Saturday, December 17, 2011

Windows 8 boot from USB

Step by Step: Windows 8 To Go on a 16 GB USB memory stick

The steps of creating a USB boot it is almost the same for booting from vhd which I have cover in my earlier post on booting windows server from vhd. The only difference I see when you want to create the windows 8 to go is it need the bcdboot version. I will cover some of the differences later on.
Below will be the steps of preparing the USB stick, I haven't got chances to test this on 8gb but I believe it will work. The only difference here is I didn't assign any drive for the USB stick, but in VHD format you need to do so.

1)diskpart
2)select disk 1
3)select partition 1
4)delete partition
5)create partition primary
6)format fs=ntfs quick
7)active
8)exit 

You can use list disk to query all drives, and list partition shows all partitions on a drive. The select command selects the drive and the required partition. Above I used disk 1 and then I deleted an existing partition on the memory stick. Afterward I created a primary partition and formats it with ntfs. The active command made the stick bootable.

After terminating diskpart, we need to copy Windows files to the USB thumb drive using imagex.exe. This can be done, using the following command in a administrative console window.

imagex.exe /apply e:\vm\install.wim 1 e:\

Here I launched imagex.exe from the currect directory of my Windows 8 drive. E: was the folder (containing the setup media with the file install.wim) and E: was the drive letter of my USB memory stick. The number 1 defines, that only on Windows 8 edition should be copied.

After you have completed the neccessary steps, you will need to perform the last steps as shown as below.The command what it does is to copy the boot information to the USB stick. The only difference I see in the command compare to the previous version, it don't have the last parameter which I have highlighted in red as below.

bcdboot.exe e:\windows /s e: /f ALL

The next step will be restart your computer and select the USB boot during the startup by pressing F1( this will be depending on your hardware manufacturer).
Overall I see windows 8 to go is awesome, I have try to unplug the USB stick drive. I expect the machine to crash, but indeed it didn't happen. When I plug in back the windows resume. I have try this by opening a MP3. But for deployment purpose, I would see this need to be run on USB 3 because USB 2.0 is too slow.

I am interested in hearing your feedback, so that I can improve my articles and learning resources for you.

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