How to clone existing Windows to USB or Thunderbolt drive as a Windows To Go Workspace?

Updated on March 22, 2021 by Admin to Clone Windows to USB Drive

As a professional Windows To Go Creator, WinToUSB is the world's first software that can help us clone the existing Windows OS installation (Windows 7 or later) to a USB or Thunderbolt drive as portable Windows, and this guide will help you explain how it works. Please read this guide carefully before performing the clone operation.

 

Tutorial to clone existing Windows installation to USB or Thunderbolt drive as portable Windows with WinToUSB.

Step 1. Connect the USB or Thunderbolt drive to the computer with an installed copy of WinToUSB, then run WinToUSB.

Step 2. Click the System Clone Icon button, then click "Next".

Physical To USB icon

Step 3. Select the destination USB or Thunderbolt drive in the drop-down list. If the USB or Thunderbolt drive is not correctly recognized by WinToUSB, you need to click the Refresh Icon button for the program to recognize the USB or Thunderbolt drive.

select USB drive

Step 4. A pop-up will appear asking you if you want to format it to continue, select the partition scheme you want to use and click "Yes" to continue.

select partition scheme for Windows To Go

Tips:
  1. The "MBR for BIOS", "GPT for UEFI" and "MBR for BIOS and UEFI" options will cause the destination drive to be formatted, so all data on the drive will be destroyed.
  2. If you choose "Keep the existing partition scheme", you need to manually prepare the partitions on the USB or Thunderbolt drive before this step, and here is the user guide on how to manually prepare partitions for Windows To Go.
  3. Please note that the "Keep the existing partition scheme" option is only available for Windows 10 1709 and later Windows operating systems when using a USB flash drive to create Windows To Go.

Step 5. Select the system partition and boot partition from the partition list, the selected partitions will be marked as red, then click "Next".

clone Windows select system and boot partition

Tips:
  1. The Legacy mode is the best choice if you are using an external drive to create Windows To Go, it has the best performance.
  2. The VHD/VHDX mode is the best choice if you are using a USB flash drive to create Windows To Go, because from our tests and user feedback, the VHD/VHDX mode has best compatibility when using a USB flash drive to create Windows To Go. The VHDX is a new VHD format for Windows 8 or later Windows OS, so if you want to create a Windows 10/8 To Go USB flash drive, we recommend using VHDX.
  3. The "Sector by sector clone" option enables you to clone all sectors from source boot partition to destination boot partition, so the destination boot partition must be greater than or equal to the source boot partition.
  4. Check the "Enable BitLocker" checkbox to encrypt the Windows To Go drive with BitLocker, you need to enter the password and select the encryption mode and encryption strength you need.

Notes: If "Enable BitLocker" checkbox is checked, the first startup time of Windows will become longer because it will take some time to complete the encryption operation, so please be patient.

Step 6. After clicking "Next", WinToUSB begins cloning Windows to the USB or Thunderbolt drive.

clone Windows to USB

Tips:
  1. Please note that in some cases WinToUSB may need to create a WinPE and then reboot into the WinPE environment to complete the Windows cloning operation.

Step 7. It takes some time to clone. After the clone is successfully completed, restart the computer and change BIOS to boot from your USB or Thunderbolt drive.

change BIOS to boot from USB

 

Follow these simple steps, you can clone/migrate Windows OS to USB or Thunderbolt drive with WinToUSB easily, and then boot Windows from the drive.