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[SOLVED] Making Windows To Go bootable with Ventoy
#11
http://github.com/ventoy/Ventoy/issues/745
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#12
(04-08-2021, 12:54 PM)Midas Wrote: @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.

(04-09-2021, 04:00 AM)ZhuMa Wrote: http://github.com/ventoy/Ventoy/issues/745

Thank you both! I read in the forum post linked in the issue the very important line (thanks to Google Translate): VHD(X) boot currently only supports dual NTFS or dual exFAT combinations, and does not support outer NTFS+in exFAT or outer exFAT+in NTFS combination.

Now after formatting the Ventoy partition as NTFS at least the system tries to boot from vhdx, but sadly, I can't get any configuration of vhd/vhdx, mbr/gpt and dynamic/fixed to boot completely in either legacy or uefi mode. It always fails after getting devices ready with "Windows could not update the computer's boot configuration. Installation cannot proceed.". Any ideas on that?
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#13
meilon Wrote:I can't get any configuration of vhd/vhdx, mbr/gpt and dynamic/fixed to boot completely in either legacy or uefi mode. It always fails after getting devices ready with "Windows could not update the computer's boot configuration. Installation cannot proceed.". Any ideas on that?

My recipe, while not very straightforward, has worked everytime I used it -- check https://forums.ventoy.net/showthread.php...88#pid1488. YMMV, though.
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#14
Thanks for that recipe, though I went a slightly different road but the key was using VirtualBox. This is how I got Windows To Go to Boot via Ventoy from a working Windows 10:

  1. Use diskmgmt.msc and create a fixed size VHD with at least 16GB
  2. Use Rufus and a Windows 10 ISO to create a WTG install into that VHD in MBR Mode (don't forget to unmount VHD from diskmgmt.msc after Rufus completes)
  3. Use VirtualBox (I used Portable-VirtualBox) to create a Windows 10 VM, use the VHD and Boot it with default settings
  4. When the Windows 10 OOBE setup starts (language selection and stuff), stop VM
  5. Put the VHD on the NTFS formatted Ventoy ISO partition and the ventoy_vhdboot.img into the ventoy folder on the same partition
  6. Windows To Go boots via Ventoy in UEFI boot just fine!
Thanks again for the help! Now I finally have to carry only one drive with all the images on it!
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#15
Many thanks to meilon for posting about this solution. Cool

It took me some time -- be warned this is a lenghty procedure -- but I've now tested his solution in two different systems (desktop and laptop) and everything worked fairly well.

FTR, let me recall here what I did, after booting Windows 10 normally (which I already run off a VHD, as detailed in my previous post):
  1. Used 'diskmgmt.msc' to create a static size 32GB VHD (don't forget to initialize and format it to NTFS; also see a., below);
  2. Used Rufus and a Windows 10 ISO to setup WindowsToGo to that VHD in MBR Mode;
  3. Booted up Linux Mint from a Ventoy liveUSB pendrive (see b.);
  4. Setup a discardable VirtualBox (see c.), ran it and attached the recently created VHD file to a new Windows 10 virtual machine (VM);
  5. Let WindowsToGo setup finish inside the VM up to the point where OOBE ("Windows Out Of Box Experience") pops its first question;
  6. Stopped the VM without proceeding any further;
  7. Copied the VHD file to Ventoy boot location ('BOOTIMGS' folder in the main drive, in my case), alongside the already existing 'ventoy' folder with at least 'ventoy_vhdboot.img' in it;
  8. Booted the VHD with Ventoy and proceed to finish WindowsToGo setup (couple of hiccups here, see d.), which might require some reboots.

All set! Ventoy now boots WindowsToGo without any errors.
  1. 16GB will work fine and apparently you can expand VHDs later -- e.g., see www.howtogeek.com/50399/.
  2. LiveUSB preventing access to the drive they're booted from is the reason you can't do this from the internal disk.
  3. You must have a working internet connection, then just open terminal and run 'sudo apt-get install virtualbox'; around 45MB of data will be downloaded and after install finishes, just do Alt+F2 and type "virtualbox" to start it.
  4. The VHD I managed to create -- which is reusable, BTW, so it should be saved and copied whenever needed -- rebooted once in the VM and threw up an error afterwards, saying "Something went wrong" (with code "OOBEAADV10"), but it advanced to finish without any other errors.

Some further notes and screenshots I grabbed along the way...

It's advised to run steps 1. and 2. above from a SSD drive, as it will finish a lot faster -- otherwise formatting, creation and copying can take many long hours.

At first, I had tried creating a WindowsToGo in a physical USB drive and then extracting it to a VHD and, not only did this take me over a day to complete on a fairly fast i7 laptop, both eventually failed to even run...

To the best of my knowledge, the errors I encountered (see d.) were caused by the regional settings of the Windows 10 ISO I used -- you'd better download a clean one for your region.

If nobody objects, I'm going to edit the OP to mark this as "solved". Smile

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#16
(04-24-2021, 02:47 PM)Midas Wrote: Many thanks to meilon for posting about this solution. Cool

...

[Moderator note: quote edited; please, don't quote a long post in full just to add your observations.]

Hi All,
I have struggled with recent Windows to Go builds, until I found this commercial software: https://www.easyuefi.com/wintousb/
This is very simple to use software and works very well using 20H2 ISO as the source.  The secret is to NOT include drivers in the WinToUSB build and use DISM to integrate your additional drivers into your VHD.
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#17
(04-24-2021, 04:40 PM)strongbad75 Wrote:
(04-24-2021, 02:47 PM)Midas Wrote: Many thanks to meilon for posting about this solution. Cool

...

[Moderator note: quote edited; please, don't quote a long post in full just to add your observations.]

I have struggled with recent Windows to Go builds, until I found this commercial software: https://www.easyuefi.com/wintousb/

Thanks for the input, strongbad75. Cool

I have no experience with WinToUSB but, although its WindowsToGo functionality appears to be free, contrary to Rufus it isn't free software...
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#18
(04-24-2021, 09:47 PM)Midas Wrote:
(04-24-2021, 04:40 PM)strongbad75 Wrote:
(04-24-2021, 02:47 PM)Midas Wrote: Many thanks to meilon for posting about this solution. Cool

...

[Moderator note: quote edited; please, don't quote a long post in full just to add your observations.]

I have struggled with recent Windows to Go builds, until I found this commercial software: https://www.easyuefi.com/wintousb/

Thanks for the input, strongbad75. Cool

I have no experience with WinToUSB but, although its WindowsToGo functionality appears to be free, contrary to Rufus it isn't free software...
Hi @Midas,
I just found the Rufus supports making Windows to Go bootable disks!  I have used it to make a 20H2 EDU version (you can choose any version...though I have only tried the EDU version).
I did need to shrink it to fit on my small USB ventoy drive, using hyper-v tools (have to add them as a feature to Windows 10 host system).
  1. I made the WTG drive using Rufus 3.13
  2. I used Disk2VHD from Microsoft to make a vhdx file
  3. I shrank it with disk management
  4. I then compacted it with HyperV tools (not sure this is necessary)
  5. I then used Hyper-V tools to shrink it to make the volume smaller
  6. I then used command line DISM to integrate storage and network drivers
  7. I then copied to my ventoy drive, booted and setup WTG
I have booted this on two modern machines with great success (need to boot new machines twice, so lots of the new hardware is found)

References:
Article for Rufus process: https://www.uubyte.com/create-win-to-go-...rufus.html
Article for the compact/shrink process: https://www.enhansoft.com/how-to-compact...-vhd-file/
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