How to install and run Windows 10 on a Thunderbolt drive?

Updated on July 11, 2022 by Admin to Portable Windows Creator

Thunderbolt was developed by Intel (in collaboration with Apple) way back in 24 February 2011, it is the brand name of a hardware interface that allows the connection of external peripherals to a computer or laptop. Thunderbolt 1 and 2 use the same connector as Mini DisplayPort, whereas Thunderbolt 3 re-uses the USB-C connector from USB. Thunderbolt 1 is capable of transmitting at a rate of 10 Gbps, and Thunderbolt 2 is capable of transmitting at a rate of 20 Gbps. Thunderbolt 3 is capable of transmitting at a rate of 40 Gbps, which is a lot quicker than USB 3.1's rate of 10 Gbps or USB 3.0's limit of 5 Gbps. All versions of Thunderbolt allow for daisy-chaining up to six devices together to a host and in addition to data, can also carry Hi-Def video and audio signals. Because Thunderbolt takes up less space and has faster speeds, we believe it will become more and more popular in the future. Maybe this will take a few years more for Thunderbolt become to become as popular as the current USB on the host side, but when it does it will simplify the way we work with devices.

By default we are not able to install Windows to a Thunderbolt drive, we need to use third party software for this purpose. Hasleo WinToUSB is the best portable Windows creation software, and it is the world's first software that allowed users to install Windows to a Thunderbolt drive and then run Windows from it. Below we will explain in detail how to use WinToUSB to install Windows to a Thunderbolt drive.


Tutorial to install and run Windows on a Thunderbolt drive with WinToUSB.

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

Click Windows To Go creator

Step 2. Click "Select installation source", then click "Browse image file" and select the Windows 8 installation ISO file from the open dialog box as installation source, or choose a CD/DVD drive with a Windows 8 installation DVD inserted as the installation source. You can also choose to clone currently running Windows OS to a USB drive as a portable Windows by clicking "Current Windows OS".

Select installation source for Windows To Go

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 Thunderbolt drive according to your needs, then click "Proceed".

Select partition scheme and installation mode

* Tips:

  1. If you choose "Keep the existing partition scheme", you need to manually prepare the partitions on the Thunderbolt drive before this step, and here is the user guide on how to manually prepare partitions for Windows To Go.
  2. 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?

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. It takes some time to install. After installation restart the computer and change BIOS to boot from the Thunderbolt drive.

change BIOS to boot from USB

Step 9. Windows normal installation starts up and you have to complete all the installation steps. After that, you can install programs, copy files, etc.

Windows 11 normal installation


Follow these simple steps, you can install Windows to a Thunderbolt drive and then run Windows form the Thunderbolt drive. With the help of Hasleo WinToUSB, you can also clone Windows to a Thunderbolt drive as portable Windows.