive not be recognized as a removable device in Windows, but a local hard disk. I've found that was the issue. After I did that, I installed updates for Windows and apps, and I got my Zune software going! I still haven't fixed why I can't pin things to the Taskbar anymore. I can pin the bejesus out of the Start Screen, but not the Taskbar. This is a pickle.

    How to Make Flash Drive a Local Disk | eHow.com
    Go through this little tutorial. You'll need to install Notepad++ and download a zip file with an .inf file in it. The tutorial is simple, and it works! Opa!
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

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Has anyone got the Windows To Go feature working?
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