Using the Deprecated "Windows to Go"to Beta Test Windows 11


barman58

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Windows 11 Pro x64 [Latest Release Preview] [Win11 PRO HighEnd MUP-00005 DD]
Just a quick run through on using the Windows to Go system for OS testing.

Microsoft developed and included in Windows 10 Pro, Enterprise and I believe the education version, the functionality to create a "Windows to GO" install on a USB Device.
This was designed for enterprise SysAdmins to create a portable version of window to be used on employees home systems that contained all the company branding and specialist software.

As I was having some issues running the Windows 11 Pre release install on a Hyper-V VM (basically due to my use of 3840x2160 UHD 4K monitors), i decided to try something else and decided Windows to Go would work for me. now that is a major issue to this, Microsoft have depreciated the option, they still support use of the installs on Windows 10 systems but the facility to create these has been removed, ( this is basically due to the issues found by some enterprises in keeping the systems updated.

Luckily the old Stalwart of USB pen drive / external drive management Rufus comes to the rescue as they include the option to create a windows to go install in their standard totally free software.


All you need to use this route to test software, ( or to keep a bootable full copy of Windows or even Your Windows install for emergencies is an ISO of the install and an external USB device of a suitable size.

now the performance of the install will depend on the device you choose to install to and the device you choose to run the install on.

I have had a seamless running on an external M2 NVME usb3 drive but a spare usb Pendrive or spare SSD should give usable results

Rather than go through the step by step there is a Youtube video of the method which is based on a Windows 10 Install , but works for Windows 11 you can use your own ISO for anything that will run on your hardware, and Win11 ISOs from Microsoft or UUDP - Rufus will actually find ISO's for you in the software as you setup.

 

My Computers

System One System Two

  • OS
    Windows 11 Pro x64 [Latest Release Preview] [Win11 PRO HighEnd MUP-00005 DD]
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Scan 3XS to my design
    CPU
    AMD RYZEN 9 7950X OEM
    Motherboard
    *3XS*ASUS TUF B650 PLUS WIFI
    Memory
    64GB [2x32GB Corsair Vengeance 560 AMD DDR5]
    Graphics Card(s)
    3XS* ASUS DUAL RTX 4060 OC 8G
    Sound Card
    On motherboard Feeding SPDiF 5.1 system [plus local sound to each monitor]
    Monitor(s) Displays
    32" UHD 32 Bit HDR Monitor + 43" UHD 4K 32Bit HDR TV
    Screen Resolution
    2 x 3840 x 2160
    Hard Drives
    3XS Samsung 980Pro 2TB M.2 PCIe4 4 x 8TB Data + Various Externals from 1TB to 8TB, 10TB NAS
    PSU
    3XS Corsair RM850x 850w Fully Modular
    Case
    FDesign Define 7 XL BK TGL Case - Black
    Cooling
    3XS iCUE H150i ELITE Liquid Cool, Quiet Case fans
    Keyboard
    Wireless Logitec MX Keys + K830 [Depending on where I'm Sat]
    Mouse
    Wireless Logitec - MX Master 3S +
    Internet Speed
    950 MB Down 55 MB Up
    Browser
    Latest Chrome
    Antivirus
    BitDefender Total Security [Latest]
    Other Info
    Also run...
    Dell XPS 17 Laptop
    HP Laptop 8GB - Windows 10 Pro x64 HP 15.2"
    Nexus 7 Android tablet [x2]
    Samsung 10.2" tablet
    Blackview 10.2 Tablet
    Sony Z3 Android Smartphone
    Samsung S9 Plus Smartphone
    Wacom Pro Medium Pen Pad
    Wacom Pro Small Pen Pad
    Wacom ExpressKey Remote
    Loopdeck+ Graphics Controller
    Shuttle Pro v2 Control Pad
  • Operating System
    Windows 11 Pro x64 [Latest release]
    Computer type
    Laptop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Dell XPS 17 9700
    CPU
    i7 10750H
    Motherboard
    Stock
    Memory
    32 GB
    Graphics card(s)
    Stock Intel + GTX 1650 Ti
    Sound Card
    Stock 4 speaker
    Monitor(s) Displays
    Stock 17" + 32" 4K 3840 x 2160 HDR-10
    Screen Resolution
    3840 x 2400 HDR touchscreen
    Hard Drives
    2TB M2 NVMe
    PSU
    Stock
    Case
    Stock Aluminium / Carbon Fibre
    Cooling
    Stock + 2 fan cooling pad
    Mouse
    Stock Trackpad +Logi Mx Master 3 or MX Ergo Trackball
    Keyboard
    Stock Illuminated + Logi - MX Keys
    Internet Speed
    950 MB Down 55 MB Up
    Browser
    Latest Chrome
    Antivirus
    BitDefender Total Security 2021
    Other Info
    Also use an Adjustable Support for Laptop and Adjustable stand for monitor
Actually, it is a bit naughty of Rufus to call it Windows To Go as that is an MS trademark.

True Windows To Go had extra features to stop pc crashing if you accidentally removed the usb drive.

Most implementations are more accurately "Bootable Windows from a usb drive" but if you remove drive pc will crash.

I have heard it alleged that the Rufus implementation will survive a temporary removal of usb drive, but last time I tested it, pc crashed immediately usb drive was removed, but it was a while ago.






PS - minor detail - WTG was a deprecated feature, not depreciated feature.
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 10 Pro + others in VHDs
    Computer type
    Laptop
    Manufacturer/Model
    ASUS Vivobook 14
    CPU
    I7
    Motherboard
    Yep, Laptop has one.
    Memory
    16 GB
    Graphics Card(s)
    Integrated Intel Iris XE
    Sound Card
    Realtek built in
    Monitor(s) Displays
    N/A
    Screen Resolution
    1920x1080
    Hard Drives
    1 TB Optane NVME SSD, 1 TB NVME SSD
    PSU
    Yep, got one
    Case
    Yep, got one
    Cooling
    Stella Artois
    Keyboard
    Built in
    Mouse
    Bluetooth , wired
    Internet Speed
    72 Mb/s :-(
    Browser
    Edge mostly
    Antivirus
    Defender
    Other Info
    TPM 2.0
Being as microsoft has depreciated WtG I doubt that they will be worried about the naming rights, thinking about it the very fact that you cannot trademark a current word in common usage could be why Microsoft have never just called the OS "Windows"
 

My Computers

System One System Two

  • OS
    Windows 11 Pro x64 [Latest Release Preview] [Win11 PRO HighEnd MUP-00005 DD]
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Scan 3XS to my design
    CPU
    AMD RYZEN 9 7950X OEM
    Motherboard
    *3XS*ASUS TUF B650 PLUS WIFI
    Memory
    64GB [2x32GB Corsair Vengeance 560 AMD DDR5]
    Graphics Card(s)
    3XS* ASUS DUAL RTX 4060 OC 8G
    Sound Card
    On motherboard Feeding SPDiF 5.1 system [plus local sound to each monitor]
    Monitor(s) Displays
    32" UHD 32 Bit HDR Monitor + 43" UHD 4K 32Bit HDR TV
    Screen Resolution
    2 x 3840 x 2160
    Hard Drives
    3XS Samsung 980Pro 2TB M.2 PCIe4 4 x 8TB Data + Various Externals from 1TB to 8TB, 10TB NAS
    PSU
    3XS Corsair RM850x 850w Fully Modular
    Case
    FDesign Define 7 XL BK TGL Case - Black
    Cooling
    3XS iCUE H150i ELITE Liquid Cool, Quiet Case fans
    Keyboard
    Wireless Logitec MX Keys + K830 [Depending on where I'm Sat]
    Mouse
    Wireless Logitec - MX Master 3S +
    Internet Speed
    950 MB Down 55 MB Up
    Browser
    Latest Chrome
    Antivirus
    BitDefender Total Security [Latest]
    Other Info
    Also run...
    Dell XPS 17 Laptop
    HP Laptop 8GB - Windows 10 Pro x64 HP 15.2"
    Nexus 7 Android tablet [x2]
    Samsung 10.2" tablet
    Blackview 10.2 Tablet
    Sony Z3 Android Smartphone
    Samsung S9 Plus Smartphone
    Wacom Pro Medium Pen Pad
    Wacom Pro Small Pen Pad
    Wacom ExpressKey Remote
    Loopdeck+ Graphics Controller
    Shuttle Pro v2 Control Pad
  • Operating System
    Windows 11 Pro x64 [Latest release]
    Computer type
    Laptop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Dell XPS 17 9700
    CPU
    i7 10750H
    Motherboard
    Stock
    Memory
    32 GB
    Graphics card(s)
    Stock Intel + GTX 1650 Ti
    Sound Card
    Stock 4 speaker
    Monitor(s) Displays
    Stock 17" + 32" 4K 3840 x 2160 HDR-10
    Screen Resolution
    3840 x 2400 HDR touchscreen
    Hard Drives
    2TB M2 NVMe
    PSU
    Stock
    Case
    Stock Aluminium / Carbon Fibre
    Cooling
    Stock + 2 fan cooling pad
    Mouse
    Stock Trackpad +Logi Mx Master 3 or MX Ergo Trackball
    Keyboard
    Stock Illuminated + Logi - MX Keys
    Internet Speed
    950 MB Down 55 MB Up
    Browser
    Latest Chrome
    Antivirus
    BitDefender Total Security 2021
    Other Info
    Also use an Adjustable Support for Laptop and Adjustable stand for monitor
nice heads up I will try it.
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    win11
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Me
    CPU
    i9 10850
    Motherboard
    MS-7C75
    Memory
    16GB
    Graphics Card(s)
    nVIDEA Geoforce 3070
    Sound Card
    Onboard
    Monitor(s) Displays
    Samsung 55inch TV
    Screen Resolution
    3040 X 2160
    Hard Drives
    6TB over 4 drives
    Case
    generic
    Cooling
    water cooled
    Keyboard
    generic
    Mouse
    generic
    Internet Speed
    500mb
    Browser
    various
    Antivirus
    ATM Bitdefender
Yeah, surprised to see that they deprecated it. They pulled a Google with that particular facet of Windows, for sure.
 

My Computers

System One System Two

  • OS
    Windows 11 23H2 Current build
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    Manufacturer/Model
    HomeBrew
    CPU
    AMD Ryzen 9 3950X
    Motherboard
    MSI MEG X570 GODLIKE
    Memory
    4 * 32 GB - Corsair Vengeance 3600 MHz
    Graphics Card(s)
    EVGA GeForce RTX 3080 Ti XC3 ULTRA GAMING (12G-P5-3955-KR)
    Sound Card
    Realtek® ALC1220 Codec
    Monitor(s) Displays
    2x Eve Spectrum ES07D03 4K Gaming Monitor (Matte) | Eve Spectrum ES07DC9 4K Gaming Monitor (Glossy)
    Screen Resolution
    3x 3840 x 2160
    Hard Drives
    3x Samsung 980 Pro NVMe PCIe 4 M.2 2 TB SSD (MZ-V8P2T0B/AM) } 3x Sabrent Rocket NVMe 4.0 1 TB SSD (USB)
    PSU
    PC Power & Cooling’s Silencer Series 1050 Watt, 80 Plus Platinum
    Case
    Fractal Design Define 7 XL Dark ATX Full Tower Case
    Cooling
    NZXT KRAKEN Z73 73.11 CFM Liquid CPU Cooler (3x 120 mm push top) + Air 3x 140mm case fans (pull front) + 1x 120 mm (push back) and 1 x 120 mm (pull bottom)
    Keyboard
    SteelSeries Apex Pro Wired Gaming Keyboard
    Mouse
    Logitech MX Master 3S | MX Master 3 for Business
    Internet Speed
    AT&T LightSpeed Gigabit Duplex Ftth
    Browser
    Nightly (default) + Firefox (stable), Chrome, Edge
    Antivirus
    Defender + MB 5 Beta
  • Operating System
    ChromeOS Flex Dev Channel (current)
    Computer type
    Laptop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Dell Latitude E5470
    CPU
    Intel(R) Core(TM) i5-6300U CPU @ 2.40GHz, 2501 Mhz, 2 Core(s), 4 Logical Processor(s)
    Motherboard
    Dell
    Memory
    16 GB
    Graphics card(s)
    Intel(R) HD Graphics 520
    Sound Card
    Intel(R) HD Graphics 520 + RealTek Audio
    Monitor(s) Displays
    Dell laptop display 15"
    Screen Resolution
    1920 * 1080
    Hard Drives
    Toshiba 128GB M.2 22300 drive
    INTEL Cherryville 520 Series SSDSC2CW180A 180 GB SATA III SSD
    PSU
    Dell
    Case
    Dell
    Cooling
    Dell
    Mouse
    Logitech MX Master 3S (shared w. Sys 1) | Dell TouchPad
    Keyboard
    Dell
    Internet Speed
    AT&T LightSpeed Gigabit Duplex Ftth
Being as microsoft has depreciated WtG I doubt that they will be worried about the naming rights, thinking about it the very fact that you cannot trademark a current word in common usage could be why Microsoft have never just called the OS "Windows"
Hi there

You can also CLONE a running system to a WindowstoGo USB drive or even convert a VM to a Physical WindowstoGo drive too. Use the Dism image facility and then create the boot loader.

If you have some spare external SSD's or NVME's with SATA->USB adapter the performance of these is very good indeed --I've quite a few spare older "Classical" SSD's (not the newer NVME things) which are ideal for this purpose --they can be switched easily between machines too if you want to test different hardware !!!

For clean install the rufus method is quick easy and just about foolproof !!! (It's even decently "User proof" !!).

@cereberus it probably crashed because it needed the paging file which isn't usually stored in RAM. Normally with sufficient RAM a quick accidental removal of the USB the OS should be able to survive although you don't want to be doing any I/O to any connected devices at the time.

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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