How to Create a Windows To Go USB from Windows 10 ISO

Windows 10 is now the most highly used desktop operating system in the world with an 88% market share as of September 2020. It is also one of the most versatile operating systems because it can be converted into a portable format. This is done by using the Windows To Go (WTG) feature available in Pro, Enterprise, and Education editions of Windows 10.

Essentially, it allows you to boot Windows 10 off a USB drive instead of using the local OS installation. That means you can customize your Windows 10 experience with specific applications and then use that configuration on any other computer, whether it’s running a different version of Windows or even macOS.

Windows To Go Benefits

As we saw, Windows To Go makes Windows 10 portable to a great degree; however, there are several other benefits to using a WTG USB:

  • Easy to carry in your pocket
  • Custom configurations possible
  • Keep your favorite apps on any computer
  • Mostly OS-independent
  • Excellent tool for Windows repairs where the local OS doesn’t boot

The biggest benefit of having a WTG USB is that you don’t have to carry around your laptop wherever you go. Just boot any Windows or macOS computer off your USB drive and you’re ready to start working.

Disadvantages of Using the Built-in WTG Creator

The Windows 10 Enterprise edition comes with a native WTG creation tool that can be used to burn a bootable Win10 ISO file to USB, but it also has a lot of drawbacks. For example, the tool is not fully tested with all major brands of USB and may cause errors during the burning process. Also, the burning may not be as accurate as third-party disk image authoring tools that are made specifically for this purpose.

Additionally, you will need to use a WTG-certified USB, which you might not have access to. Finally, you may not be able to run your WTG on a Mac because that process has different requirements that can only be handled by specialized tools.

For these and other reasons, a third-party tool is always recommended. Not only will it allow you to burn a portable Windows 10 version to USB but will also let you run it on a macOS computer, which comes with different requirements. One of the most highly recommended tools for this is UUByte WintoUSB Pro, which we have described in the following section.

UUByte WintoUSB Pro – The Alternative Solution

UUByte WintoUSB Pro is by far the most user-friendly disk authoring tool for anyone looking to create a high-performance WTG USB drive. One of the highlights of this utility is that you will see little to no performance degradation when running Windows 10 off a USB drive on any other system. Let’s look at some of the other features and then the process of creating a WTG USB drive.

  • Dedicated application for creating WTG USBs for Windows on Windows and Windows on Mac
  • Smooth and user-friendly interface ideal for new users and perfect for seasoned professionals
  • Support for non-certified USB drives
  • WTG USB creation for macOS and Windows
  • Can be used with portable SSD and HDD
  • Supports USB 1.0 to USB 3.1 (USB 3.0 recommended)
  • Supports WTG creation for all Windows editions including Home

As you can see, the list of features is quite exhaustive and covers almost every user need possible. Even the process has been simplified so new users won’t find it hard to do, as described in the following section.

  1. On the computer that you’re using to create the WTG drive, connect the USB/SSD/HDD and make sure it’s detected by your system. If you have any data on the drive, make sure you take a full back up because anything on it will be deleted.
  2. Download, install, and launch UUByte WintoUSB Pro and activate the license (register the product with the code you received via email.)
  3. On the first page of the software window, choose your target device – Windows or Mac – and click Next against it.
  4. You now have two options: clone the current OS or use a Windows 10 ISO as your source – choose the second option on your screen and select the edition.
  5. On the next page, choose your target drive from the dropdown and click Next.
  6. In the Advanced Setting Options page, leave the default if you’re not sure what to do. It will automatically default to the most appropriate setting. This is for advanced users who might need to change the boot scheme or include/exclude additional features.
  7. Click Start and wait for the process to be completed. That’s it!

If you’re doing this on a Windows 10 system and you don’t have an ISO file, or if you want your customizations to be carried over to the USB drive, then you can choose the cloning method in step 4 above.

This will automatically generate an ISO file containing the crucial install.wim file required for WTG USB creation. You can now start using the WTG on the target device type that you specified in step 3 above – Windows or Mac. To use the WTG in Windows, hit the special key during startup that takes you to the BIOS settings, then change the boot priority so the system resumes boot from your WTG drive. In Mac, hold down the Option (Alt) key during startup, then select your drive from the Startup Disk window that appears on your screen.

UUByte WintoUSB Pro is an accurate and versatile tool created specifically for the purpose of making Windows To Go USB drives. Using the product gives you a lot of freedom to choose your target device and even the edition of your source ISO. As such, it is a highly recommended tool for IT professionals or just about anyone who needs a portable and custom Windows option to carry around.