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Create Portable Windows 10/8/7 USB Drive in 2 Ways

Updated by Daisy on Mar 25, 2021
Written by Tracy King

What Is a Portable Windows 10/8/7

To make Windows portable indicates the operations of installing Windows on a portable USB drive, like a USB flash drive or external hard drive. By installing Windows on such a portable storage device, you make Windows portable, too. Then, by what means can you create a portable Windows USB? As you may know, you can either use the Windows built-in tool - Windows to Go or a third-party portable Windows creation tool.

Advantages of Creating a Portable Windows 10/8/7

The most obvious benefit you will experience is that you can use your personalized Windows with any computer you connect the USB drive to. Your workflow won't be disturbed by time or place since you can carry the system everywhere you go. Therefore, a portable Windows 10 provides you with consistent work, study, or recreation experience.

Besides, a portable Windows will significantly benefit you when the computer suffers from a boot failure. With portable Windows available, you can boot the computer successfully and then rescue your files.

What's more, creating a portable version of Windows is identical to make a backup of your operating system. When a system crash, boot failure, system corruption, or similar issue arises, an exact copy of your original OS will undoubtedly soothe your nerves.

Two Ways to Create Portable Windows 10/8/7

To create portable Windows 10/8/7, you should prepare:

  • A USB drive: USB flash drive, pen drive, or external hard drive (at least 16GB)
  • A functional computer

There are two typical ways: using Windows built-in tool - Windows to Go or third-party software. However, there is a crucial limit on the version of Windows supported by Windows to Go, which I'll explain later. Given that, you are highly recommended to create a portable Windows 10/8/7 third-party system backup software - EaseUS Todo Backup.

Method 1. Use EaseUS Todo Backup

EaseUS Todo Backup is a portable Windows creation and Windows backup tool. It makes Windows portable by cloning your system (including all the content on the system partition) onto the USB drive. That is to say, you can bring your system and files/applications on the system partition(s) together with you via the USB drive. Unlike using Windows to Go, EaseUS Todo Backup allows you to create portable Windows regardless of its edition. That makes it a more advisable choice for older Windows users and non-Windows Enterprise/Education users.

Download EaseUS Todo Backup now.

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A step-by-step guide to creating portable Windows on a USB drive:

USB requirements:

1. Check how much disk space is used for the system C drive. Let's assume 40GB. Then prepare a qualified USB drive, of which the disk capacity must be larger than 40GB.

2. Do you use an empty new USB drive or an old one? Make sure that all the important data has been safely transferred because the system clone will overwrite data on it completely.

3. Correctly connect the USB drive to your machine and make sure that Windows has detected it and assigned a drive letter to it.

Follow the overall process to create a portable Windows USB drive and boot from it:

Step 1. Launch EaseUS Todo Backup. Expand the menu and click "System Clone" in the lower position.

click system clone

Step 2. On the "System clone" window, the software will choose the system partition and boot partition by default. Just Choose the USB drive as the destination disk. 

Click on "Advanced options" and then "Create Portable Windows USB drive". Click "OK".

choose the usb drive to create a portable windows usb drive

Click "Proceed". The software will start immediately cloning the default partitions of your desktop/laptop to the USB drive. After the cloning process is over, you can safely plug the USB drive out.

start to create portable windows usb drive

Step 3. Boot from the USB drive.

  • Connect your portable USB to the computer
  • Restart the computer and press "Del" to enter BIOS
  • Set the PC to boot from the portable USB by changing the boot order in BIOS under the "Boot" tab
  • Save changes and you'll see your system booting up from the USB drive

You can also watch this video tutorial to learn how to create a portable Windows USB drive.

Now you've successfully created a portable Windows on your USB drive, and you can use it to run your system on any computer available. If you want to perform OS migration someday, you can use the same way above to finish the task.

Method 2. Use Windows to Go

Alternatively, you can also create a portable Windows 10/8 using Windows to Go. Windows to Go is a feature on these specific Windows editions to create a Windows to Go workspace on a USB drive. By booting a computer from the USB drive, you can use the Windows to Go workspace, which is the image of the system on which you create the portable Windows. However, there is a limit you can't ignore: Your computer must run Windows 8 Enterprise, Windows 10 Enterprise, or Windows 10 Education. If not, use the EaseUS backup utility instead.

For the detailed instructions on creating a portable Windows 10/8 on a USB, go to the official guide given by Microsoft.

Knowledge Base

For your information, there are two issues related to the current topic.

Install Windows on USB VS Install Windows from USB

Some users are confused about the differences between installing Windows on USB and installing Windows from USB. To install Windows on a USB drive is like what we do in this article: to create a portable Windows 10 on a qualified storage device. To install Windows from USB is to create Windows installation media that is used to install or reinstall Windows on a different PC. The installation media could be a USB flash drive or DVD. To create Windows installation media, you will need a PC, a USB flash drive/DVD, a Windows product key, and the media creation tool from Microsoft.

System Transfer

In addition to creating a portable Windows 10 on a USB drive, there is another way to use your system on another computer without reinstallation. That is to perform system transfer. Unlike applying the portable device, you can only use the original system on a target device. System transfer is especially suitable for you to switch from your old computer to your new one.

The Bottom Line

If you have checked both methods to create a portable Windows, you will find it's much simpler using EaseUS Todo Backup. Even if you set aside your current need, this tool is also an unmissable choice for you, given data loss occurs almost daily. If you search "recover lost data" on the internet, you will know how many people are troubled by various data losses. To nip data loss in the bud, your most workable solutions is to back up the important items regularly, be it your disk, partition, system, file, or more.

Hope the information above is useful to you.

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Updated by Daisy

Daisy is the Senior editor of the writing team for EaseUS. She has been working in EaseUS for over ten years, starting from a technical writer to a team leader of the content group. As a professional author for over 10 years, she writes a lot to help people overcome their tech troubles.

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Written by Tracy King

Tracy joined in EaseUS in 2013 and has been working with EaseUS content team for over 7 years. Being enthusiastic in computing and technology, she writes tech how-to articles and share technical solutions about Windows & Mac data recovery, file/system backup and recovery, partition management and iOS/Android data recovery.

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Product Reviews

TrustScore 4.7 | 47 reviews
  • Taking everything into consideration, we can say that EaseUS Todo Backup Home can offer you a little extra sense of security with a set of advanced tools. The interface provides quick adaptation, every process guiding you all the way through so you don't get stuck or further damage your system rather than keeping it safe.

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  • EaseUS Todo Backup Free lets you create backups of your important files or your entire computer through its streamlined interface. Just choose the backup type you'd like to get started, and let the program do the reset.

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  • EaseUS includes all the features I expect from backup software like versioning, incremental backups, and scheduling. For more advanced users, EaseUS allows you to install a pre-boot environment onto your hard drive so you can use it to restore files without burning a CD or putting it on an external USB drive.

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