Windows to Go… Going Away.

WTG.pngIn April of 2012 I was extremely excited as I walked to the stage at an event in Redmond, Washington and did my first ever presentation on Windows to Go.  I loved the idea of being able to take my installation of Windows – operating system version, applications, documents, the works – with me anywhere I went.  I have written myriad articles about it because I have had a real passion for it – not to mention the evolution of USB keys I have gone through that support it.

Windows to Go came with me to Japan twice, and allowed me to use my own hardware in lieu of selecting a corporate laptop.  It has come with me to many different sites, allowing me not only to use my own environment, but also to troubleshoot the hardware that friends and family have asked my help with.  It has traveled extensively with me, occasionally eliminating my need to bring a bulky laptop with me, where loaner hardware would be available.

The feature originally released with Windows 8 has not changed much through how many iterations (Windows 8, Windows 8.1, and 8 versions of Windows 10).  It is not a feature that Microsoft seems to have expended a lot of energy on following its release (the most current documentation lists a number of discontinued devices as available and certified (https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/deployment/planning/windows-to-go-overview).  Nonetheless it works, and has always worked very well – provided you use the appropriate hardware.  By this, I do not only mean a robust and hopefully certified USB key (I swear by my Spyrus Worksafe Pro, but have had several other keys as well).  I mean it is important that your USB port is not just a little loose, so that when your dog walks past his wagging tail jars your computer and forces a reboot (yes, that really happened to me).

Last month Microsoft announced that Windows to Go is no longer being developed, and that it will be removed from future versions of Windows.  I do not know if that means it will be gone in the Autumn 2019 release, but it is safe to say that it is heading out to pasture (See article).

I never understood people who continued to use older legacy operating systems and software, especially when the newer versions were better (or at least just as good) and available at no cost.  I remember a couple of years ago someone asked me for support on their Windows 8 device, and they really were running Windows 8; I had assumed that Windows 8.1 had replaced 100% of Windows 8 installations, but I was wrong… and when I asked why, he said to me ‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it! I like Windows 8, and I’m sticking with Windows 8.’  That was his choice and his right, even if I didn’t agree with him.

Now I sit wondering if I will be that guy in five years… “Hey, Mr. Garvis… why are you running Windows 10 v1903? Don’t you know how much better v2409 is?”  Maybe… but as long as my Spyrus Worksafe Pro is still spinning, this is my operating system and likely always will be.

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Okay, who are we kidding here? There are several ways to put Windows 10 on a USB device without having to rely on Microsoft’s sanctioned and precious red-headed stepchild.  There were ways of doing it before Windows 8, and so there will be ways of doing it after Windows to Go is completely deprecated.  Stay tuned later this autumn… because if the next version of Windows 10 truly does not include the Windows to Go Creator Tool, I will be exploring my options, and I will be discussing them in this very space.  Until then? Stay safe and patch regularly!

One thought on “Windows to Go… Going Away.

  1. Pingback: Windows to Go Lives! | The World According to Mitch

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