One of the new features available in Rufus 2.0 and above versions is the ability to create Windows To Go drives in a few mouse clicks.
As all Windows 10 users likely know, the Windows To Go feature was first introduced with Windows 8, although there were third-party solutions to install Windows to USB drive even before the release of Windows 8. For those who haven’t heard about Windows To Go before this, the feature allows you to install and run Windows 10 from a USB drive.
Although the official Windows To Go creator present only in the Enterprise and Education editions, there are third-party tools out there to install any edition of Windows 10 to a USB drive.
NOTE: With Windows 10 May 2020 Update (version 2004), Microsoft has removed Windows To Go feature from Windows 10. This means that none of the editions of Windows 10 now offer a built-in tool to create Windows To Go drive. From here on, you will have to use tools like Rufus to prepare Windows To Go even if you are running Enterprise edition.
Now that the popular Rufus tool supports creating Windows To Go drive, in this guide, we will show how you can use the Rufus to create Windows To Go drive with just a few mouse clicks.
Things to remember while preparing Windows To Go drive
# The Windows To Go feature of Rufus is available only when you are running the software on Windows 8, Windows 8.1, or Windows 10 versions. This means that you need a PC running Windows 8/8.1 or Windows 10 in order to prepare Windows To Go drive using Rufus.
# The size of the USB drive that you want to use as Windows To Go drive must be at least 16 GB. We recommend you use a USB drive with a capacity of 32GB, though.
# We recommend you use a Windows To Go certified USB drive for optimal performance. Standard USB flash drives are not ideal for installing Windows, meaning that the Windows OS installed on your standard USB flash drive will be very slow compared to the one installed on certified drives.
# Rufus supports all editions of Windows 10 and Windows 8/8.1.
Windows To Go option missing in Rufus?
It seems that Rufus 2.3 and later versions do not offer the ability to create Windows To Go drive when using Windows 10 ISO downloaded using the Media Creation Tool.
So, if you want to create Windows To Go with Rufus, please directly download Windows 10 ISO from Microsoft within in your web browser without using the Media Creation Tool or download via MSDN or TechNet (subscription is required).
And if you have already downloaded Windows 10 ISO using the Media Creation Tool, try using the other free tools in the market. Refer to our five free tools to create Windows 10 To Go USB drive to know all tools.
Preparing Windows 1o To Go with Rufus
Follow the given below instructions to create your Windows To Go drive using Rufus software.
Step 1: The first step is to visit this page of Rufus and download the latest available version of the software. When you are on the download page, please click on the normal Rufus instead of the portable version.
Step 2: Connect your USB flash drive that you want to use as Windows To Go drive and backup all data from the drive to any other location as the drive needs to be erased completely, and all data will be deleted while doing so.
Step 3: Launch Rufus software on a PC running Windows 8/8.1 or Windows 10.
Step 4: Select your USB drive from the Device drop-down menu.
Step 5: Next, select the partition scheme from the available three options. If you’re going to use the Windows To Go drive with the MBR partition scheme, select the “MBR partition scheme for BIOS or UEFI computer.”
Select the GPT partition scheme for UEFI only if you’re sure about it.
Step 6: Select the File system as NTFS as FAT32 can’t be used to create Windows To Go. You can safely skip the Cluster size section.
Step 7: Click the browse icon next to Create a bootable disk using the option to browse to your Windows ISO file and then select the same.
Step 8: Select the Windows To Go option before clicking the Start button. You’ll see the following dialog if your USB drive has Removable attribute.
You can skip the warning and click the Yes button, but the performance of your Windows To Go USB drive might not be as good as Windows To Go certified drives.
Next, you’ll see “Your USB drive will be erased” warning. Click the OK button to begin installing Windows.
The software might take up to a couple of hours to prepare the Windows to Go drive. On our test PC running Windows 10, Rufus took over 90 minutes to make Windows To Go drive of Windows 10.
Once the job is done, you’ll see the “Ready” message. You can now restart your computer to test your newly prepared Windows To Go drive. Good luck!
Do let us know if you have any difficulties in following the guide or experiencing any issues by leaving comments.
Our how-to use Rufus to download Windows 10 ISO guide might also interest you.
Shadrack Adeyemi says
Thank you for you helpful writeup admin, God bless you
But I have issue, im trying to get windows to go which I belive I can have windows installed on my flash, after following your writeup I downloaded Windows 8.1 ISO and I use Rufus but what I got was Windows 8.1 bootabel flash instead of Windows to go OS flash
Pls is there anything I’m missing out.. Help me any one plsss
Leonardo Danza says
I used Rufus 3.12 for creating an USB Bootable with Windows 10 version 20H2 64 bit, using “Windows To go” option.
I downloaded Windows 10 Professional version 20H2 with Microsoft Windows and Office ISO Download Tool.
All was ok and now i have an 32 Gb USB 2.0 Key correctly working with all functions activated and i was able to update Windows OS using Windows Update services.
As i didn’t activate windows i wonder why i find that Windows is activated. The only answer that i can give is that Windows uses the same license already activated on my PC (same version of Win 10 Pro) as a digital license on my microsoft account.
I tried the USB key on two other pc in my home (all with Windows 10 vers. 20H2 pro with digital license on my Microsoft Account). In both cases Windows started correctly from USB drive repeating the preliminary and some parts of base phases of installation process. I had then to go to device manager and update drivers for all unknown devices found.
I used the options to search drive on pc in original System HD Windows folder so all drivers were correctly installed.
I suppose that if I use the USB Key on a PC not licensed on my account i will found Windows not activated…
So probably the key will be not be usable for troubleshooting work on others machines. Isit true…
I’ll try soon.
I wonder also if the key is really a Windows to Go key as Microsoft says that Windows to Go was removed from Windows 10 Install starting from 2004 Version and that is marked as deprecated.
Jason Madruga says
Used the Windows Media Create Tool ISO Windows 2004, Super Talent RC4 64 GB amazon.com/Super-Talent-Flash-Drive-ST3U64GR4/dp/B00CFI402O , Rufus 3.11, Dell Latitude 5501 with success.
Burned image to the Super Talent USB, chose Windows 10 Professional for edition, imaging done with Rufus was smooth.
Plugged into Dell Latitude 5501, Windows setup pulled genuine key from system, finished setup, all has been reliable and working well.
Rufus does not support ISOs downloaded using the Media Creation Tool due to compatibility issues. Please download the ISO using your web browser by following the directions mentioned in this article.
look for an iso compatibility. you can see the windows to go option.
windows to go only applies on the image which can be compatible with rufus. download different iso instead of the iso you are using. if it is compatible then you can see the windows to go option.
You can install Windows to Go with YUMI as well. With the benefit of being able to store and run several other diagnostic tools, Windows Installers, and Live Linux Distributions on the same drive. ;)
Although this is old AF post…
RE: “Step 8: Select Windows To Go option before clicking the Start button.”
This does not exist: https://imgur.com/a/CZpLJIo
Dan, yes, should be possible.
Is it possible to do this with rufus and windows 10 1803? I have a 1803 iso file with install.esd instead of install.wim
Thanks for instructions! I’ll try it.
succesfully created win to go but the problem is that it is taking too much time to load infact its been half an hour still the windows are loading while my usb is 16 gb 3.0 usb..any possible solution?
for me, it took extremely long. it took an hour and a half to copy 2.5% of the files. i dont understand why.
cube over says
I have made Windows 10 To Go by using this feature of RUFUS.
What happens though is when booting it WIPES my BIOS chip! (ASRock X79 mobo).
Windows says “Preparing to make repairs” when booting off that stick, and the 20% top of the screen shows diagonal light green and yellow stripes. Upon restart, the system would not initialize, leaving “19” on the internal Dr Debug LEDs “South Bridge Init Started”. I though my motherboard died but no – thanks to ASRock support.
I ended up replacing the BIOS chip twice and erasing the Rufus-made “To Go” stick.
No thank you no. Never again.
For to Have option Windows to Go .. download Windows x32 or x86 …
Me helps that !
But I have a another Problem After Install I have to see this : ‘Coud not locate ‘/EF/Boot/bootx64.efi ‘
havent tried yet but excellent writeup
how does activation work on windows to go drive? do I have to activate on every other pc I use this usb?
Does this work on a chromebook? I was looking to install win10 but want to test it out first. Thanks!
image instead of window excuse me
hi i have the same problem which is said
iso window exctraction failure
please help me
I don´t have the option “Windows to go”! What can I do?
I have a ISO image extraction failure, what can I do?
@ Alex Hoff
Are you using the latest version? What version of Windows you’re running Rufus on?
Alex Hoff says
I can’t get Rufus to give me the Windows To Go option. Any idea why that could be?
Yes, NTFS can’t be used to create bootable flash drives for UEFI systems.
Davorin Jurisic says
A question: Isn’t NTFS incompatible with uefi (for USB flashdrives)?
Can I make partitions with rufus on a usb stick using windows to go ?
Munna Sharma says
i have windows 10 installed on my pc. But i want to install window 7 64bit on a usb drive of 32 gb. Please tell me how to proceed.
Tutorial is good, thanks. But how use Windows To Go in one old PC ? Windows To Go is for i3 i5 and i7.
The ISO Extraction Failure error in Rufus shows up when the ISO file is corrupted. Is that a newly downloaded ISO?
Antal Mészáros says
I have an error Winth Kingston Data Traveller Rubber 3 (usb 3) and clerar Windows 10 iso