I want to share my experience of running Windows 8 on a USB drive. This supported feature, dubbed, “Windows To Go” or WTG provides users of enterprise SKUs an option to run Windows 8 off a USB drive on a host computer that has Windows 7 (it could be any OS AFIAK.).
Initial disclaimer: My host PC was on Windows 7 and I don’t know what other OS is supported on the host PC.
The USB drive that I used to setup WTG is a Western Digital Passport drive with 1 TB capacity. It is USB 3.0 ready.
Setting up WTG:
- Setting up WTG is straight forward and easy. From a Win8 PC running an enterprise SKU, search for “Windows To Go” on the Start screen.
- Change the Search scope to “Settings” and then click on the “Windows To Go” application from the search result list.
- When the application launches, plug in your USB drive.
- From the Windows To Go application, choose the installation media for Win8. Please note, you can only choose an enterprise version of Windows 8 to setup with WTG.
- The setup application prompts to format the USB disk and setup a bitlocker password. Provide a bitlocker password and confirm the same.
- Setup then proceeds to install WTG on the USB drive. The entire process should take about 20 minutes to complete.
- Towards the end of the process, you are prompted to change boot options to boot into a WTG device v/s the physical disk on the host PC.
- Accept the change and reboot the machine.
- The system now boots into the WTG drive and proceeds to complete the Win8 installation.
- Once the installation is complete (including creating first user etc), you are good to go.
- Remember to shut down the WTG instance before unplugging your USB drive.
- Enjoy full Win8 portability!!!
I setup WTG at Office and brought the drive home. In order to boot into WTG, you might have to change the boot order in BIOS, which is what I had to do. Reboot and voila the system boots into WTG. I did not notice an perf degradation while booting from a USB HDD.
In addition to plain vanilla OS, my WTG image also has VS 2012 installed and so far I have not run into any issues and am very happy with the way things just work with minimal hassles 🙂