Microsoft detailed and demonstrated Windows To Go on Thursday.
The new feature will allow Windows 8 users to boot the operating system from USB on any other PC. Microsoft is targeting big business and enterprise with Windows To Go, a perfect market for such a feature. Windows To Go works by effectively ghosting a Windows 8 install onto a USB drive. Windows 8 users will be able to take their entire install with files and data and run it on a PC without needing to install it on the host PC. It’s simply a plug and play method.
Windows To Go works with both USB 2.0 and 3.0 devices, with the latter providing improved performance. Microsoft shared some technical details in a session at BUILD earlier today. Manan Kakkar detailed several of the points in a blog post on Thursday:
- Windows 8 will default boot to a Windows To Go drive if one is inserted into a system
- Core drivers will be bundled in Windows To Go to avoid situations where Windows Update is unavailable
- It will support USB 2.0 and 3.0
- There is no Hibernate mode in Windows To Go
- Windows To Go will operate on legacy BIOS and new UEFI firmware
- Crash and Dump will be available for Windows To Go
Microsoft has also considered the potential issues if a USB drive is removed from the system whilst it is in use. Windows To Go will freeze the instance for 60 seconds to give the end user enough time to replace the USB device. Windows 8 will then resume the instance gracefully. If an end user fails to replace the device then the system will shut down after 60 seconds.
The addition of such a feature in Windows will ease document compatibility and application feature differences for information workers. It appears as though Microsoft is targeting the feature at Enterprise customers who may have several varied uses for portable versions of Windows. IT professionals will welcome the feature as it will empower them to quickly boot a copy of Windows 8 to diagnose any existing problems on the local PC installation. Information workers will be able to power up a copy of Windows 8 on a client’s PC with their own documents and workspace to securely and easily share any presentations or company data.
Check out an impressive demo of Windows To Go in action below.