7 Oct.

Windows To Go Basics (3/81)

This week’s posts kick off Windows To Go, which was introduced with Windows 8, and provides the ability for Windows Enterprise to boot from a USB drive – with choices of using a flash drive or a hard drive, depending on storage and portability requirements. It’s only available through the Enterprise editions of Windows 8 and Windows 8.1, even though we’ve all got scenarios outside of enterprise usage where it would be incredibly handy.

Certified Devices

The certification process for Windows To Go was designed to help ensure the hardware met a higher quality bar than the typical flash drives that are out there.

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There are currently four hardware vendors that have certified flash devices, and they are Kingston, Imation, Super Talent, and Spyrus .The flash based solutions include 32GB, 64GB, 128GB and 256GB offerings.

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Western Digital have gone down a different path, and have a 500GB HDD option.

Can I Use A Non Certified Drive?

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The tool advises that we don’t have a drive installed, so I will insert a non-supported 32GB drive.

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You can see that we can’t proceed with this option, so instead I need to put in a supported drive, and I just happen to have a supported 32GB Kingston DataTraveller with me.

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After I click next, I need to point to the appropriate source location.

Licensing

Software Assurance for Windows is required to be licensed for this, but once you are outside of the office then SA roaming rights apply. For BYOD scenarios, you can provide coverage by VDA or SA for Windows, with VDA providing more flexibility for changing devices over time.

Each Enterprise license provides permission to create two Windows To Go devices, so users can have multiple drives at their disposal.

Usage Scenarios

Microsoft has identified fie primary Windows To Go usage scenarios, which are as follows…

Contractors – can be provided a fully provisioned Windows image that can be provided to temporary staff, they can use it on their own machine or a company supplied machine.

BYOD (at work) – the regular employee equivalent of the contractor scenario

Travel Light/Work From Home – the same Windows desktop across multiple home and work devices

Shared PCs – for environments where users need to switch between computers.

Up And Running on Windows 8 – an easy way to run Windows 8.1 on devices with an earlier OS installed, without affecting the existing OS.

The next post will dig further into Windows To Go, including deploying single versus multiple images, differences between Windows To Go and Windows 8.1 Enterprise, and more!

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