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Former Member
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Hi all!

My name is Jürgen Grebe,  and I'm working as a Partner Manager at Microsoft. I will be your Microsoft coordinator at the InnoJam in Madrid.

Are you interested to get familiar with Windows 8 and/or do you want to participate in our short lectures here on SDN, but you don't have a spare computer?

Here is help for you!

I have compiled a short guidance on how you can create a so called Windows-To-Go USB disk, one of the many new features of Windows 8.

With Windows-to-Go  you can use a USB stick or USB-Disk to run Windows 8 on many computers without affecting the installed OS and existing data on this computer.

All you need is a PC with Windows 7 installed on it and an USB Stick with ideally 32GB or  you can use a USB Hard disk.

Ideally this device is USB3.0,but you can also use USB2.0, but there might be some  performance issues. 

I'm actually using an USB 3.0 stick with 100MB/s read and 70 MB/s write speed. The device is a Kingston DataTraveler Ultimate G2 with 32GB. 

A quite cheap USB 3.0 stick for about 45€. But there are many other devices out there, just check in your favorite HW store.

Disclaimer: This guidance is by far not complete, this guide just explains how you can build a simple Windows-To-Go stick for testing purpose (and for the InnoJam event). We are not considering any Enterprise requirement, like Managability and/or Security in this guide  If you are interested in this as well or if you even want to use it on your Corporate Network, then please find the complete Information about Windows-To-Go  on Microsoft TechNet - .

Let's get started!

Download some installation kits

(Other kits or languages can be found on the general site )

Make the USB disk bootable

Warning: be careful that you select the correct device, otherwise other connected disks might be deleted without warning.

Start the command prompt cmd.exe  with "Run as administrator"

Within this command prompt enter the following commands :

·        diskpart

·        list disk (here you find multiple disk , select the correct disk !!!)

·        select disk 2 (in my case, this will be different for you select the correct disk, aka your USB drive!)

·        clean

·        create partition primary

·        format fs=ntfs quick

·        active

·        Exit

Here is an example, how it looks like at my PC:

Now you have got a bootable stick. Let's get Windows 8 Enterprise loaded on it!

Installing the Windows Automated Installation Kit


  • Mount the WAIK ISO Image (filename KB3AIK_EN.iso)  with an appropriate tool, or use a proper ZIP programs to extract/mount the ISO
  • Run StartCD.exe
  • Select Menu Item <Windows AIK Setup> to install the Windows Automated Installation Kit

Creating the Windows To-Go Stick


  • Remember to location of the downloaded Windows 8 Enterprise ISO Image

  • Please mount the ISO Image with an appropriate tool, or use a proper ZIP programs to extract/mount the ISO .

·        You will then find the file called install.wim in the   \sources folder on the mounted ISO image; let's assume, as in my case this is then drive E: ;  so this will then be E:\sources

·        Assuming that F: is my USB stick (this drive name will be different for you , so please adjust appropriately !!)

Use again the above command console and execute the following commands:

·        cd "%programfiles%\Windows AIK\tools\amd64"

·        imagex.exe /apply e:\sources\install.wim 1 F:\

Now wait a while until the program ImageX has extracted in the Installation onto the USB disk

·        bcdboot.exe F:\Windows /s F:

Here is a Screenshot of my installation:

For your convenience just put the Visual Studio ISO image (see above) onto the USB drive; for example into a directory like\kits

Congratulations ! You can now  try to boot your new Windows-To-Go stick!

If you are interested to learn more about Windows-To-Go then please visit:

Continue the configurations on your USB device

·        The next step is to that you boot the stick

Note: check the installation manual of your computer in order to learn how you boot from an USB disk .

·        The first boot will get all your devices ready,

·        There is one restart needed, just watch out that you then boot again from the stick.

·        After the reboot you need to accept the license terms and then you go into personalizing your PC, aka:

o   giving it a computer name,

o   Define a logon user  - here you can use a Microsoft ID as the logon account (my recommendation, if you want to get the benefits of all the new services like XBOX Music, Windows 8 App Store, etc ) or go with a local user first

·        Then you can logon for the first time…

Note: Please be aware that there are some further settings that you need to do manually, like keyboard layout and your timezone .

Installing Visual Studio 2012 Express

Mount the VS Express ISO file that you have copied (see above) to:\kits, this can be done within  Windows 8 by a double click ! This will mount the ISO file with a new drive letter.

On the mounted disk to run for the filewin8express_full.exe

Note: If you run,  like I do,  in the error below,

then there is one more trick we have to do, see below, otherwise continue to install Visual Studio.

TRICK: For some USB Disks, like the one I use, there is one trick that we have to implement, because Visual Studio cannot be installed on a removable media.

Please do this then :

·        Open the explorer

·        Right-click on Computer

·        Select Manage to get into the "Computer Management"

·        Select Disk Management

·        Select Action->Create VHD

·        Add a couple of information, use my settings below:

·        Select the newly created disk and initialize it with the standard setting….

·        The last steps are now to create a simple volume, and assign a drive letter, my example is B:

·        You should then see this disk in the disk management like my example:

Note: after a reboot this Virtual hard disk needs to be attached again. He easiest way to do this is that you find the Virtual Hard Disk file and mount it with a right mouse click

Note: You can ignore the warning.

Continue to install Visual Studio and select a folder on the newly created disk, the warning is then gone

Now install  VisualStudio with the standard settings

·     After a successful installation please launch VisualStudio.

·        You now can register yourself online and get a free product key, follow the guidance within Visual Studio, if you skip this step, your product will expire in 30 days….

·        Then there is another license that you need to acquire, the so called developer license, for this you need to sign in with your Microsoft ID in order to get this license. Please follow the guidance within Visual Studio:

Enable Windows Store on your Windows-To-Go Stick

One of the restrictions that is applied to Windows To Go machines is that the Windows Store is disabled by default.

Here is how you can enable it.

You need to do this through local group policies. Please follow these steps:

1. As our environment here is not connected to a domain, we will use gpedit.msc for the local Group Policy Editor.

2. Go to Computer Configuration/Administrative templates\Windows Components\Store.

Go to the “Allow Store to install apps on Windows To Go workspaces” policy.

3. Enable the Group Policy. The important thing to notice are the supported Operating Systems.

4. Hit Apply.

You can then apply the group policy on the computer by running gpudpate /force in the command prompt for the changes to apply.

And you are good to go.

Have fun with your Windows 8 Windows-To-Go Stick !


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