Windows 8 and 8.1 Forums


Windows 8 To Go - Setup on a USB Flash Drive or USB Disk

  1. #100


    Germany/Florida
    Posts : 4,514
    Vista and Win7


    Quote Originally Posted by Cly View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by whs View Post
    Warning: In Windows 7, I usually keep my bootmgr on the C: partition. With that setup I had some problems running Windows 8 from the stick. Each time it would corrupt my bootmgr. I then created a separate 400MB partition and moved the bootmgr there. That seems to cure the problem.
    Great tutorial. I did not understand this warning though. What does it mean for when I take the USB stick "To go" on a friend's/client's system?
    I am not sure I can answer what will happen on your customers systems. Usually a Windows 7 system will have an independent system partition. In that case there should be no problem - at least in my experience. I only encountered the problem on systems that had the bootmgr on the C partition.

      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  2. #101


    Posts : 106
    Windows 8 Pro


    Quote Originally Posted by whs View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Cly View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by whs View Post
    Warning: In Windows 7, I usually keep my bootmgr on the C: partition. With that setup I had some problems running Windows 8 from the stick. Each time it would corrupt my bootmgr. I then created a separate 400MB partition and moved the bootmgr there. That seems to cure the problem.
    Great tutorial. I did not understand this warning though. What does it mean for when I take the USB stick "To go" on a friend's/client's system?
    I am not sure I can answer what will happen on your customers systems. Usually a Windows 7 system will have an independent system partition. In that case there should be no problem - at least in my experience. I only encountered the problem on systems that had the bootmgr on the C partition.
    How can you tell where the bootmgr is located and move it?
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  3. #102


    Germany/Florida
    Posts : 4,514
    Vista and Win7


    The bootmgr is located in the 'active' partition of the disk. In a multi disk sytem, this active partition can be on a different disk than the C partition. That can happen when you install Windows 7 to a disk that is not on the lowest port.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  4. #103


    Posts : 106
    Windows 8 Pro


    Quote Originally Posted by whs View Post
    The bootmgr is located in the 'active' partition of the disk. In a multi disk sytem, this active partition can be on a different disk than the C partition. That can happen when you install Windows 7 to a disk that is not on the lowest port.
    How do you move it, as you suggested earlier?
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  5. #104


    Portsmouth Hants
    Posts : 772
    Windows 8.1 Pro with Media Center


    It is an awkward concept -the "C: partition" - since the disk letter assignment is held within the registry of the active operating system.

    At one time I had about 10 experimental OS variants - XP, 7, Embedded 7, 8, 32 and 64-bit. Windows 8 kept hiding the system disk (which was the Windows 7 64-bit C: drive with files I wanted to access) by removing the letter assignment, so I eventually used the B: drive assignment for the Windows 8 system drive, and chained the Windows 7 Bootloader off that. Presumably the Windows 8 boot system has access to the partition table and can change it by altering the partition type, thus hiding disks.

    Whereas Windows 7 bootloader had knowledge of the drive letters - presumably by loading HKLM registry files, Windows 8 only knows the volume numbers, (or the GUID from the BCD) and does not read the registry, for speed. It's ok if there is only one type of boot disk, but if there is a mixture of SATA, IDE, SCSI, USB devices etc, the volume order can vary depending which volume is being booted from. Which leads to a mess.

    You move the boot files with the BCDBOOT command. For instance if you want the machine to boot from the X: drive, and your windows folder is C:\windows


    the command is

    bcdboot c:\windows /s /f ALL x:

    Of course, you also need to ensure that x: is on an active partition.

    I have not found any conflicts with WIndows To Go on USB and the systems installed on the hard drives. If the Bios is set to boot from USB, The WindowsTG bootmanager leaves the hard disks alone until after the system is booted, when you can access the drives as normal.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  6. #105


    Germany/Florida
    Posts : 4,514
    Vista and Win7


    Quote Originally Posted by Cly View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by whs View Post
    The bootmgr is located in the 'active' partition of the disk. In a multi disk sytem, this active partition can be on a different disk than the C partition. That can happen when you install Windows 7 to a disk that is not on the lowest port.
    How do you move it, as you suggested earlier?
    Like this: Bootmgr - Move to C:\ with EasyBCD - Windows 7 Forums
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  7. #106


    Posts : 106
    Windows 8 Pro


    Quote Originally Posted by fafhrd View Post
    It is an awkward concept -the "C: partition" - since the disk letter assignment is held within the registry of the active operating system.

    At one time I had about 10 experimental OS variants - XP, 7, Embedded 7, 8, 32 and 64-bit. Windows 8 kept hiding the system disk (which was the Windows 7 64-bit C: drive with files I wanted to access) by removing the letter assignment, so I eventually used the B: drive assignment for the Windows 8 system drive, and chained the Windows 7 Bootloader off that. Presumably the Windows 8 boot system has access to the partition table and can change it by altering the partition type, thus hiding disks.

    Whereas Windows 7 bootloader had knowledge of the drive letters - presumably by loading HKLM registry files, Windows 8 only knows the volume numbers, (or the GUID from the BCD) and does not read the registry, for speed. It's ok if there is only one type of boot disk, but if there is a mixture of SATA, IDE, SCSI, USB devices etc, the volume order can vary depending which volume is being booted from. Which leads to a mess.

    You move the boot files with the BCDBOOT command. For instance if you want the machine to boot from the X: drive, and your windows folder is C:\windows


    the command is

    bcdboot c:\windows /s /f ALL x:

    Of course, you also need to ensure that x: is on an active partition.

    I have not found any conflicts with WIndows To Go on USB and the systems installed on the hard drives. If the Bios is set to boot from USB, The WindowsTG bootmanager leaves the hard disks alone until after the system is booted, when you can access the drives as normal.
    I am working on a 3TB drive. It is GPT, so apparently I cannot make it active with diskpart. Any way around that?
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  8. #107


    Posts : 106
    Windows 8 Pro


    Quote Originally Posted by whs View Post
    As last step you have to run a command to install the boot files. If you are installing on a Windows 7 system, use this command. You have to be aware that this installs a Win7 BCD which works but is slower than the Win8 UEFI BCD.

    bcdboot F:\windows /s F:

    If you are installing on a Windows 8 system, use this command below. This is the preferred BCD because it is faster for boot and shutdown. You can rerun this command in a Win8 system even if you already installed the Win7 BCD in a Win7 system. It will 'upgrade' the BCD to the Win8 (UEFI) level.

    bcdboot F:\windows /s F: /f ALL

    Here again F: is the letter for my stick which you may have to adjust.

    The command "bcdboot F:\windows /s F: /f ALL" did not work in Windows 8.

    I had to use "bcdboot F:\windows /s F:" instead.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  9. #108


    Germany/Florida
    Posts : 4,514
    Vista and Win7


    The command with the /f ALL has to be issued from a Win 8 system. It does not work from cmd of Win 7.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  10. #109


    Posts : 106
    Windows 8 Pro


    When I issued the "clean" command on my 64GB USB drive, I got this message:

    DiskPart has encountered an error: Access is denied
    See the System Event Log for more information.

    It did delete the existing partition. I don't know if it's related, but this drive shows up as having only 58GB, even in diskpart.

    I will try /f All again.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

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Windows 8 To Go - Setup on a USB Flash Drive or USB Disk
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