Windows to go installation help

so i will give the skinny version first i need help getting a windows to go install done. i have am running windows 7 ultimate,windows 8.1 enterprise and i also have a boot drive with windows 10 pro. i have tried using win to USB with no luck as it does not like my iso images or will go to install then will drop the USB stick and throw a stick is uninitialized error. ( this is after it formats the disk). the 8.1 enterprise edition does not let me use windows to go install as i dont have a verified disk. ( if you know a work around ill take it. ) or if you know of a program that just works and is rock solid i would love to hear it.

small side note this is a research attempt on my side for my roommate. i have hit a brick wall and dont know where else to go. google has not been much help nor has the win to USB site as i am not paying for a license at this moment ( if i cant get free stuff to work how do i trust payed will work).

if you need any system info let me know .

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I simply install windows to the flash drive.
-format flash drive to NTFS (keep in mind, flash drive needs to be at the bare minimun, a 16gb drive. 32gb plus is preferable.)
-install windows to it like any other drive.

Works OK.

just to clarify, what is it your trying to achieve??

a windows installation running from a USB Drive??

make sure you have the device plugged in to the USB ports on the IO Port (front USB ports are often handled by a different chip to the IO port, and can drop connectivity whilst that controller is being installed. note this is paticularly prevelant on USB 3.0 ports, so try and stick to USB 2.0 ports for the installation)

have you tried using the ISO as a VM disk image, pass through the USB, and install it inside the VM.

something else to note, if you do install windows to a USB Drive, and use it on different hardware setups, the installation will run slow as shit after just a few different machines..

yes i am trying to install it to the USB drive. then use it on identical hardware as a way of cloning images on to them. this is an exercise of futility probably. but i dont have a much better way of approaching this issue as the machines i will be cloning to do not have CD drives and are not easy to open. PXE boot is not working for these machines as well or i would be using that. ( red hat 6 ) as host for PXE boot.

in all honesty i am probably coming at this from the wrong angle but i know windows better than i know linux. and i do know that what i am trying to do is possible in theory. just dont know if its the best way. my end goal is a usb HDD booting windows 8.1 enterprise or windows 10 enterprise then offloading a cloned image onto the machines internal drives. then booting from the internal drives. ( this is a work in progress research attempt for a my roommate who works on DOD type stuff )

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if the end goal is to image machines, just turn the USB into an installer, rather than a live disk..

what are you planning to use to clone the image?

thing is we dont want to install the os the os is on the machines we just want to use it to deploy updated builds of the project that they are developing. ( i know that we are going about this the hard way but orders are orders) cant use internet or intranet. i dunno what hes using to clone the images i think acronis disk imaging but i cant be certian .( i am the research on the " almost impossible hard part " ) will find out later tonight if the method above worked.

we might have to have the company buy a verified USB HDD and just use windows 10 enterprise windows to go. was avoiding that option until all else failed.

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You're going about this the wrong way. Don't think in terms of "usb HDD booting windows" and "offloading a cloned image" but rather in terms of creating an intermediary file and copying the contents of that "hd image" to other computers. Doing that can be done while booting temporary operating systems to create the image and to copy it to the target systems (a.k.a. to "deploy" it). Here is the workflow:

  1. Boot a temporary operating system on the source computer
  2. Image the system to a single compressed file
  3. Place that file on a usb thumb drive
  4. Boot a temporary operating system on the target computer, optionally using said USB
  5. copy the image to the target internal HDD (a.k.a. "image the target system")
  6. reboot target system

I created some scripts that automate most of this process and created a thread for it:

ADK Tools Thread

The idea for the project is to automate creating the USB drive that you can use to capture and deploy the image including the installation of the ADKs and the files to copy to the USB thumb drive.

There is also an automation script built in to deploy any number of custom and/or rtm images provided the target system does not require data retention.

Creating the image is the "hard" part.

If you are not comfortable with a command prompt, then my recommendation is to combine the USB thumb drive scripts with this tool: GImagex.

Copy it to the root of the flash drive, copy the following files into the gimagex folder (either x86 or x64 or both) obtained from either version of the ADK (8.1 or 10)

[...]browse to the amd64\DISM folder.
4. Copy the following files into the same folder as gimagex.exe:
imagex.exe (optional, but handy if you also want to use the orginal command-line version of imagex)

And then when you boot, launch it by doing E:\gimagex\x64\gimagex.exe and that should launch the graphical interface by which you can use to create a .wim file. Be sure to save it onto the flash drive.

Then just transfer the flash drive to the target system and install the image using the built-in automated installer.

If you are comfortable with a command prompt then you can skip the gximage thing and use the "image.bat" or "dism.exe" tools to create the image directly. The syntax is something like

image /capture C: E:\Windows81Enterprise_x64.wim

but use

image /?

to get the exact syntax. Same thing with the dism tool,

dism /capture-image D: /wim-file:d:\captured.wim [...]
dism /?

Try to use "fast" compression for the image instead of max. "Fast" is more reliable.

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will forward this to him have him try it. many thanks might have saved my bacon.

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