[Solved] How to create a portable Windows 11/10 USB drive in 2023?

Updated on June 16, 2023 by Admin to Portable Windows Creator

This tutorial will show you how to create a portable Windows 11/10, mainly including the following aspects:

I'm a college student and I use Linux most of the time, but sometimes I have to use Windows, because there are some professional software that doesn't support Linux. I have Linux and Windows 10 installed on my laptop, over time, the free space on the disk becomes less and less. So I'm going to remove Windows 10 from my internal disk and then install it on an external hard disk. I know how to install Linux to an USB drive as live Linux with open source tools, but I don't know how to install Windows 10 to an external hard disk. When I tried to install Windows 10 to an external hard disk, I got the error "Windows cannot be installed to this disk.". Can someone tell me how to create a portable Windows 10 USB drive? Thanks.

What is portable Windows 11/10 (Windows 11/10 To Go)?

Portable Windows 11/10 refers to installing a fully-functional Windows 11/10 to a USB drive, and then being able to start Windows 11/10 on the USB drive on any computer. If you know Windows To Go (WTG), then you will find that Windows To Go is what we usually call portable Windows. The main feature of Windows To Go is to allow Windows to roam on different computers, so we can carry our Windows working environment in our pockets and use it in different places, such as home, company or school. For more information about Windows To Go, please refer to: What is Windows To Go?

WinToUSB feature overview

Have you ever imagined that to create a portable Windows 11/10 on an USB drive and then run Windows from the USB drive? Microsoft releases a feature called Windows To Go which can help you to install Windows 11/10 on a Certified Windows To Go Drive as portable Windows 11/10. Unfortunately, this feature is currently only available in the Enterprise version of Windows 11/10, and most of us don't have the Enterprise edition of Windows 11/10, nor a Certified Windows To Go Drive.

Choose the best tool for creating portable Windows 11/10.

Hasleo WinToUSB is the world's first third-party software that can be used to create portable Windows. In recent years, other tools that can be used to create portable Windows have appeared on the market, such as Refus, Aomei and EaseUS, please refer to:Top 4 portable Windows 11/10 creation tool. However, WinToUSB is still the most powerful portable Windows creation tool, it supports the creation of portable Windows from ISO, WIM files and CDROM, cloning of currently running Windows to USB drives as portable Windows, creating a BitLocker encrypted Windows To Go, and even creating portable Windows from the Windows system backup image files produced by Hasleo Backup Suite.

As the best portable Windows creation software, WinToUSB allows you to install any version of Windows 11/10 onto a Certified or Non-Certified Windows To Go USB drive as portable Windows 11/10. After you've created a portable Windows 11/10 USB drive, you can install applications and copy files to the portable Windows 11/10 USB drive. Now you get a fully functional Windows 11/10 system which can boot from the USB drive, then you can carry it to anywhere and use it on any computer.


Step by step tutorial to create a portable Windows 11/10 USB drive with Hasleo WinToUSB.

Step 1. Connect the USB drive to the computer, download, install and run Hasleo WinToUSB and then click "Windows To Go USB".

Click Windows To Go creator

Step 2. Click "Select installation source", then click "Browse image file" and select the image file (ISO、WIM、VHD(X)、DBI) from the open dialog box as installation source, or choose a CD/DVD drive with a Windows installation DVD inserted as the installation source. You can also clone the currently running Windows to a USB drive as portable Windows by selecting "Current Windows OS" as the installation source.

Select installation source for Windows To Go

* Tips: DBI is the extension of the backup image file produced by Hasleo Backup Suite.

Step 3. Hasleo WinToUSB scans for and lists installable operating systems, select the edition of Windows you want to install.

Select Windows edition

Step 4. Click "Select destination drive" and select the destination drive from the pop-up drive list. If the drive is not correctly recognized by Hasleo WinToUSB, you can click the refresh drive list button for the program to recognize the drive.

Select destination drive

Step 5. Choose the partition scheme and installation mode you want to use, and you can specify additional drivers or enable BitLocker to encrypt the Windows To Go USB drive according to your needs, then click "Proceed".

Select partition scheme and installation mode

* Tips:

  1. For more detailed information about "Partition scheme", "Installation mode" and "Enable BitLocker", please refer to: How to create portable Windows 11/10/8/7 from an ISO, WIM, ESD, SWM or VHD(X) file?
  2. If you choose "Keep the existing partition scheme", you need to manually prepare the partitions on the USB drive before this step, and here is the user guide on how to manually prepare partitions for Windows To Go.

Step 6. After clicking "Proceed", a pop-up will appear asking you if you want to format it to continue, click "Yes" if you are sure.

The drive needs to be formatted prompt

Step 7. After clicking "Yes", WinToUSB begins installing Windows to the destination drive.

installing Windows to USB

Step 8. The installation will take some time, please be patient.


Boot and run Windows 11/10 from the portable Windows 11/10 USB drive.

BIOS settings allow you to run a boot sequence from a floppy drive, a hard drive, a CD-ROM drive or an external device. To boot portable Windows from a USB drive, you need to enter the BIOS and change the boot sequence to set the USB drive as the first boot priority.

Step 1. After the installation is complete, restart the computer, press the appropriate key to boot into BIOS. Different motherboards and computer manufacturers use different keys to enter the BIOS. Usually, when the computer starts, you will be prompted to enter the key to enter BIOS, but the prompts are usually displayed for a short time and you may not be able to see it clearly. Below we list the keys used by popular brands of motherboards and computers to get into BIOS.

keys to enter BIOS

Step 2. After successfully entering the BIOS, change BIOS to boot from the portable Windows 11/10 USB drive.

change BIOS to boot from USB

Step 3. Windows 11/10 normal installation starts up and you have to complete all the installation steps. After that, you can install programs, copy files, etc.

Windows normal installation


Top 4 portable Windows 11/10 creation tool (Our Picks)

Top 1. Hasleo WinToUSB

Pros: Powerful and user-friendly user interface.

Cons: Focus only on technology and not on marketing.

Top 2. Refus

Pros: Open source.

Cons: BitLocker encryption and cloning are not supported, the user interface is complex and not easy to use.

Top 3. EaseUS OS2Go

Pros: user-friendly user interface, custom Windows features.

Cons: Expensive and BitLocker encryption is not supported, some features appear to be copies of the open source code uup-converter-wimlib

Top 4. AOMEI Partition Assistant

Pros: User-friendly user interface.

Cons: BitLocker encryption is not supported.


This tutorial details how to use Hasleo WinToUSB to create a portable Windows 11/10 USB drive and the knowledge related to creating the portable Windows 11/10. You can see how easy it is to create a portable Windows 11/10 with Hasleo WinToUSB, you just need to prepare a Windows installation ISO/DVD and a USB drive, and Hasleo WinToUSB will do the rest.

If the Windows operating system currently running on your computer is Windows 11/10, you can also use Hasleo WinToUSB to clone the currently running Windows to a USB drive as a portable Windows.

You may need to carry this portable Windows to many places and use it on other computers, so it is necessary to encrypt the drive, Hasleo WinToUSB allows you to turn on BitLocker to encrypt the Windows To Go.