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

Updated on April 24, 2020 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. WinToUSB is the best portable Windows creation software, and it is also the first software in the world that allows 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, then run WinToUSB.

Step 2. Click the ISO Icon button, then click the Browse Icon button and select the Windows 10 installation ISO file from the open dialog box.

select windows 10 installation iso

Step 3. WinToUSB scans for and lists installable operating systems in the Windows 10 installation ISO. Please select the edition of Windows you want to install, then click "Next".

select windows 10 edition

Step 4. Select the destination Thunderbolt drive in the drop-down list. If the Thunderbolt drive is not correctly recognized by WinToUSB, you need to click the Refresh Icon button for the program to recognize the Thunderbolt drive.

select Thunderbolt drive

Step 5. 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 format it. 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. Please note that the "Keep the existing partition scheme" option is valid only for an external disk.

select partition scheme for Windows To Go

Step 6. Select the system partition and boot partition from the partition list, the selected partitions will be marked as red, then click "Next".

Select target partition icon

Step 7. After clicking "Next", WinToUSB begins installing Windows 10 to the Thunderbolt drive.

installing Windows to Thunderbolt drive

Step 8. It takes some time to install. After installation restart the computer and change BIOS to boot from your Thunderbolt drive.

change BIOS to boot from USB

Step 9. Windows 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


Follow these simple steps, you can install Windows to a Thunderbolt drive and then run Windows form the Thunderbolt drive.