Create Windows-To-Go drives in a simple Factory mode

Windows To Go is a feature in Windows 8 Enterprise that allows Windows 8 Enterprise to boot and run from mass storage devices such as USB flash drives and external hard disk drives. It is a fully manageable corporate Windows 8 environment.

During a recent project we faced the need to generate hundreds of WTG drives in a short time. We evaluated USB disk duplicators such as the ILY Spartan USB duplicator ( or ). We successfully tested the 7 and 118 port versions but finally decided to just use PowerShell and a USB hub.

We used MDT 2012 Update1 for image engineering and Ben’s guidance for the Start Screen customization to generate our master image (WTGContoso.WIM). This image is customized for all WTG usage and therefore we injected all corporate supported drivers.

When the WTG image runs for the first time it will perform the same process as your normal image installation. If you provide the unattend.xml the configuration and domain join process is also automated.
There is also no need for special naming convention (lucky for us), so don’t have to mess around with naming script logic. We only ensured that Windows 8 started from a WTG stick is in a special OU that applies Group Policy with extra hardening settings.

Attached is the PowerShell script to generate multiple WTG sticks at the same time. The script will create the unattend.xml, format the WTG drive, enable BitLocker and deploy the image to the drive.

For mass production use a USB hub and add as many WTG sticks to the PC as you can. The script will build all of them in a single process. During the first boot of the WTG drive, all unattend.XML settings are applied, the host hardware is detected and all drivers are installed.

There are few script updates you need to perform for your environment:

  • Domain credentials
  • Domain join account
  • Join OU container
  • Organization and Owner
  • Timezone
  • If needed you can add a run once script.

This post was contributed by Lutz Seidemann , a Solution Architect with Microsoft Consulting Services.

The information on this site is provided "AS IS" with no warranties, confers no rights, and is not supported by the authors or Microsoft Corporation. Use of included script samples are subject to the terms specified in the Terms of Use.