Install Windows To Go on Removable USB Drive
Windows To Go installer won't allow you to use most USB thumdrives, because they appear as removable USB mass storage devices to Windows. Also, Windows To Go in default configuration won't work properly on the removable USB thumbdrives.
Using FlashBoot Free, it's possible bypass Windows To Go installer restrictions and install Windows To Go to any USB thumbdrive. Also FlashBoot will make removable USB thumbdrive always appear as fixed to Windows To Go.
1. Windows To Go on removable USB thumbrive installer error
When you are trying to use Windows To Go feature of Windows 11/10/8.x Enterprise with your USB thumbdrive, the following error occurs in the Windows To Go installer:
Choose a drive that meets the required hardware specifications.”
2. Theory of Fixed vs Removable USB devices
All USB mass storage devices appear to Windows either as fixed or removable.
Usually external USB HDDs are fixed and USB thumbdrives are removable.
Whether the particular device is fixed or removable is determined by driver. Usually it's USBSTOR.SYS and it queries device itself to get removable/fixed flag.
The removable media device setting is a flag contained within the SCSI Inquiry Data response to the SCSI Inquiry command. Bit 7 of byte 1 (indexed from 0) is the Removable Media Bit (RMB). A RMB set to zero indicates that the device is not a removable media device. A RMB of one indicates that the device is a removable media device. Drivers obtain this information by using the StorageDeviceProperty request. http://www.microsoft.com/whdc/archive/usbfaq.mspx
3. Why Windows To Go installer rejects removable USB devices
Originally, Windows was designed to run exclusively from fixed HDDs.
Later, when Windows To Go feature was implemented by Microsoft, it has been restricted to “certified list” list of USB mass storage devices which are both:
First limitation exists to make sure that Windows to Go works fast enough to be on par with regular Windows installation (i.e. for optimum user experience).
Second limitation is due to compatibility requirements of Windows components, such as Kernel, Filesystem Drivers and Windows Restore.
4. Forcing Windows To Go installation on removable USB drive
However it's possible to circumvent Windows To Go installer restrictions and install Windows To Go on any USB mass storage device regardless of whether it's fixed or removable, USB 3.0 or USB 2.0.
Also, by using some clever tricks to tweak registry and drivers, it's possible to make initial (boot) USB storage device always appear as fixed to Windows To Go.
Our tool FlashBoot Free will automatically handle all this magic for you.
5. Using FlashBoot to install Windows To Go to any USB device
FlashBoot Free can be run under any version of Windows, starting from Windows XP, not necessarily under the version of Windows being installed to the target USB thumbdrive.
This example demonstrates installation of full-featured Windows 8.1 to bootable USB thumbdrive in BIOS mode.
1) Run FlashBoot Free, click Next