Windows 8 forum


Can I install Windows 8 on a USB Flash Drive?

by markw10 / March 17, 2013 12:45 PM PDT

I own an Acer laptop that is runing Windows 7. I love Windows 7 and finally made the move from Windows XP but I really like Windows 8. Yet I'm nowhere near ready to make it my only OS. I know one possible option is a dual boot system. If I need to go that route I may be posting again in the future to find out how I can make a dual boot Windows 7/Windows 8 system. Yet I like trying different OS's and already have two USB sticks that are ChromeOS and Ubuntu Linux. I purchase 4GB flash drives and buy the fast drives.
The question is is it possible to install and then boot from a Windows 8 USB Flash Drive? If so, how would I go about doing this? Also, what is the minimum size USB Flash Drive that could be used? I want at least some room to work with and install apps but it won't be my primary OS. If it's not possible to do this how would I go about making a dual boot system? Already I have a 500GB HD with Windows 7 installed but I believe I'd have to repartition and hope to avoid having to reinstall Windows 7 since I have so many installed apps.
Thanks for help with the above.

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All Answers

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Simple answer - no can do, but you can...
by wpgwpg / March 17, 2013 1:04 PM PDT

You can have multiple OSes on one computer. I have XP, 32 bit Windows 7 Home Premium, 64 bit Windows 7 Home Premium, 32 bit Windows 7 Professional, and Windows 8 Pro all on one computer with multiple boot. You can make a DVD or flash drive with Ubuntu, and you can make a bootable XP CD with UBCD (Universal Boot CD). Windows 8 WILL make a repair volume on a flash drive, but it's nowhere near a full Windows 8 OS. If you want to get into virtualization, you can do all kinds of things, but the ones I'm familiar with (XP Mode, Hyper-V, and Oracle Virtual Box) all require having files on the hard drive. Since hard drive space is so cheap these days, there's no reason to have to fool around with putting things on a flash drive except for portability.
There may be others I haven't gotten into, but the above gives you LOTS of flexibility. Grin

Good luck.

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Yes you can.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / March 17, 2013 1:50 PM PDT
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Windows to go
by tlaverick / March 20, 2013 5:21 AM PDT
In reply to: Yes you can.


Windows to go is locked down to a handful of the windows 8 users. It is not part of the Windows 8 Standard package. It is reserved to Windows 8 Pro and Enterprise only.


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No Problem.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / March 20, 2013 6:08 AM PDT
In reply to: Windows to go

Use the anytime upgrade or just get the right license.

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by tlaverick / March 20, 2013 10:10 AM PDT
In reply to: No Problem.

You are correct but for the common person $200 + USD is not an option.

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Then why do they need the USB feature?
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / March 20, 2013 10:14 AM PDT
In reply to: True

For much less they can leave it on the HDD.

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Problem is that running two OS's on the same hard drive
by Lerianis6 / June 9, 2013 4:50 PM PDT

Becomes a problem and is slower than running the OS's from separate, discrete drives.

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Re: running from the same hard drive
by Kees_B Forum moderator / June 9, 2013 5:01 PM PDT

I doubt if there is any difference in speed. Why do you think so?
And I'm sure it doesn't give any problems. Why do you think so?


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Bob, this article is for pre-release
by wpgwpg / March 20, 2013 10:50 AM PDT
In reply to: Yes you can.

I looked at this article but it talks about downloading pre-release stuff. Verrry interesting! This comes as new news to me. I have the Windows 8 Pro system installed, but when I type in Windows to go in the Run box, all I get is a little menu to change boot options. In looking at my Help & Support text it refers me to a technet article that says you need to use a wizard that's only available to Enterprise users. I don't believe it's in my Pro version, and if it is, it's sure not documented anywhere I can find. I also read that you have to have a Windows 8 to go certified flash drive, saying any other flash drive is not supported. This certainly doesn't sound like something a non-enterprise user could avail himself of. Correct me if I'm wrong - I'd love to be wrong about that, and I'm very curious to know how they deal with the driver issue. I.e. does it only work with identically configured systems? That's always been the case in the past when you move a hard drive.

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by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / March 20, 2013 10:52 AM PDT

I have not found a good reason to go to a seminar about fielding Windows 8. All my clients are skipping this one.

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Good for your clients! :-)
by wpgwpg / March 20, 2013 11:04 AM PDT
In reply to: Sorry.

Bob, it sounds like you have some smart clients! I only have Windows 8 on my test computer, but I do volunteer work at local senior centers where a significant no. of students are coming to class with new laptops with Windows 8 pre-installed, so we're gearing up to teach seminars. If Windows to go is a viable option for our students, I'd like to gear up for it. However for what I can see here and now, it doesn't seem that's the case. If I'm right about that, then for all practical purposes the answer to the op's question is no unless you're an enterprise user.

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Let's read Tom's hardware and a discussion about it.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / March 20, 2013 11:07 AM PDT
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