Windows To Go Lets You Run Windows 8 From A Flash Drive

Windows 8 running on a MacBook Air

Yes, you’re seeing Windows 8 running on a MacBook Air. And no, it’s not Boot Camp at work here. Instead, the operating system is running entirely from a high capacity USB flash drive, made possible by Windows to Go:

Windows To Go is a new feature in Windows 8 that enables enterprise administrators to create USB drives containing complete, managed Windows images that users can use to boot and run Windows on any Windows 7 or Windows 8 capable computer. Windows To Go makes it possible for employees to use a managed device whether they work from home, a client office or in a free seating environment.

While it’s still unclear whether the feature will be available to all users or only enterprise customers, the description above seems to hint at the latter.

According to Manan Kakkar, who was present when the feature was demonstrated at the BUILD conference last Thursday:

  • Windows To Go supports both USB 2.0 and 3.0
  • A Windows 8 machine will automatically boot to a Windows To Go drive if one is detected
  • It won’t be able to hibernate
  • It’ll work on legacy BIOS and UEFI firmware
  • Crash and dump will be available for Windows To Go instances

Also interesting: Windows 8 will resume working from the last point if the USB flash drive is plugged in again within 60 seconds after it’s removed. Users with kids or obnoxious co-workers should appreciate this.

See it in action:

Photo credit: Sasha Goldshtein

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