In Windows 8 Enterprise there is an awesome new feature called Windows To Go which allows administrators to support the BYOD device movement and have users boot a copy of Windows 8 from a USB drive. Only certain USB drives will be certified for Windows to Go, and in this guide we re using the Kingston DataTraveler.
Note: The Windows To Go creator wizard is only available on Windows Enterprise clients.
I’m using the Kingston Bootable DataTraveler Ultimate 3.0 (KW-U4132-1FA). This drive is designed to meet Microsoft’s specifications for Windows To Go. This specifications includes the requirement for the drive to present itself as a fixed drive and at least 25GB. This drive currently can only be purchased directly from Kingston until October 26th. http://legacy.kingston.com/wtg/.
1. Connect your Windows To Go USB drive to your machine.
Note: Notice that the Kingston drive shows up as a fixed drive vice a removable drive.
2. Verify that the WIM file location you wish to use is accessible to the elevated user that will run the tool and that the WIM contains a valid Enterprise sysprep generalized image.
3. Click Win+W, type Windows To Go and then press Enter. If the User Account Control dialog box appears, confirm that the action it displays is what you want, and then click Yes. The Windows To Go Creator Wizard opens.
4. On the Chose the drive you want to use page, select the drive that represent the USB drive you inserted in step 1 and click Next.
5. On the Choose a Windows 8 image page, if the wizard doesn’t find your WIM, click Add Search Location and then navigate to the WIM file folder location verified in step 2 to identify the Windows image that you are going to use for your Windows To Go workspace. Then click Next.
6. (Optional) On the Set a BitLocker password (optional) page, you can select Use BitLocker with my Windows To Go Workspace to encrypt your Windows To Go drive. If you do not wish to encrypt the drive at this time click Skip. You can also decide later and enable BitLocker once you have booted into your WTG device. If you choose to encrypt now:
- Type a password that is at least eight characters long and conforms to your organizations password complexity policy. This password will be provided before the operating system is started so any characters you use must be able to be interpreted by the firmware. Some firmwares do not support non-ASCII characters.
- If you chose to use BitLocker to protect your drive, your recovery password will be saved in the documents library of the computer used to create the workspace automatically. If your organization is using Active Directory Domain Services (AD DS) to store recovery passwords it may also be saved in AD DS under the computer account of the computer used to create the workspace. This password will be used only if you need to recover access to the drive because the BitLocker password specified in the previous step is not available, such as if a password is lost or forgotten.
If you are planning to use a USB-Duplicator to create multiple Windows To Go drives, DO NOT enable BitLocker prior to duplication. Drives protected with BitLocker should not be duplicated as they will use the same encryption key.
- Retype the password, and then click Next.
8. Click Create to start the Windows To Go workspace provisioning process.
9. Wait for the creation process to complete, which could take up to 30 minutes or longer depending on the size of the image you are creating. A completion page will be displayed that tells you when your Windows To Go workspace is ready to use. You can now enable the Windows To Go startup options and reboot into your Windows To Go device.
The Windows To Go process is pretty easy to follow. I think Microsoft has done an awesome job with this killer feature. Windows To Go is not intended to replace desktops, laptops or supplant other mobility offerings. This feature coupled with BitLocker To Go, provides support for efficient use of resources for alternative workplace scenarios.
Give it a try and let us know what you think. If you have questions about Windows To Go, please feel free to ask.