Windows 8 and 8.1 Forums


Windows To Go Installation questions

  1. #1


    Posts : 106
    Windows 8 Pro

    Windows To Go Installation questions


    I have a ton of questions, so without further adieu:

    (1) Can you install Windows To Go into a VHD on a USB flash drive?

    (2) Once you've installed Windows To Go on a USB flash drive, can you use Truecrypt or Bitlocker to secure it?

    (3) After installing Windows To Go on a USB flash drive, can you partition the drive from within?

    (4) How about eSATA external drives--can those be used? If an enclosure has both eSATA and USB, can you switch back and forth?

    (5) If you've created a bootable VHD on an internal hard drive, can you simply copy it to USB flash drive and simply boot it from there?

      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  2. #2


    Posts : 5,707
    Windows 8.1 Pro


    1. You install Windows 8 onto a VHD, which is recognized as a native Windows OS, not To Go.

    2. Yes, you can! Bitlocker is probably the preferable route though. My bias though...

    3. I believe yes, you probably can partition the drive within the To Go drive. Not sure though, but I THINK I did that once.

    4. Pretty much anything external drive can be used as long as it is set to be a bootable device. And yes, eSATA external drives can be used, that would be preferable to use over USB 2. I would think switching interfaces on the enclosure would work as the system will detect the drive either way.

    5. You can. You need EasyBCD to do so. Once you have the VHD file, you need to make the flash drive a bootable device, write the MBR files, install the boot files and make a boot entry. And voila! I've done it with Windows 7, it was a PITA to get it work though, had to do it almost five times to get it going.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  3. #3


    Posts : 106
    Windows 8 Pro


    It looks like possibly either Bitlocker or TC can be used with Windows2Go.
    Just found this at Windows To Go (Windows 8 RP) with BitLocker Drive Encryption?

    "With the release of the Windows 8 Release Preview is it now possible to encrypt 'Windows To Go' using BitLocker as suggested by this article: Windows To Go: Scenario Overview? If so how would this be achieved?
    At present I am creating the 'Windows To Go' disks manually using the following commands:
    imagex.exe /apply install.wim 1 H:\
    bcdboot H:\Windows /s H:
    Where imagex.exe is from WAIK for Windows 7/2008 R2, install.wim is from the Windows 8 RP ISO and H: is my USB flash disk. Disks created in this way are booting to Windows 8 RP without issue.
    I have read a couple of threads that suggest that it may have been possible with earlier releases of Windows 8 to encrypt 'Windows To Go' using a Windows To Go wizard. Is this wizard available in Windows 8 RP? If not is it possible to encrypt the 'Windows To Go' drive using BitLocker manually?
    Many thanks,
    Update: In the end I've just used TrueCrypt. Not exactly scalable but it does the job."
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  4. #4


    Posts : 106
    Windows 8 Pro


    On the other hand, "TrueCrypt does not support pre-boot authentication for operating systems installed within VHD files, except when booted using appropriate virtual-machine software such as Microsoft Virtual PC."

    TrueCrypt - Free Open-Source Disk Encryption - Documentation - Known Issues & Limitations
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  5. #5


    Posts : 5,707
    Windows 8.1 Pro


    Quote Originally Posted by Cly View Post
    It looks like possibly either Bitlocker or TC can be used with Windows2Go.
    Just found this at Windows To Go (Windows 8 RP) with BitLocker Drive Encryption?

    "With the release of the Windows 8 Release Preview is it now possible to encrypt 'Windows To Go' using BitLocker as suggested by this article: Windows To Go: Scenario Overview? If so how would this be achieved?
    At present I am creating the 'Windows To Go' disks manually using the following commands:
    imagex.exe /apply install.wim 1 H:\
    bcdboot H:\Windows /s H:
    Where imagex.exe is from WAIK for Windows 7/2008 R2, install.wim is from the Windows 8 RP ISO and H: is my USB flash disk. Disks created in this way are booting to Windows 8 RP without issue.
    I have read a couple of threads that suggest that it may have been possible with earlier releases of Windows 8 to encrypt 'Windows To Go' using a Windows To Go wizard. Is this wizard available in Windows 8 RP? If not is it possible to encrypt the 'Windows To Go' drive using BitLocker manually?
    Many thanks,
    Update: In the end I've just used TrueCrypt. Not exactly scalable but it does the job."
    I've never really heard of a wizard that does that. I've never done the BitLocker in Windows 8 To Go but I would imagine you do that from within the OS.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  6. #6


    Posts : 1
    Windows 7


    This is answer for question no. 1:
    Yes, Windows 8 Enterprise installed on VHD can be copied to USB 3.0 hard drive and dual-boot with Windows 8 To Go! but you cannot install Windows 8 VHD directly to a USB 3.0 hard drive. You must first install Windows 8 Enterprise to a VHD located on internal hard drive first, then copy Windows 8 VHD to USB 3.0 hard drive.
    Here is how:
    1. You already got a Windows 8 Enterprise VHD (native boot VHD) install on internal hard drive.
    2. Boot & run Windows 8 To Go - this partition will have drive letter C:
    3. Copy the Windows 8 VHD file to USB 3.0 hard drive - assume the VHD file name is "Win8.VHD" and is located on C: drive (same as Windows 8 To Go)
    4. Run Command Prompt as administrative, type in:
    diskpart
    select vdisk file="C:\Win8.VHD"
    attach vdisk
    exit
    5. Now run Windows Explorer to see the drive letter of the attached Windows 8 VHD - assume it has drive letter K:
    6. From the Command Prompt, type in:
    bcdboot K:\Windows
    (it will say successfully created boot)
    7. Close the Command Prompt and reboot with the USB 3.0, you will see 2 options:
    - Windows 8 - volume 5 (depending on how many drives you have on your system)
    - Windows 8 - volume 1
    Volume 5 in the above example is Windows 8 VHD, volume 1 is Windows 8 To Go.
    Now remember this:
    - Windows 8 VHD ONLY boot and run on the pc you used to install Windows 8 VHD.
    - Windows 8 To Go will boot on any pc!
    - You can use a USB 2.0 hard drive but it will be very slow.
    - Windows 7 VHD cannot be boot and run from USB 3.0 hard drive.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  7. #7


    Posts : 5,707
    Windows 8.1 Pro


    The virtual hard drive method can basically be used to run an OS on a flash drive, I've ran Windows 7 on a VHD boot drive before Windows 8 To Go came around.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

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