Ask Paul: Is Windows To Go Coming to Windows 10 Pro?

Posted on February 10, 2017 by Paul Thurrott in Windows 10 with 12 Comments

Ask Paul: Is Windows To Go Coming to Windows 10 Pro?

As some of you may know, Windows To Go is a perk of Windows 10 Enterprise. So why is this feature available in Windows 10 Pro too?

Mike H. asks:

I was doing a clean Windows 10 (non-Insider) install, and I noticed that Windows To Go has now appeared in the Windows 10 Pro control panel.

Previously I’ve only seen Windows To Go in the Control Panel in Enterprise installs. I haven’t had a chance to test it yet (can’t find my WTG stick to be honest, might have to hunt down the back of the couch) but why would it be available unless it works?

Can you shed any light on this? I’m wondering if it properly works, if it works without an Enterprise ISO or volume license. Microsoft certainly didn’t make any announcements about it.

So. Here’s the story. After a bit of back and forth with Microsoft, I asked Rafael to look into this. And he quickly discovered what’s up. Yes, Windows To Go is now available in the Windows 10 Pro Control Panel. It’s there so that you can create Windows To Go media, as you might expect, but you do need a Windows 10 Enterprise image for it to actually work.

My guess is that Microsoft includes this in Pro now because there are environments with both Enterprise- and Pro-based PCs. But it still requires Windows 10 Enterprise in the sense that the portable, USB-based workspace you’re creating will be that version, and not Pro.

A bit more info for those not familiar with this feature…

I’ve not really written about Windows To Go since my switch to over two years ago because it’s a business/enterprise technology. But as a refresher, Windows To Go is a feature that lets you install Windows 10 to a USB stick instead of a normal PC. Then, you can use this USB stick to boot into your newly-portable Windows 10 environment from any PC.

When I first began testing Windows To Go years ago, I found the technology to be dodgy and hard to use. At the beginning, it required very specific USB sticks, mostly because for performance reasons, and only some highly-specialized devices were certified for this use.

As it turns out, this is still the case: Windows To Go only works with a short list of compatible drives, including the IronKey Workspace W700, IronKey Workspace W500, IronKey Workspace W300,Kingston DataTraveler Workspace for Windows To Go, Spyrus Portable Workplace, Spyrus Secure Portable Workplace,Spyrus Worksafe, Super Talent Express RC4 for Windows To Go and Super Talent Express RC8 for Windows To Go, andWestern Digital My Passport Enterprise.

But it also still requires Windows 10 Enterprise (or Education), which pretty much limits this portable Windows 10 environment to businesses, if not very large businesses and educational institutions.


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