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Microsoft Deprecating Windows To Go

Microsoft plans to put an end to its Windows To Go product in the near future, according to a Friday support article.

Windows To Go is a portable hardware and software product. It lets organizations set up IT-managed desktop images on USB thumb drives, which can then be used by remote workers. A user can simply plug a Windows To Go thumb drive into their home machine's USB port and then have access to the same applications and network privileges they had at work. It even works on Intel-based Mac computers with USB ports.

The last Windows client operating system that will support the Windows To Go product will be Windows 10 version 1903 (the "May 2019 Update"). Windows To Go is deemed "deprecated" for that Windows 10 version, meaning that Microsoft has stopped its development efforts.

Microsoft's announcement offered a few terse reasons for why it was abandoning Windows To Go:

WTG does not support feature updates. Therefore, it does not enable you to stay current. Additionally, WTG requires a specific type of USB drive that many OEMs no longer support.

Windows To Go works with the Enterprise and Education editions of Windows 10 and required Software Assurance. The product actually started way back with Windows 8, when it was showcased during Microsoft's 2011 Build developer event.

Initially, Microsoft had five USB hardware vendors lined up as partners on Windows To Go with Windows 8/8.1, namely Imation, Kingston, Spyrus, Super Talent and Western Digital. However, that number later dropped to three -- Imation, Kingston and Spyrus -- with Windows 10, although Kingston later bought Imation's IronKey USB product. Back then, an Imation official had suggested that Windows To Go hadn't taken off as a product because Windows 8/8.1 wasn't a hit.

Windows To Go had seemed like a good idea early on, but its announced end elicited not much public reaction. Just a couple of mildly rueful Twitter posts were spotted.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.

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