Create Windows2Go copy of existing Windows system (for @cereberus and others)


jimbo45

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Hi folks

Here's the EASY simple way to create a windows2go system of your CURRENT windows system (and how to update to a newer build afterwards if required.

Note - this method won't work on creating / installing a clean new version of Windows -- for that you will have to use the Rufus method or use dism /ApplyImage and install the bootloader -- that's a different exercise.

So before starting do the following -- have a USB disk large enough to contain your windows system plus a partition for saving the image to. - Have Macrium free installed (other imaging software might work but I've only tested this with macrium -- you can still download the old Macrium Free v8 at the majorgeeks website. You can always delete Macrium afterwards if you don't like or want it.

If you want to update to a newer build after installing then if you aren't a member of windows insider you'll need an ISO / other medium with the build version you want to update to.

1) OK assuming all that lot the ist thing to do is to add this Registry key (or if it exists already ensure value is ZERO ) to your current booted windows system

Screenshot_20240407_094357.png

2) Reboot the system.
3) enter diskpart via elevated command (run as administrator)
4) ensure external disk is made GPT and create an EFI partition on it size of 100

diskpart
list disk <there should only be 2 - disk 1 will be the external disk and disk 0 should be the internal disk>
select disk 1
clean
convert gpt
create partition efi size=100
format fs=fat32 quick
5) we need to create 2 primary partitions on this disk -- one for the windows system and one for the area to hold the image file. We need to image rather than clone as cloning the running OS means normally you'll have to boot some sort of stand alone recovery software and I've found out by experience it doesn't work without having to do a load of other things. so I'd suggest create say 2 125 GB partitions

create partition primary size=125000
format fs=ntfs quick
create partition primary size=125000
format fs=ntfs quick

6) now we want to assign letters to these for a restore of the system so still in disk part

list vol

7) you should see 2 volumes with no letters in their name and 2 100mb hidden partitions. assume the volume numbers for the big partitions are 6 and 7 and the 2nd 100mb partition is 8 -- these numbers will depend on your actual windows hardware especially if you have more than one internal HDD. I've assumed ONE internal HDD but the method is exactly the same.

select vol 6
assign letter=M <I've used M for the place for the image file >
select vol 7
assign letter=W <I've used W for the windows target area>
select vol 8
assign letter=S <we will need this if for some strange reason the system fails to boot -- and we have to install the boot loader manually -- shouldn't usually happen though>

exit <leave diskpart>

9) Now run macrium to image disk 0 <your existing windows disk> to partition M == start macrium, and select image this disk to partition M --- You'll have to use help or google if you've never used macrium but it's quite well menu driven -- this post assumes people are conversant with imaging and cloning software.

10) exit macrium and restart it for the restore phase
11) from the macrium menu choose restore >>> browse for image and select the image you created on partition M
12) Macrium will ask you to select target disk -- select the one containing your W and M partitions.
13) delete partition W (macrium will give that option)
14) drag the partitions from the target disk (the efi one, the reserved one to the ist 2 spaces on the target disk and the windows one to the space where you deleted partition W -- there probably will be a windows area and a recovery partition.
15) exit macrium and reboot selecting the external USB drive -- should be fine after a bit of "preparing devices" notice.

In the unlikely event that the system won;t boot we'll have to install the bootloader manually

so boot your original windows system, and assign letter=S to the 100 efi partition on disk 1 (as in the ist steps) and any letter you like to the new windows volume (if a letter isn't already assigned) -- assume G

exit disk part
cd g:\windows\system32
g:\
bcdboot g:\windows /s S: /f UEFI

reboot choosing the external disk.

Now it should all work.

To UPDATE to a newer build

1) change the reg key portableoperatingsystem to 0
2) chnge your insider to dev/canary/beta -- whatever you want or get appropriate iso from UUPDUMP ==plenty of example on this Forum of how to create an ISO from uupdump.
3) reboot
4) simply in in insider choose windows update (ensure get latest release is turned on) or if using an iso run the setup.exe from within windows.

Job done

"Alles in Ordnung"

Cheers
jimbo
 

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We need to image rather than clone as cloning the running OS means normally you'll have to boot some sort of stand alone recovery software
:confused:

that looks quite convoluted. Why not just clone/os migrate/wincopy then add the portable reg entry before booting into it.
 

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If you CLONE an existing RUNNING OS the current OS disk can't be locked against changes as the OS is running, task manager, dispatcher etc etc. You also get into problems with identical partition UUID's etc.

This process assumes you have only one internal HDD / SSD / NVME etc as say on a typical laptop. If you have multiple disks then cloning may work -- I haven't tested that process so I can't say.

If you IMAGE the disk then these aren't issues at all.VSS handles the disk locking for the current OS.

I;m sure there is probably a better more technical explanation but after repeated trials and tests I've found imaging and restoring works around 99.999% of the time

and also updates to a newer build work properly too.

Screenshot 2024-04-07 093132.png

Screenshot 2024-04-07 093312.png

Screenshot 2024-04-07 094938.png
cheers
jimbo
 

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Cobblers.

diskgenius os migration uses vss and so does wincopy and no problems with disk/partition guids.

You must be thinking of the old fashioned meaning of the word clone when dinosaurs roamed the earth.
 

My Computers

System One System Two

  • OS
    Win7
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    CPU
    i5-8400
    Motherboard
    gigabyte b365m ds3h
    Memory
    2x8gb 3200mhz
    Monitor(s) Displays
    benq gw2480
    PSU
    bequiet pure power 11 400CM
    Cooling
    cryorig m9i
  • Operating System
    win7
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    CPU
    pentium g5400
    Motherboard
    gigabyte b365m ds3h
    Memory
    1x8gb 2400
    PSU
    xfx pro 450
Cobblers.

diskgenius os migration uses vss and so does wincopy and no problems with disk/partition guids.

You must be thinking of the old fashioned meaning of the word clone when dinosaurs roamed the earth.
Try it and see. Use a system with only ONE internal HDD. Also I was using Macrium Free. Other disk imaging / partitioning / cloning software may and probably does work differently. I'm only stating what happens if you use Macriun Free edition.

If you have to reboot to a "stand alone" recovery system then you probably will have problems when you try and boot the external drive as the "PortableOperatingSystem" key will either not exist or be the wrong value.

So instead of just saying Cobblers -- try the test -- if it works then post and say what imaging software you used. Note also the computer must also only have a SINGLE internal disk.

As always in these things "Check and Verify" -- it's easy to say cobblers without actually doing the test on the stated hardware.

Cheers
jimbo
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows XP,7,10,11 Linux Arch Linux
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    CPU
    2 X Intel i7

My Computers

System One System Two

  • OS
    Win7
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    CPU
    i5-8400
    Motherboard
    gigabyte b365m ds3h
    Memory
    2x8gb 3200mhz
    Monitor(s) Displays
    benq gw2480
    PSU
    bequiet pure power 11 400CM
    Cooling
    cryorig m9i
  • Operating System
    win7
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    CPU
    pentium g5400
    Motherboard
    gigabyte b365m ds3h
    Memory
    1x8gb 2400
    PSU
    xfx pro 450
Hi there
@SIW2

If the cloning process works for you -- then OK - but for me using a laptop with a classical 2.5 inch SSD and running the clone to a NVME 1TB external device in a USB-C adapter I kept getting VSS fail at attempting to make snapshot phase whereas the image and restore worked.

I again attempted cloning to an external 2.5 inch SSD -- the clone worked but the laptop froze immediately after the clone process -- and then trying to boot the external device I just got "Your PC needs to be repaired" etc etc

Imaging and restore worked in both cases - so I'm only posting my experience. If cloning works for you and others it makes the job much simpler.

As to why cloning failed in my case -- I was only surmising -- as I said I didn't know but one can give what one thinks is a possible cause with the caveat it might not be the reason.

In any case the trick is the "PortableOperatingSystem" reg key. You can also copy the WindowstoGo system back to your internal HDD if that key is set to 0 otherwise windows will still think it's on an external drive. Windows will also update to a newer build via Windows update or runnung setup,exe from an install media if the key is set to '0'.

Cheers
jimbo
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows XP,7,10,11 Linux Arch Linux
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    CPU
    2 X Intel i7

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