Windows 8 Thread, Windows To Go Info and Creating a Windows To Go on a removable USB drive in Technical; WindowsToGo
Windows 8 Enterprise Edition Preview (build 8400 - only available to SA customers on volume licence download centre) and ...
29th July 2012, 12:29 PM #1
Windows To Go Info and Creating a Windows To Go on a removable USB drive
Windows 8 Enterprise Edition Preview (build 8400 - only available to SA customers on volume licence download centre) and later has 'Windows To Go' (formally known as portable workspace creator) in the control panel.
WindowsToGo creation in the Enterprise preview has has two main hardware requirements:
* 32GB memory stick
* USB RMB marked as 'Fixed'
Forfill these two requirements and its very simple to create a Windows To Go stick.
It's not as easy as it sounds because at the time of typing there is only 1 USB3 stick that reports itself as fixed; the Kingston USB3 DT Ultimate with part number KW-U4132-1FA (in Europe). I'm guessing the official WindowsToGo drives will be more expensive than usual, the current beta kingston one is around twice the price of its bitflipped USB3 counterpart. This stick is listed as only for testing and the part number is due to change in October when the model is finalised and Windows 8 released.
Normal Kingston DT Ultimates G2's are marked as removable drives and cannot be changed, even with the available manufactures tools.
You can plug in USB caddies with 2.5/3.5 HDs and these will detect as fixed drive properly. USB2 drives reported as fixed or can have the RMB are available. The speed difference of USB3 is well work the extra if you have USB3 ports on your PCs, its actually usable.
WindowsToGo (Control Panel Application) will not allow Windows8 to be installed onto a 'removable' USB 2/3 drive, but it is possible to get it working correctly:
Things you need:
* Modified (for generic use) CFAdisk 32bit Driver
* Windows 8 Enterprise Edition Preview or Enterprise RTM iso/disk/wim
* 32GB memory stick (I used Kingston DT Ultimate GT2, USB3 with non changable RMB marked as removable)
Other things I've used:
* Windows 7 Ultimate laptop
* VMware Workstation 8
1: Install Windows 8 Enterprise Edition into a Virtual Machine, I used VMware Workstation 8
2: Copy the usb filter driver files; CFAdisk.inf and cfadisk.sys to the VM.
3: Plug in the USB stick into a USB2 port and let the Win8VM detect the disk.
4: Open diskmanager, right click on the USB disk, driver, update driver, browse, let me pick, have disk then locate your cfadisk driver ignoring the driver signing.
5: Copy your install.wim into the Win8VM
6: In your Win8VM, open the control panel and run Windows To Go
7: Having installed CFAdisk in the VM your drive should be detected, if not remove and plug back in. Click Next.
8: Now select your location of your modified install.wim image. Skip bitlocker drive encryption for now. Create the drive.
9: After its created do not restart, but quit the Windows To Go creator.
10: Go back into disk manager in the Win8VM and you'll see your USB partitioned into 350mb and 'the rest'. Right click on the 350mb partition and delete it. You want to keep this 350m space blank for now.
11: Mark 'the rest' partition as 'áctive'
12: Right Click on 'the rest' partition, change drive letter and give it a drive letter (e.g. E:\)
13: In the Win8VM open an admin command prompt and run: bcdboot e:\windows /s e: /f all
14: Shutdown your VM and get your host PC to boot from USB
15: Let Windows8 on USB boot and do the basic Windows 8 setup.
16: Copy the usb filter driver files; CFAdisk.inf and cfadisk.sys to your WTG drive.
17: Open diskmanager, right click on the WTG disk, driver, update driver, browse, let me pick, have disk then locate your cfadisk driver ignoring the driver signing.
18: After booting Windows8 on USB open diskmanager, right click on the WTG disk, driver, update driver, browse, let me pick, have disk then locate your cfadisk driver ignoring the driver signing.
19: Reboot the Windows8 USB drive, the Windows8 USB drive should be detected as Basic now.
20: Right click on the C drive and enable bitlocker, do the whole drive. This will recreate the 350mb partition, encrypt your data, remain bootable and retain the cfadisk filter driver for your stick. Let it reboot when it needs to. Job done.
Although you can finish at point 15, windowsupdate does not work on a removable drive. It is important to get your USB drive Windows8 listed as fixed so windowsupdates work correctly.
Other methods of creating bootable Windows8 can be done with imagex or other tools. These do detect they are running from USB correctly, the drive can be removed, but they mount local drives by default, WindowsToGo does not. They will also need the drive to be seen as BASIC or will they will fail windows updates.
Above is 32bit only. 64bit requires you to disable driver signing and add a custom 64bit cfadisk driver.
Windows Store does not work on WTG
A KW-U4132-1FA is detected as a fixed drive and "Just Works"
Last edited by SYNACK; 19th August 2012 at 04:07 AM.
Reason: Updated content by user request
Thanks to Theblacksheep from:
speckytecky (29th October 2012)
IDG Tech News
29th July 2012, 12:41 PM #2
I'm guessing its detection routines are deeper than the basic partition based stuff then. I have a 1GB USB drive that I messed with the partition table of to make it look like a fixed disk so that it could have multiple partitions and boot as a 1GB DOS boot disk. I think I used the tools that were used at the time to make the UBCD a USB bootable thing to mess with the partition tables. Does the Windows 8 stuff look deeper than the partition structure?
29th July 2012, 12:50 PM #3
It looks at the actual disk, you can partition up a removable USB stick, but it still looks at the driver loaded and if its detected as removable it'll fail. So you need to modify windows.
Originally Posted by SYNACK
Using the USB filter drive to pretend its fixed gets around it, but installing the driver into the image isn't enough. The bootable image will be using the windows driver and fail to read partition 2, so here deleting the 350mb boot partition, marking the remaining windows partition as active get around it. Then once booted you can modify the driver used to be the filter driver and you're good to enable bitlocker and have multiple partitions again.
Any USB stick with atleast 32GB should work with the above method.
29th July 2012, 01:28 PM #4
Did you try VHD method since VHDs will show up as "fixed" drives in Windows.
29th July 2012, 01:43 PM #5
I've tested that and the imagex transfer of a WIM to a disk in earlier versions but this is a mod to the proper WindowsToGo tools built in (and only in) Windows8 Enterprise Edition.
Originally Posted by Arthur
WindowsToGo supports the removal of the USB drive for 30 seconds, not sure the other methods 'know' they are WindowsToGo drives, worth a test.
Last edited by Theblacksheep; 29th July 2012 at 02:06 PM.
3rd August 2012, 07:26 AM #6
The Enterprise Preview can write Enterprise RTM WTG disks. Hopefully updated first post from the kind mods.
Last edited by Theblacksheep; 3rd August 2012 at 10:04 AM.
3rd August 2012, 11:22 AM #7
First post updated with more information.
Thanks to SYNACK from:
Theblacksheep (3rd August 2012)
18th August 2012, 10:10 AM #8
Tried out the Kingston (fixed RMB) USB3 stick and it 'just works'. None of the above faffing around.
Plugged into a USB3 port and performance is very good, it'll be very usable. USB2 and its a bit slow.
22nd October 2012, 05:58 PM #9
Western Digital released a Windows To Go compatible hard drive today - the 500GB My Passport Enterprise (P/N: WDBHEZ5000ABK).
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