Ever since the developer preview edition of Windows 8 became available late last year, one of the key highlights of the upcoming OS was the ability to create a bootable USB thumb drive with Windows 8 and be able to run the OS off the thumb drive. What’s more, unlike the quirky workarounds required to create an equivalent for Windows 7 and then needing to cross fingers if it would work properly, Windows 8 on the move is quite adaptable to various systems and will come with a proper tool (on the Windows 8 Enterprise edition) to crank out a portable Windows 8 drive.
This is the new Windows To Go feature and we caught a neat overview of it, including a surprising resume capability when the drive was dislodged from the port - all this and more while we attended Microsoft’s TechEd Europe 2012 over at Amsterdam. So check out this video if you haven’t yet caught it:-
Now before we get into further details, we share with you more on why this option came about. It’s more than just making a convenient, portable and bootable Windows device.
The key goal for Windows to Go (WTG) is to create a mobile work space within an organization (access corporate workspace, execute applications and store/retrieve documents), without requiring a fixed computing asset tied to each employee.
Given the right provisions, it allows enterprises to provide a full corporate work environment that is completely separate from the host machine and is a non virtualized environment - all this bootable off a USB drive. Throw in enterprise management tools to govern group domain policies like Active Directory or Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM), and you’ll be able to log into your corporate network from almost any location or system. Not much information was made available if this solution can work outside of a Microsoft back-end administration at this point of time.
Traditionally, you would have to rely on a virtualized solution that would require the host PC to have the right configuration and software. Furthermore, supporting such an infrastructure is either expensive for the company or too troublesome to manage for end-users. Not to mention, the bandwidth required to have a reasonable experience.
With WTG, you get a fully usable system-on-disk kind of solution - minus the hardware needed to run the operating system. Here are some scenarios where WTG would be of high value:-