In today’s world portability is everything. We have seen the major evolution of PDAs into tablets and smartphones and even laptops into netbooks and ultra-thin notebooks. Even the way we save things has gotten more and more portable.
In the 80s we had large 5 ½-floppy drives and tape drives as standard for mobile storage, in the 90s it was 3 3/4 –inch floppies and ZIP disks. Today the most popular format for saving files on the go is the USB flash drive.
The flash drive is not only great for word documents, music, and movies but thanks to the new technology Windows to Go it can even contain the entire Windows 8 operating system for ultra-portability that you can take with you. Although this is nothing new and this feature was present at BUILD back in September, it was notably missing in Windows Developer Preview.
The removal of Windows to Go sparked some rumors that it might only be arriving as an additional option for Windows Server 8. With Windows 8 Beta is not quite done yet, but it’s certainly worth looking forward to, just for the new features it will introduce, if nothing else. Luckily, according to the folks at WinUnleaked the newest build for Windows 8 has the feature back once again.
This likely meant that Microsoft didn’t want to release this feature on the WDP either because it was unready or they just didn’t want to deliver this tool into the hands of consumers until the BETA or even the final release.
This seems reasonable as many features were cut from the Developer Preview such as Windows Media Center, and yet we can pretty much guarantee we will see them in the BETA. With BETAs a company tries to give the user an experience as close to the commercial product as possible, in contrast the WDP was simply a ‘taste’ of Windows 8 to make us crave more.
It is also notable that Windows To Go is being targeted at IT professionals and not so much for regular individuals. The Win8 USB devices that IT professionals get to use will not only feature Windows 8 but also their data, personalized settings, and tools and applications needed for IT purposes.
I can see a ton of potential in this especially for troubleshooting hardware by allowing another way in when Windows 8 is damaged on a PC’s hard drive, etc. This could really simply a lot of IT tasks, and is a very good idea. Of course this isn’t an original idea, as similar devices have existed in the Linux/Unix world for many years in the form of bootable CDs and flash drives.
The biggest difference is that with Windows 8 you can customize the settings and experience on the drive, something you certainly can’t do with a LIVE CD of Linux.
So how does Windows To Go work when hooking it up to various machines? Basically WTG ties a bootable copy of Windows to an encrypted USB device. This device can be hooked up to any machine and run the platform but once the device is removed there is no trace left behind that the USB drive was even hooked up to the hardware at all.
I could be wrong but imagine this as a hacker tool, you use the drive to hook up to a computer that you wish to steal data from and it provides a backdoor into the machine, though I’m sure there is security parameters that make that impossible but who knows for sure.
What do you think of Windows to Go? If you are in the IT field is this a new feature that has you excited? Share your thoughts below.