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Can I boot Windows 8 from a USB Stick?


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#1
Mark W

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I own an Acer laptop that is runing Windows 7. I love Windows 7 and finally made the move from Windows XP but I really like Windows 8. Yet I'm nowhere near ready to make it my only OS. I know one possible option is a dual boot system. If I need to go that route I may be posting again in the future to find out how I can make a dual boot Windows 7/Windows 8 system. Yet I like trying different OS's and already have two USB sticks that are ChromeOS and Ubuntu Linux. I purchase 4GB flash drives and buy the fast drives.
The question is is it possible to install and then boot from a Windows 8 USB Flash Drive? If so, how would I go about doing this? Also, what is the minimum size USB Flash Drive that could be used? I want at least some room to work with and install apps but it won't be my primary OS. If it's not possible to do this how would I go about making a dual boot system? Already I have a 500GB HD with Windows 7 installed but I believe I'd have to repartition and hope to avoid having to reinstall Windows 7 since I have so many installed apps.
Thanks for help with the above.
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#2
Ztruker

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What is your hardware? Is it a Laptop or Desktop? If Desktop, install a second hard drive and put Windows 8 on it. Disconnect Windows 7 when you do this. Then reconnect Windows 7 and when it boots up, install EasyBCD and add Windows 8 as a second boot option.

I've not seen anyone say they have Win 8 running from a flash drive. Even if they did, Windows 8 from a flash drive would be very slow I would think.

Edit: Need to learn to read better, you did say laptop (thanks Mac).
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#3
Macboatmaster

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I own an Acer laptop that is runing Windows 7


1. I totally agree with my colleague - you will never run 8 from a flash drive.

2. As it is a laptop and therefore presumably, only one drive bay, the dual boot can be accomplished on that 500GB drive.

3. It is not a guaranteed fail-safe procedure and you should firstly ensure that you have the means to recover the whole system if it goes wrong.

That means at the least a complete system image, it is not sufficient to rely on the recovery partition, on the hard drive, if there is one, as that of course will take you back to "original condition" and all programs installed since it was new, all your data etc, will be lost.

4. You need also to ensure that the laptop will run Windows 8, it is no use finding, after it is installed that the chipset, graphics, network etc will not work correctly as there are no Windows 8 drivers provided.

Forget IMHO anything you read about Windows 7 drivers may work. It is generally a lost cause. Just because drivers for 8 are not available from Acer, if they are not, does not mean you cannot find them, but it is not easy.

So in this regard run the Windows 8 upgrade advisor

http://windows.micro...de-to-windows-8

ALL you are doing there is let it scan to report - you are of course not proceeding with the upgrade any further

YOU should also check on Acer site to ascertain if drivers are listed.

5. Then and if you decide to proceed, if all appears favourable, we will be ready to guide you through the procedure.

6. To give you some idea of the procedure

http://www.partition...d-windows-8.htm

7. However there are other considerations and I suggest you ask again when you have made the decision to proceed.

Edited by Macboatmaster, 18 March 2013 - 08:54 PM.

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#4
AceInfinity

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I don't see why you would never boot Windows 8 from a flash drive. I think people have already forgotten about Windows2Go which was featured at the very first BUILD conference for Windows 8; the special people who attended were given a USB key with Windows 8 on it.

It is possible, it is also nice to have on hand, and Windows 8 only makes it easier. I've fooled around with Windows 7 on a USB key before (it was a modified version of Windows 7 in which was a little more compact to make sure that I had more space on the USB for other things, but still...).
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#5
Macboatmaster

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I am obliged for the information
I did not know that.
I think I am correct in saying that the feature is only officially supported on Windows 8 Enterprise, but I now accept that it can be used for any edition.
Generally, except in the case of USB3 it would I think run rather slowly, but I will stand corrected.
Although it may well not have been applicable to this topic, in the case of the UEFI firmware the flash pen would have to be prepared GPT, otherwise the system would not bot from the flash pen in the first place.

As a try of Windows 8, it most certainly has advantages in not having to "install" the OS.
I think I am right in saying that it would require a 32GB flash and to continue it would need to be activated, so could not be taken from computer to computer.

That all said, you are of course correct and I was wrong.
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#6
AceInfinity

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I am obliged for the information
I did not know that.
I think I am correct in saying that the feature is only officially supported on Windows 8 Enterprise, but I now accept that it can be used for any edition.
Generally, except in the case of USB3 it would I think run rather slowly, but I will stand corrected.
Although it may well not have been applicable to this topic, in the case of the UEFI firmware the flash pen would have to be prepared GPT, otherwise the system would not bot from the flash pen in the first place.

As a try of Windows 8, it most certainly has advantages in not having to "install" the OS.
I think I am right in saying that it would require a 32GB flash and to continue it would need to be activated, so could not be taken from computer to computer.

That all said, you are of course correct and I was wrong.


It does require still, a USB with at least some capacity, that's correct. However, with Windows2Go you can take it around from computer to computer. If you couldn't what would be the point? I'd rather just install my OS to an internal hard drive if that was the case. :lol:
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#7
Macboatmaster

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Thanks

Know a little more about it now
http://technet.micro...y/hh831833.aspx

Regards
Macboatmaster
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#8
Ztruker

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Why not run Windows 8 as a client under VMWare or Oracle Virtual Box. It will be a little slower than running native but a whole lot faster than from a flash drive.
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#9
SleepyDude

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Hi,

I also watch a video on youtube related to the Microsoft conference about Windows2Go that AceInfinity is talking about, I remember they said it works fine on acceptable USB 2 flash drive. At that the time they was expecting for machines capable of booting from a USB 3 port.

Strangely I didn't found more information about Windows2Go after the Windows 8 official release!
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#10
rj07thomas

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The TechNet link posted above does strongly imply that Windows to go only works with the Enterprise Edition, which is almost impossible to get hold of. I believe (?) you need some sort of Volume Licensing Agreement to be eligible, which would be extortionate for the average home user.

It's designed to enable staff to carry key apps around- say payroll- in a secure, locked down environment.

to add to ZTruker's post, VMware Player is a free (for non-commercial use) virtualisation platform. I've got W8 Ent. running on top of W8 Ent. inside VMware player and it runs like lightening (Dell Precision T3400 w/ 8GB RAM).

Have never tried Windows to go, as the above TechNet link implies quite strict specifications for the USB sticks that I don't have (or need).

On a different note, the biggest annoyance I'm finding about W8 so far is that certain tools aren't backwards-compatible, e.g. I can't control Hyper-V server on pre-Server 2012 servers.
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#11
webmaster2

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Hello,
You cannot install windows 7 and 8 in one PC for that you have to use any one at a time. And HDD is ok for it...
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#12
Ztruker

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webmaster2, that is absolutely not true. I had Windows 8 on a SSD and Windows 7 on a 300GB spinner. I deleted Windows 7 once I had Windows 8 running the way I want it, now I have Windows 8 on the SSD and Windows 8.1 on the 300GB spinner.
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