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We are doing a project for a IT school, each student have an external drive (WD My Passport enterprise) and we are trying to deploy Windows To Go on these drives.

Each student should be able to flash his drive just by connecting it to a school computer and then power the computer on and do a network boot and use Windows Deployment Service or SCCM to deploy the Windows To Go on the external drive.

We have already a Windows server 2012 running with WDS and another with SCCM for tests.

When we try to deploy on the external drive (disk no 1 selected in our task sequence) we have an error in WinPE it says in brief : Can not format disk 1 because it is not an internal fixed drive.

Is there a workaround ?

Here is the error in LitetouchPE: https://www.dropbox.com/s/p33xqwz6q8axc6p/IMG_20150120_132201.jpg?dl=0

  • It may help if you further research the problem and list the full error. – Drew Khoury Jan 20 '15 at 9:45
  • I added the picture of the error. – Damien Morattel Jan 20 '15 at 12:36
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Try using pure WDS with no SCCM. SCCM is basically MDT on steroids and MDT is not what I would use for a bare bones installation of Windows To Go. I currently manually create Windows To Go installations but I am planning on automating it by using pure WDS.

Here are the steps I would follow to create the installation:

  1. Acquire the installation and boot images for your chosen Windows version.

  2. Add them to the WDS server.

  3. Add an answer file that automates the deployment (unattend.xml) You can specify disk partition info in it among other stuff...

  4. Boot to the WDS server and let it do its magic.

There is also the possibility to use your current set up without skipping out on SCCM all together. You can use a custom batch/powershell script to format the HDDs "Manually" by adding in the task sequence a Run Command Line or Run Powershell Script.

  1. In MDT (I don't have access to SCCM) go to the task sequence and open the add menu.

  2. Click on the Run Command Line or Run Powershell script entry.

  3. Configure the option to suit your needs,here is an example on how to automate Diskpart via command line: https://stackoverflow.com/questions/16985518/batch-file-for-running-diskpart

  4. enjoy your automated disk whipping (I assume your not having issues with the image deployment).


Notes: Windows To Go is basically an extracted Windows image with the boot on the local device. There are no special files/hardware required for it. Here is the manual way I create the installations (Just in case it gives you an idea on how to fix your issue):

  • Format the device to NTFS
  • Mount the Windows 8.1 U1 ISO
  • imagex /apply D:\sources\install.wim 2 E:\ explanation:D:\ being your mounted ISO 2 being your image index and E:\ being the target device.
  • bootsect /nt60 E: This adds the required boot code to the device so it recognizes bootmgr.
  • bcdboot C:\Windows /s E: This adds BCD/Bootmgr to the target device so that it can boot. I usually use EasyBCD to do this part for me 'cause it has a nice GUI.

That is it! Hope this helps!

  • Thanks for your answer, I removed the format task in task sequence and tried to do it manualy with the Lite Touch command line like this: – Damien Morattel Jan 22 '15 at 7:29
  • I created a NTFS primary partition and then mounted the new partition and finally did bootsect /nt60 e: But when I tested again the deployment the process seems to work but after it is impossible to boot on disk it says "no operating system found" – Damien Morattel Jan 22 '15 at 7:35
  • Bootsect is the first part of making it bootable, Did you do bcdboot to add the boot system? bootsect only adds the instructions to the filesystem to look for the boot files. bcdboot adds the boot files to the File System (In your case NTFS). Hope this helps! – Elliot Labs Jan 22 '15 at 15:23
  • Don't forget to add the os to the boot menu so that the boot system knows what to boot (bcdedit) – Elliot Labs Jan 22 '15 at 16:47
  • I found a way to do it, but I have to do it manually. First I prepare the disk with the Diskpart command line (juste clean and format to NTFS), Then I launch the deployment with litetouch and after I do bcdboot e:\windows /s e: /f ALL (E: is the external drive) and then it is booting and windows is working. – Damien Morattel Jan 23 '15 at 7:09

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