The Easiest Way to Create a Bootable Windows To Go Drive

Apr 07, 2019

So, I've been having some trouble creating Windows To Go drives lately. Firstly, the built-in creator is present only on enterprise editions of Windows, and worse still, it only works with very few drives.

Secondly, while Rufus has an option to create Windows To Go drives, it refuses to do so if your drive doesn't have the "fixed" attribute set - although in my experience, this isn't required at all for a functioning Windows To Go install.

Lastly, while a manual method does exist, it's way too cumbersome for me.

So, I've created a tiny script called wtg-create to automate the process. Here's how it works:

  1. Download the script files from here (github mirror), and extract them.
  2. Rename your windows iso to windows.iso and place it in the same directory as the script and all the files that come with it.
  3. Even if you don't have the entire ISO, the script will work just fine with an install.wim image which is typically found in the sources directory of the ISO file.
  4. Next, simply run wtg-create.cmd as an administrator and follow the onscreen instructions.
  5. That's it! Now you can boot from the drive and use it as a portable Windows install.

The script makes use of 7-zip and the ImageX utility from the Windows ADK. The default download contains the x86 version of both, which should work on most systems, but you can swap these executables out for different versions as per your requirements. If you don't wish to download the entire ADK, I've made the ImageX executables available for download here.

Note that Windows To Go works only with Windows 8 or newer. An ISO of any version (home, professional, etc.) will work.

The script is licensed under the MIT license, and the code is available on Github. It's been tested on Windows 10. Enjoy :)