What is Windows To Go?
Windows To Go is a new feature for enterprise users of Windows® 8 that enables users to boot a full version of Windows from external USB drives on host PCs. Additional details can be found in this Windows To Go Feature Overview.
Who should use Windows To Go
Windows To Go was designed for enterprise usage and targets scenarios such as continuance of operations; contractors; managed free seating; travelling workers; and work from home. Windows To Go is only available to Software Assurance customers as an Enterprise feature.
How can Windows To Go be deployed in an organization?
Windows To Go can be deployed using standard Windows deployment tools. Such tools include DISM and ImageX, but I have been told that the best guidance for the enterprise is provided in the Windows To Go Step by Step article.
The prerequisites for deploying Windows To Go are:
- A Windows To Go recommended USB drive to provision; See the list of currently available USB drives at Hardware considerations for Windows To Go
- A Windows 8 Enterprise image (see below)
- A Windows 8 Enterprise host PC that can do the provisioning
You can use a Windows PowerShell script to target several drives and scale your deployment for a large number of Windows To Go drives. You can also use a USB duplicator to duplicate a Windows To Go drive after it has been provisioned if you are creating a large number of drives. See the Windows To Go Step by Step article on the TechNet wiki for a walkthrough of the drive creation process.
What are the licensing requirements for Windows To Go?
Windows To Go is an Enterprise Feature which requires either Windows Client OS with Software Assurance or a VDA Subscription.
Windows To Go allows organization to support the use of privately owned PCs at the home or office with more secure access to their organizational resources. With Windows To Go use rights under Software Assurance, an employee will be able to use Windows To Go on any company PC licensed with Software Assurance as well as from their home PC. Additionally, through a new companion device license for Software Assurance, employees will be able to use Windows To Go on their personal computers at work. For customers who do not have Windows Client OS with Software Assurance, a VDA Subscription is another way to license Windows To Go.
How Can I Get The Windows 8 Enterprise Image Needed to Build Windows To Go?
If your organization has a current Microsoft Enterprise Agreement with Software Assurance for Windows Client devices, then you can download a full copy from the Microsoft Volume Licensing website. Otherwise, you may also download the Windows 8 Enterprise Evaluation for testing.
Additional Notes & Resources for Windows To Go
- A detailed overview of Windows To Go features and processes is available on the Windows To Go: Feature Overview page.
- Customers may procure USB Flash drives* directly from one of the vendors listed on this TechNet page, following the ordering instructions on the respective websites (additional Windows To Go drive vendors will be added to TechNet as they become available).
- When provisioning Windows To Go: Follow the required steps for downloading the Windows 8 Enterprise Evaluation ISO file (note that Once the Windows 8 Enterprise Evaluation is activated, you have 90 days to use the software).
- When provisioning Windows To Go, make sure you are running Windows 8 RTM Enterprise Edition or Windows 8 Enterprise Evaluation on the PC from which you are provisioning Windows To Go.
- Detailed step-by-step instructions for creating Windows To Go drives are available on TechNet.
*Note: Some of these USB Drives are available to order directly from Zones
Special Thanks to my colleague Paz Efrat for this summary