Skip to main content

Windows 8 To Go, Or how to test Windows 8 without installing it on your PC

29.Feb: Working also with the new Consumer Preview!!!
Lots of new cool features are coming with the new version of  Windows, and it might be interesting to test it out now, even if it’s just an developer preview version that are out now. Of course you can try it out virtual (and if you have Windows 8 installed you can use the Hyper-V role to test out..eh, okay, that’s one of the new features in Windows 8). But it’s always better to test out new operation system on actual hardware. So this would ordinary lead up to dual booting operating systems (Windows 8 are not stable or feature rich enough to be you only operation yet, maybe that will change in the beta release) or changing hard disk. But one new cool feature that you can use without actually installing the operating system is the “Windows 8 To Go”


With “Windows 8 To Go” you just create a USB stick or disk with the entire operation system and boot from it. So how can we do this? It might look like there will be graphical user interface on the Windows Server “8” to just create it in some future build, but for now it’s hardcore commando line work.

To start you need space so at least a 32GB stick is recommended. If you have the possibility to use a USB 3 stick this will affect the speed immensely. Remember USB3 stick will work in USB2 as well. And it could be a USB disk if you don’t have large sticks.

Before we start we need the Windows 8 iso file, and a tool to mount it. Then we need the tool imagex.exe from the “Windows automated installation kit”, if you have Waik installed somewhere you can just copy the imagex.exe file.

1.       Start the command prompt as administrator

2.       Type inn “diskpart” and press enter

3.       Type inn “list disk” and press enter

4.       Find what disk number there is on the disk that should be used as “To Go” disk

5.       Type inn «select disk #» in my case I use «select disk 2» and press enter

6.       Type inn «Clean» and press enter to clean up the disk (deletes everything)

7.       Type inn «create partition primary» and press enter

8.       Type inn «format fs=ntfs quick» and press enter

9.       Type inn «active» and press enter

10.   Type inn «exit» and press enter

Now it’s time to mount the Windows 8 ISO file and use imagex to apply it. In my example I will assume that imagex are located in “c:\tools\imagex.exe” and that the ISO are mounted as” f:\”. The path to the Windows installation will then be “f:\sources\install.wim” and my USB have the letter “E:”

11.   Type inn «c:\tools\imagex.exe  /apply f:\sources\install.wim 1 e:\» and press enter

                                  Doing this on my USB2 drive will take some time

The last step is to configure the boot record on the USB device. This is done with the bcdboot.exe utility that are built-in in Windows 7

12.   Type inn «bcdboot.exe e:\windows /s e: » and press enter

Remember to change the f:\ to your ISO mount device, c:\tools to where you have image.exe file located and e:\ to what station letter the USB device are mounted with.

Have a great time exploring Windows 8 J

Popular posts from this blog

Changing Windows product key (license) for a MDT OS deployment task

Creating a new OS deployment task in MDT you will be asked to specify product key


That’s easy enough, but what if you type in the wrong key or just want to change it (add it) later? You might even have gotten a new MAK.

That is not as easy, you cannot do it from the graphical interface, you have to do it from one of the configuration files. Well you might to it from graphical interface by typing it in every time deploying a computer gets deployed but that is not a great solution.

MDT - The task sequence has been suspended. LiteTouch is trying to install applications

Every now and then I get this error message when fuelling a computer with MDT:
"The task sequence has been suspended. LiteTouch is trying to install applications. This cannot be performed in Windows PE."

How to get and use the Windows key from UEFI/BIOS

I found myself in the situation that I needed to get the Windows key out from the ACPI in the UEFI bios and preferable get to use it in a task sequence in MDT.

There are different ways of doing this, but I wanted to do this with little code and easy to understand.
There is a nice tool created to get the key on github, created by Christian Korneck, called get_win81key. This tool gives you the key in plane text. You can get it
HERE: https://github.com/christian-korneck/get_win8key


If I were supposed to do this manually, I now would just take that key and type it in with slmgr command or in the GUI. But I want to do this within a task in MDT.
Testing a couple of solutions without using the get_win8key with my great scripting guru colleague HÃ¥vard ( www.grondal.me) and figuring out that it cannot be done with default powershell stuff, it needs more code. Therefore, we quickly figured out that some use of the “get_win8key” files is the easiest way, but we need a way of setting the output fro…