Windows To Go
is a feature in Windows 8
Windows 8 is the codename for the next version of the Microsoft Windows computer operating system following Windows 7. It has many changes from previous versions. In particular it adds support for ARM microprocessors in addition to the previously supported x86 microprocessors from Intel and AMD...
that allows the entire system to run from USB mass storage devices such as flash drives and external hard drives.
Windows To Go is intended to allow enterprise administrators to provide users with an imaged version of Windows 8 that reflects the corporate desktop. Windows To Go is to be aimed at enterprises; licensing details were not discussed when Windows To Go was announced. Creation of Windows To Go drives was not supported by the preview versions of Windows 8, although Windows To Go flash drives set up by Microsoft were distributed to those who attended their September 2011 Build Conference.
According to ZDNet, the last time Windows included a similar feature was Windows 3.11's execute in place ROM option, although Windows Embedded Standard 7 also includes a method to boot from USB mass storage devices.
In April 2011, after the leak of Windows 8 build 7850, some users noticed that those builds included a program called "Portable Workspace Creator", indicating it was intended to create bootable USB drives of Windows 8.
In September 2011 Microsoft officially announced Windows To Go
at the Build Conference
, and distributed bootable 32GB USB flash drives with Windows To Go pre-installed.
Safety and security features
As a safety measure designed to prevent data loss, Windows "freezes" the entire system if the USB drive is removed, and continues to operate immediately if the drive is inserted in the next 60 seconds after removal. If the drive is not inserted in that time-frame, the computer shuts down after those 60 seconds to prevent possible confidential or sensitive information being displayed on the screen or stored on RAM
Random access memory is a form of computer data storage. Today, it takes the form of integrated circuits that allow stored data to be accessed in any order with a worst case performance of constant time. Strictly speaking, modern types of DRAM are therefore not random access, as data is read in...
. It is also possible to encrypt a Windows To Go drive using BitLocker.
According to Microsoft, a Windows To Go drive can be deployed, once created, with Windows tools such as ImageX.
Windows To Go works both on USB 2.0 and USB 3.0
USB 3.0 is the second major revision of the Universal Serial Bus standard for computer connectivity.USB 3.0 has transmission speeds of up to 5 Gbit/s, which is 10 times faster than USB 2.0 . USB 3.0 significantly reduces the time required for data transmission, reduces power consumption, and...
connections, and both on legacy BIOS
In IBM PC compatible computers, the basic input/output system , also known as the System BIOS or ROM BIOS , is a de facto standard defining a firmware interface....
The Unified EFI Forum or UEFI Forum is an alliance between several leading technology companies to modernize the booting process...
The first time Windows To Go boots on a particular computer, it installs the drivers for that particular hardware and no reboot is required. Subsequent booting operations go straight into Windows 8.