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USB 2.0 Windows To Go

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#1 misty


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Posted 20 August 2015 - 03:07 PM

Microsoft recommends the use of fixed disk type USB 2.0 flash drives for Windows To Go - with only a handful of expensive drives having been certified by Microsoft (see here).

Having succesfully booted Windows To Go on a USB 2.0 Hard Disk Drive (a standard 2.5" drive in a USB enclosure) I know that the USB 3.0 drives are not required. So how about using a USB 2.0 flash drive? First issue - I don't have any with a high enough capacity. Solution - use wimboot on my USB 2.0 Sandisk Cruzer Facet!

I decided to setup Windows To Go on the drive using a Windows 8.1 Update Operating System - using the excellent wimlib-imagex software. The reason for using this OS was the need to be able to run the BCD boot command after applying my wimboot .wim image to the USB drive - as Windows 8.1 Update includes the WoF driver this was not an issue.

The Windows To Go on the USB drive will also be a Windows 8.1 Update Operating System as this is well documented as being wimboot compatible.

Step 1 - A sysprepped image is required as a base for Windows To Go. I decided to use install.wim from Windows 8.1 Update installation media. I applied install.wim to a local directory and recaptured it as wimboot.wim using wimlib-imagex with the --wimboot switch.

Step 2 - Copied wimboot.wim (created in step 1) to my USB drive - the only partition on the drive was mounted as volume E:

Step 3 - ran "wimlib-imagex apply E:\wimboot.wim 1 E:\ --wimboot" to apply the contents of E:\wimboot.wim to volume E:\

Step 4 - Ran "bcdboot.exe E:\windows /s E:" to create boot files

Step 5 - Rebooted the computer and booted from my USB flash drive - completing setup.

Outcome - Setup took some time to complete and the Operating System was frustratingly slow with a long delay completing basic tasks (e.g. opening explorer, starting diskpart), however it did work!





#2 Zoso


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    Isle of Man

Posted 20 August 2015 - 06:15 PM

hi Misty,

more useful info!

BTW, if the usb was sluggish during install then it will probably also be sluggish while running windows. this is why I like the Enhanced Write Filter from embedded versions so much. it makes even the slowest flashdrives snappy after installation. not sure if anyone has incorporated it into W8 yet though but surely it is possible.


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