Windows To Go - Taking it all with you

Posted by Paul Braren on Oct 12 2013 (updated on May 24 2015) in
  • Windows
  • At the recent Home Server Show / SurfaceGeeks Meetup 2013 in Indianapolis, we clearly had a good time, but we also learned stuff. Good, interesting stuff. I've personally been tasked with creating fancy bootable media since the mid 90's. Remember floppy drives? This was largely for classroom and lab cloning purposes, right through to the 2000s with BartPE and WinPE on CD/DVD, and eventually PXE boot. Flash forward to today, and we can use portable flash drives to boot full read/write Windows 8, running right off that fast USB 3.0 interface. This leverages those modern UEFI BIOSs. But actually, you can boot Windows To Go off USB 2.0 on older machines too. Nice! Can't wait to try it myself soon, given I have MSDN access to the required Enterprise version of Windows 8.1.

    In the presentation, Microsoft Enterprise Architects Rob Dendtler & Dewain Robinson walked us through the creation of the media, and demonstration of Windows To Go in action. They had quite the valuable list of gotchas and things to watch out for, along the way, see list below.

    I may be able to pull together some rough video taken from the event at some point. Meanwhile, the PowerPoint below captures those tips nicely. and I didn't want to wait any longer to get this out to you. You have David McCabe to thank for this presentation! He's the creator of Home Server ShowSurfaceGeeks, and the three annual meetups, with more planned! It's probably best to say hi to Dave with a DM to @homeservershow, or send him a message on his Home Server Show Forums.

    for the pdf version, or on the image below to begin a slideshow in the Microsoft SkyDrive interface, complete with clickable URLs. Enjoy!


    List of sites that Rob Dendtler and Dewain Robinson reference:

    Use only certified Windows To Go drives

    Powershell scripting for WTG tool

    Store is disabled by default on Windows 8 To Go.  How to Enable: (fixed in 8.1)

    Setting the Screen Resolution automatically during OSD deployment:

    Customizing the Windows 8 Start Screen (8.1 can use GPOs)

    Hiding the Modern UI Logon

    In order to edit the unattend file for x86 only you have to do so on an separate x86 machine:

    See also:

    Rufus takes 5 minutes to create a UEFI bootable USB 3.0 flash drive for Windows 8.1 installation by Paul Braren on Sep 11 2013

    Step-By-Step: Extending USB storage into Hyper-V via Windows-To-Go by Anthony Bartolo on Apr 18 2013