Windows 8.1: Supporting WindowsToGO

Provisioning and configuring of Windows To Go is a subject of 70-687 exam, but 70-688 touches upon supporting it. To create Windows To Go workspace you have to have Windows 8.1 Enterprise which shipped with Windows To Go Creator Wizard. It is also requires certified Windows To Go USB flash drive (list can be found here). It was a great disappointment to me when I was not able to use generic/non certified drive to create WTG workspace, but as I understand you can get away with any drive which reports itself as a fixed disk.

Key facts to be aware with regards to WTG:

  • You can create WTG workspace only from a Windows 8 Enterprise edition machine and Enterprise edition installation files are required for this (ISO/DVD/WIM)
  • You can use customized images
  • USB drive must be at least 32 GB or larger + WTG certified
  • You can’t use TPM with WTG. This is simple: TPM protects specific computer (bound to chip inside of it), but WTG intended for use on various machines. But you can use BitLocker + startup password.
  • Hibernate & Sleep are disabled by default, but can be enabled via group policy
  • Windows RE/resetting/refreshing are not available for WTG. Problematic drives have to be reimaged.
  • If WTG has Windows 8.1 Enterprise installed on it Windows Store apps can roam between multiple PCs with WTG drive.

Key facts about WTG host computer (one you started with WTG drive):

  • Must have hardware certified to work with Windows 7/8
  • Must not be Windows RT or Mac
  • Should be considered as temporary host
  • Meet addtional requirements: USB boot support, CPU architecture have to support WTG image architecture, USB 2.0 port or newer and no USB hub, meet minimum requirements of Windows 8 (1 GHz CPU, 2 GB RAM, DirectX 9 graphics card with WDDM 1.2 or newer driver).

Probably most valuable for certification exam is to wrap your head around this table which simply tells which image you need to have to for specific firmware/processor architecture.

WTG hosting requirements - image compatibility

It is worth noting that legacy 64-bit BIOS machine looks like maximum compatibility solution in the table above.

Somewhat unexpectedly WTG startup options located under Hardware And Sound > Devices And Printers in Control Panel.

WTG startup options

It is not so important for real life as you either use search to reach anything or CLI commands but exam may ask you about this.

There is some group policies related to WTG but I will describe them in separate post later.

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