Windows to Go is a version of the OS that can be booted from USB devices. It’s designed as an enterprise tool, but it showed up in Win10 Pro Version 1607.
Also, Windows BitLocker is an easy tool for encrypting vulnerable flash drives and other removable storage.
Access — and run — Windows via WtG
Recently, reviewing the options in Win10 1607 Pro’s Control Panel, I was surprised to see Windows to Go (WtG) listed. It was not included in my last Pro version of Win10 1511, so this appears to be something new. I was curious about this version of WtG because I’d run across it once before — more on that in a minute.
Despite being include in Win10 Pro, Windows to Go is not intended as a consumer feature. It’s designed to let IT departments set up bootable Windows environments on USB-attached storage devices. Think of it as a dual-boot system where one of the start-up drives is a thumb drive or USB-attached hard drive.
Officially, WtG is licensed under Microsoft’s corporate volume activation. According to a TechNet article, “Windows to Go: Feature overview,” WtG runs on a hardware platform as a completely separate entity. Once booted from a USB-storage device, the OS has no access to a PC’s internal disks. It also doesn’t use the hardware-based Trusted Platform Module, system hibernation, or the Windows Recovery Environment. And you can’t refresh or reset a WtG setup.
A WtG drive can be used on different hardware platforms; when booting for the first time on a PC, it typically finds and loads all the drivers needed to start operating.
On my Win10 Pro system, clicking Windows to Go in Control Panel launches a simple dialog box that asks for the bootable drive and an “Enterprise” image. For corporate settings, Microsoft offers the Windows Imaging and Configuration Designer (more info) for building custom images. But there are also third-party apps such as WinToUSB (info) that have WtG-creation capabilities.