Hardware & Software

Questions to Ask Before Using Windows To Go

July 17, 2015

Guest Author

Ever since I switched to Linux, both at work and home, I shed my past enthusiasm for all things Windows. According to our own Systems Administrator Chris Johnson, there’s a time and place for Windows. He makes a good point.

Windows To Go is an improvement for Windows work environments that want to give employees the flexibility and convenience to transport their Windows workspaces to computers other than their work desktop.

Windows To Go workspaces enable employees to access a fully functioning workspace on a non-work computer via USB. This option presents a secure and a smart choice for Windows users who prefer not tp transport laptops or other Windows devices back and forth between work and home.

Before implementing Windows To Go, consider these questions.

1. What imaging tools will you use?

For imaging tools you can use DiskPart or ImageX to create images to deploy on the Windows To Go workspace. Whatever tool you use, it must support and be compatible with the new features of Windows To Go.

Commercial imaging tools are not always the best choice, but Windows makes it difficult to step outside of the commercially compatible world and choose free open source options such as Clonezilla.

2. What are the host computer requirements to boot Windows To Go?

What drivers are necessary for the image?

This question is probably the most important when setting up the workspace. When Windows To Go connects to the correct host computer, it automatically downloads and installs the right drivers to allow the workspace to run properly. The workspace then remembers the specific drivers when it is setup to boot on multiple computers.

Can it boot from USB?

Windows To Go boots from a USB device and the host computer must allow this capability. Check to see if USB booting is enabled in the computer’s firmware.

What is processor architecture?

The host computer’s processor architecture (32bit or 64bit) must match the Windows To Go image.

Other Considerations

The computer processor must have 1 Ghz or faster, 2 GB of RAM or more, and graphics should have DirectX 9 graphics with WDDM 1.2 or higher, and a USB 2.0 port or higher.

Also, only specific USB devices support Windows To Go installations.

3. Are certain apps not compatible with Windows To Go?

Not all applications from the Windows Store are compatible with Windows To Go workspaces. For example, if you plan on allowing roaming applications between Windows To Go on multiple computers, all apps from Windows 8 will not function on more than one PC since it is officially tied to the hardware through licensing. The Windows Store is unavailable for every version except Windows 8.1.

4. Will remote-access be available for Windows To Go outside of the organization?

This is an important question for those employees who want to transport their Windows 8 workspace to a non-corporate computer which may not support Windows To Go. Administrators should consider only permitting employees to use it who fully understand how to boot, manage, and shutdown the workspace. Remember, Windows To Go only works on hardware that’s been certified to run Windows 7 and higher operating systems.

Windows To Go represents one of many tools to use when configuring Windows 8 desktops in a work environment.

What other portable solutions do you use in your Windows 8 environment?

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