Creating a Portable Windows 8 Environment with Windows To Go

Download Guide:  3081_Windows8ToGo_WSG

Overview

You can create a Windows To Go workspace to boot a portable and managed Windows 8 system on a managed or unmanaged Windows 7 or Windows 8 host computer. For example, you might want to provide a company-owned Windows To Go workspace to a staff member who uses their own non-domain-joined computer at work. The Windows To Go workspace provides a domain-joined computer experience for this user, without modifying their personal consumer device. As another example, you could create a Windows To Go workspace for yourself to use on a home computer running Windows 7.

You can use a Windows To Go workspace like any desktop, laptop, or slate computer. For example, you can:

  • Join a corporate domain
  • Connect to the corporate network from a remote site using VPN
  • Install applications
  • Access USB devices (such as a smart card reader) attached to the host

A Windows To Go workspace works with any host computer (desktop, laptop, or slate PC) that supports the Boot To USB Hard Disk Drive startup option. When you connect a Windows To Go workspace to a USB port on a host computer, the workspace is isolated from the host system’s hard drive so the hard drive cannot be compromised or infected. The user can switch between the Windows To Go workspace and the host hard drive at any time by inserting or removing the Windows To Go workspace during a system restart.

 

Creating a Windows To Go workspace

To create a Windows To Go workspace, use the Windows To Go creator provisioning tool.  The provisioning tool is available from the Windows 8 Control Panel (Enterprise Edition only).

Use the provisioning tool to create the workspace

 

To create a Windows To Go workspace using the provisioning tool:

1. Ask your administrators to share a copy of the Windows OS installation image file (also known as a .WIM file) that you can copy to your DOWNLOADS library folder.

—OR—

2. Ask your administrators to provide a Windows OS installation image file in DVD-ready format (also known as a .ISO file), which you can copy to your DOWNLOADS library folder.

3. When the download is complete, open your Downloads folder on the host computer, press and hold (or right-click with the mouse) the Windows 8 installation image .ISO file, and then tap or click MOUNT ISO.

The .ISO file appears as a disk drive on your host computer.

4. Swipe in from the right edge of the screen (point to the upper-right corner of the screen with the mouse), tap or click the Settings charm, and then tap or click the Control Panel app to open the Control Panel.

5. In the Control Panel, tap or click Windows To Go.

6. Insert a USB drive into a USB port on the host computer.

NOTE:  Make sure to remove any files on the USB drive that you want to save. The USB drive will be reformatted and all data will be deleted when you provision it.

7. In the Choose the drive you want to use screen, the provisioning tool displays any attached USB drives. Select the USB drive you want to use, and then tap or click Next.

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8. In the Choose a Windows 8 image screen, the provisioning tool displays the mounted .ISO file. If you don’t see the .ISO file, tap or click Add search location to select the mounted .ISO file. Tap or click the file, and then tap or click Next.

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9. In the Set a BitLocker password (optional) screen, select the Use BitLocker with my Windows To Go workspace check box if you want to protect the drive with BitLocker® Drive Encryption, and follow the prompts to enter . and confirm a BitLocker password.

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NOTE:  To learn more about BitLocker, see the Protecting Your Data with Windows 8 BitLocker Work Smart Guide: http://download.microsoft.com/download/E/0/8/E0853978-5C03-4BC1-916F-E195A35BC3D0/2932_WSG_ProtectingYourDatawithWindows8BitLocker_External.docx

10. In the Ready to create your Windows to Go workspace screen, tap or click Create to create the Windows To Go workspace.

 

The provisioning tool starts to prepare your USB drive. This typically takes less than one hour.

11. In the Choose a boot option screen, select a boot (startup) option. If you tap or click Yes, the Windows Boot Manager configuration will be modified to automatically boot from your Windows To Go device when it is connected to this host computer.

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NOTE  If you want to change the boot option after running the wizard, in the Windows 8 Start screen, type Change Windows To Go Startup Options, tap or click Settings to change the search scope, and then tap or click the Change Windows To Go Startup Options app to open it.

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12. When provisioning is complete, tap or click Save and restart to restart the host computer.

Suspending BitLocker on the host computer

If the host computer is protected by BitLocker, and if you are switching the boot order permanently in BIOS or UEFI startup device options, you must suspend BitLocker protection before switching the boot order on the host computer. Otherwise, you will trigger the BitLocker recovery key screen when you try to boot back to the internal hard drive. After switching the boot order, you will need to resume BitLocker protection for the internal drive.

How you suspend BitLocker depends on the operating system that you are using.

Windows 7 Host

  1. Click Start, and then click Control Panel.
  2. Click System and Security, and then click BitLocker Drive Encryption.
  3. In the BitLocker Drive Encryption dialog box, click Suspend Protection.

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NOTE  To resume protection after switching the boot order, click Resume protection in the BitLocker Drive Encryption dialog box.

Windows 8 Host

  1. In the Start screen, type Control Panel, and then tap or click the Control Panel app on the left side of the screen to open the Control Panel.
  2. In the Control Panel, tap or click System and Security, and then tap or click BitLocker Drive Encryption.
  3. In the BitLocker Drive Encryption dialog box, tap or click Suspend protection.

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NOTE  To resume protection after switching the boot order, click Resume protection in the BitLocker Drive Encryption dialog box.

Updating the configuration

When you connect a Windows To Go workspace to a new host computer and restart the host computer, Windows To Go automatically detects and applies the needed configuration updates before the Windows logon.

After logon, you may need to go to Windows Update to ensure that the Windows To Go workspace has the latest device drivers.

To check for updates:

  1. Swipe in from the right edge of the screen (point to the upper-right corner of the screen with the mouse), tap or click the Settings charm, and then tap or click Change PC Settings.
  2. Tap or click Windows Update.
  3. On the right side of the screen, tap or click Check online for updates.

Working with IntelliMirror

If you have configured IntelliMirror® services for an IT-managed computer, your data libraries will automatically sync to the new Windows To Go workspace after logon. For more information on IntelliMirror, see the Backing Up Your Data Work Smart Guide: http://download.microsoft.com/download/1/D/3/1D3A212F-B89C-4068-B287-FBB54E12C0A1/3028_WSG_BackingUpYourData_External.docx

Recommended USB Drives

Windows To Go requires a USB 3.0 flash drive, which can be used on computers with USB 3.x and USB 2.x ports. To see a list of USB drives that are recommended for Windows To Go workspaces, go to: http://www.zones.com/site/locate/search.html?txt_search=Windows+To+Go.

Drives that are recommended are marked as shown in the following graphic.

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For more information

Microsoft IT Showcase
http://microsoft.com/microsoft-IT

Windows To Go
http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/jj737992.aspx

Windows To Go: Features Overview
http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/hh831833.aspx

Windows To Go Step By Step (en-US)
http://social.technet.microsoft.com/wiki/contents/articles/6991.windows-to-go-step-by-step-en-us.aspx

Windows To Go: Frequently Asked Questions
http://windows.microsoft.com/is-IS/windows-8/windows-to-go-faqs

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