Clone Windows 7/8/10 to USB Drive for Portable Windows Workspace

May 18, 2018

Want a portable Windows workspace and take it everywhere? Refer to this article and learn to clone Windows to USB drive with a step by step guide.

Reasons to clone Windows to USB Drive

In the work and daily life, the computer is increasingly common and becomes a good helper. You can use it to save your pictures, files and folders, edit files or folders, do your work, and so on.

But it’s not portable for you to take. For example, if you do not finish your work at office, you cannot bring the computer home. It’s too large and heavy. And you are not allowed to take public computer to your own home. In this case, you can either finish your work at office first or do your work at the next day, which is annoying. You may want a portable Windows workspace, which can be used on different devices.

In addition, you may want to bring your own device (BYOD). In your own device, you can enjoy the customized settings, which may not have in a different computer. Also, you can use and edit all your files, folders, programs at any time.

Windows To Go for Windows 8/10

To satisfy user’s needs, Windows released a new feature named Windows To Go in Windows 8 Enterprise and it was included in Windows 8.1 Enterprise, Windows 10 Enterprise and Windows 10 Education.

Windows To Go is a type of Bring Your Own Computer (BYOC) technology, which allows you to clone Windows to USB drive and boot Windows 8/8.1/10 from USB flash drive or external hard drive on the compatible computer at any time. It requires Microsoft-certified USB flash drive (at least 32GB), such as IronKey Workspace, Kingston DataTraveler Workplace, etc.

Windows To Go Workspace behaves like an installation of Windows with a few exceptions. These exceptions are listed in the following:

  • Internal disks are offline by default.

  • Trusted Platform Module (TPM) is not used. TPM is tied to a specific computer while Windows To Go will move between computers.

  • Hibernate is disabled by default.

  • Windows Recovery Environment is not available.

  • Refreshing or resetting a Windows To Go workspace is not supported.

  • Upgrading a Windows To Go workspace is not supported.

How to clone Windows 8/10 to USB drive?

In the following, I’ll take Windows 10 Windows To Go workspace as an example and tell you how to copy operating system to flash drive.

Step 1. Connect a certified USB drive to your computer (USB3.0 is the prior choice).

Step 2. Type windows to go in the search box and open Windows To Go Creator Wizard.

Step 3. In the pop-up window, choose the prepared USB thumb drive.

Select Prepared USB

Step 4. At the Choose a Windows image interface, click Add search location if there is no Enterprise image below and then find the specified image and hit Next.

Add Search Location

Step 5. In the Set a BitLocker password (optional) page, type your password twice. If you do not need a password, you can click Skip.

Bitlocker Passward

Step 6. Click Create to start the creation of Windows 10 To Go workspace. As the prompt shown in the following picture, your USB drive will be reformatted. Thus, if there is something important, you need to backup USB drive first with USB automatic backup software.

Create

Step 7. Choose to boot your computer from Windows 10 portable USB drive or not and then click Save and restart, or Save and close.

Choose Boot Option

Note:

  • When you boot a Windows To Go workspace on a host computer for the first time, the workspace will detect all hardware and automatically install the needed hardware and driver.

  • The applications that you want to use in the workspace should support roaming because some applications bind to the computer hardware will cause difficulties if the workspace is being used with multiple host computers.

Windows To Go alternative

Windows To Go workspace is a very useful feature, but it’s only available on Windows Enterprise, Windows 8.1 Enterprise, Windows 10 Enterprise and Windows 10 Education. And it requires a certified USB. At the same time, the USB drive must be equal to or larger than 32GB.

If your computer is other editions or you are running Windows 7, you cannot use this feature. Besides, you can create Windows To Go workspace with neither non-certified USB drive nor USB smaller than 32GB.

Thus, some users want to find similar software, which can clone Windows 7 to USB as well as clone Windows 8/8.1/10 to USB drive. You can use free Windows To Go Creator AOMEI Partition Assistant. It allows you to create Windows To Go workspace on all editions of Windows 7/8/8.1/10. And you can run this operation with a non-certified USB drive. At the same time, you just need a 16GB USB.

Alternative way to clone Windows 7/8/10 to USB drive

How to copy operating system to flash drive?

Step 1. Insert the USB drive into your computer and make sure it can be detected.

Step 2. Download AOMEI Partition Assistant, install and launch it.

Step 3. Click Windows To Go Creator at the left panel.

Windows to Go Creator

Step 4. In the pop-up window, click Browse to select the installation file and then click Proceed to continue.

Select Installation Files

Note: AOMEI Partition Assistant will detect your USB drive and select it automatically. If the USB drive is not selected, you can click Refresh.

Step 5. Now, you will be asked to backup files first if there is something important. If you already have a backup, click Yes to move on.

Step 6.Restart your computer, change boot order in BIOS and make sure the USB drive is the first option.

How to clone Windows to USB drive?

If you do not have ISO file, you can try this way.

Step 1. Click Windows To Go Creator at the left panel.

Step 2. In the new window, select the prepared USB drive.

Step 3. Click Apply and then Proceed to start the pending operation.

Step 4. Restart your computer and set boot priority for USB drive in BIOS.

If you want to clone Windows 7/8/10 to USB hard drive, you should make sure the external USB hard drive is formatted with MBR partition scheme. And then, you need to create a system partition and a boot partition NTFS. At the same time, the system partition must be FAT32 and the boot partition must be NTFS format. At last, you just need to follow the above steps and repeat again.

The way forward

If your computer is Windows 8/8.1 Enterprise or Windows 10 Enterprise and Education, you can use the built-in feature Windows To Go and clone Windows to USB drive. Before you start any operation, you need to prepare a 32GB certified USB drive or larger.

If your computer does not support Windows To Go, you can use free AOMEI Partition Assistant. With it, you can create a portable Windows workspace on all versions of Windows operating system, including Windows 7/8/8.1/10. And a non-certified USB is enough for you. Besides, you just need a 16GB USB drive.

AOMEI Partition Assistant is still a partition manager. You can use it to partition your hard drive, such as, resize partition, move partition, convert MBR to GPT disk, and so on. Also, you can use it to fix the left problems on Windows built-in tool, such as extend volume is disabled, virtual disk service error the volume size is too big, convert to basic disk greyed out, etc.

AOMEI Partition Assistant can satisfy the basic needs of the majority of users. But if you want to more advanced features, you can upgrade to AOMEI Backupper Professional.