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[SOLVED] Making Windows To Go bootable with Ventoy - Printable Version

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[SOLVED] Making Windows To Go bootable with Ventoy - aaronpriest - 07-14-2020

[Moderator note: OP subject edited for retrievability (original was "Windows to Go, maybe via .vmdk?"); for working solution see post #14 and following.]



Is there an easy way to get Windows to Go support, maybe via a .vmdk virtual disk? I tried using the localboot option with USB partitions, but it blue screens on bootup.

I made this multi-boot USB several years ago with Windows to Go support: https://youtu.be/2A-a-X83LCw, but www.aioboot.com (no longer maintained) and more recently Ventoy have replaced what I used to do because it was too tedious to easily add updated .ISOs. But I do miss having Windows to Go at the same time without multiple USB SSDs. ;-)


RE: Windows to Go, maybe via .vmdk? - vishalvodro - 07-14-2020

(07-14-2020, 12:17 AM)aaronpriest Wrote: Is there an easy way to get Windows to Go support, maybe via a .vmdk virtual disk? I tried using the localboot option with USB partitions, but it blue screens on bootup.

I made this multi-boot USB several years ago with Windows to Go support: https://youtu.be/2A-a-X83LCw, but www.aioboot.com (no longer maintained) and more recently Ventoy have replaced what I used to do because it was too tedious to easily add updated .ISOs. But I do miss having Windows to Go at the same time without multiple USB SSDs. ;-)
Very good and valid point indeed. Hope the developer considers the matter...


RE: Windows to Go, maybe via .vmdk? - aaronpriest - 07-26-2020

Just adding a quick update to this post. I discovered a1ive Grub2 FileManager and used it for a bit, MOST impressive! I almost replaced VenToy with it, but with VenToy I can make a custom menu and theme listing specifically the .isos I use the most by custom names (rather than just file names), in whatever order I want. I can also open an .iso with one click where Grub2FM is a bit "wordy" with several menu options, but wow does it have a lot of powerful flexibility.

Anyway, to my main point, you can download a multi-arch .iso of Grub2FM and add it to VenToy and then you have the best of both worlds! You can then put Windows to Go inside a .vhdx file on an NTFS partition, boot Grub2FM .iso (both MBR and EFI if you grab the grubfm_multiarch.iso), and boot Windows to Go on your VenToy SSD! The .vhdx won't boot from exFAT, it must be stored on an NTFS partition. You also have to already have booted Windows to Go and finished installing first, or it won't finish setup. I created my .vhdx with HyperV on my workstation and let it finish install and get to the desktop before shutting down the virtual machine and moving the .vhdx to the USB SSD on an NTFS partition. You can also use Grub2FM to boot .img files, .wim files, and other things that VenToy may not support. It's a VERY powerful tool to add to your VenToy .iso collection!

Here's a link: https://github.com/a1ive/grub2-filemanager/releases

Happy booting!


RE: Windows to Go, maybe via .vmdk? - vishalvodro - 07-28-2020

(07-26-2020, 02:35 AM)aaronpriest Wrote: Just adding a quick update to this post. I discovered a1ive Grub2 FileManager and used it for a bit, MOST impressive! I almost replaced VenToy with it, but with VenToy I can make a custom menu and theme listing specifically the .isos I use the most by custom names (rather than just file names), in whatever order I want. I can also open an .iso with one click where Grub2FM is a bit "wordy" with several menu options, but wow does it have a lot of powerful flexibility.

Anyway, to my main point, you can download a multi-arch .iso of Grub2FM and add it to VenToy and then you have the best of both worlds! You can then put Windows to Go inside a .vhdx file on an NTFS partition, boot Grub2FM .iso (both MBR and EFI if you grab the grubfm_multiarch.iso), and boot Windows to Go on your VenToy SSD! The .vhdx won't boot from exFAT, it must be stored on an NTFS partition. You also have to already have booted Windows to Go and finished installing first, or it won't finish setup. I created my .vhdx with HyperV on my workstation and let it finish install and get to the desktop before shutting down the virtual machine and moving the .vhdx to the USB SSD on an NTFS partition. You can also use Grub2FM to boot .img files, .wim files, and other things that VenToy may not support. It's a VERY powerful tool to add to your VenToy .iso collection!

Here's a link: https://github.com/a1ive/grub2-filemanager/releases

Happy booting!
So you meant to say that Grub2FM supports booting from VHDX? Never tried, but if so, will. E a good addition...


RE: Windows to Go, maybe via .vmdk? - aaronpriest - 07-28-2020

Yes, it does! But only from NTFS, not exFAT, so you'll need an extra partition. Just add the multiarch.iso from the website to Ventoy. Works perfectly! :-)


RE: Windows to Go, maybe via .vmdk? - vishalvodro - 07-29-2020

(07-28-2020, 03:14 PM)aaronpriest Wrote: Yes, it does! But only from NTFS, not exFAT, so you'll need an extra partition. Just add the multiarch.iso from the website to Ventoy. Works perfectly! :-)
Yes, tested, only works on NTFS + VHD
Thanks a lot. Hope it gets implemented into Ventoy too...


RE: Windows to Go, maybe via .vmdk? - Wianky - 01-19-2021

(07-14-2020, 12:17 AM)aaronpriest Wrote: I made this multi-boot USB several years ago with Windows to Go support:
https://www.uubyte.com/create-windows-to-go-usb-drive.html
https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/deployment/planning/windows-to-go-overview
About creating a Windows to go USB drive,i also did it once,but because it involves a lot of knowledge and skills, I can only ask professional tools for help.


RE: Windows to Go, maybe via .vmdk? - Steve2926 - 01-25-2021

Easy2Boot has been around for many years. It has a grub4dos Legacy boot menu but also grubfm for MBR\UEFI booting (enhanced and called agFM) and Ventoy. It can also Secure Boot to any UEFI payload. grubfm is configurable by adding a \boot\grubfm\config file. You can make your own start-up menu and change the wallpaper or theme too. I have written some eBooks (see eBook #4 for agFM) or see https://www.easy2boot.com/uefi-mbr-a1ive-grub2-file-manager/


RE: Windows to Go, maybe via .vmdk? - meilon - 04-08-2021

(07-29-2020, 07:59 AM)vishalvodro Wrote:
(07-28-2020, 03:14 PM)aaronpriest Wrote: Yes, it does! But only from NTFS, not exFAT, so you'll need an extra partition. Just add the multiarch.iso from the website to Ventoy. Works perfectly! :-)
Yes, tested, only works on NTFS + VHD
Thanks a lot. Hope it gets implemented into Ventoy too...

Hi! How did you get it to work? I tried creating VHD and VHDX files with diskmgmt.msc, in dynamic and fixed mode, and used Rufus to create MBR and GPT Versions of Windows To Go in these images. With the Plugin WinVhdBoot I always get the message the first partition isn't NTFS but exFAT (and in MBR mode the first Partition is NTFS in the VHD(X)!) and via Grub2FM (started via Ventoy) It just boots. Most of the time Windows starts to boot from USB but then tries to load the installed Windows. 

How do I create a working VHD(X) that successfully boots completely from there and doesn't use the Windows install on the HDD/SSD of the computer I'm booting the stick from?


RE: Windows to Go, maybe via .vmdk? - Midas - 04-08-2021

@meilon: I haven't tested any of it but you pointed at the problem yourself -- Windows will not boot off an exFAT partition, which Ventoy uses by default.

You need to manually format the first partition of your USB drive as NTFS after installing Ventoy for Windows to boot.