I’ve been doing a lot of Work with Windows to Go lately and have had to look into aligning it with Corporate processes. This biggest one of course is trying to align it with Configuration Manager 2012 (and higher)
I have encountered two key problems.
The first is Microsoft does NOT allow you to target a USB Hard disk (which is the configuration used for Windows To Go) as a target environment. As a result using a Task Sequence to build the media is an issue.
Or so it would seem. Microsoft DOES provide an article to Deploy using a Pre-staged Wim file but it is flawed and will NOT work with Windows To Go.
I can immediately see a lot of people saying “No, it works” and then again, you haven’t actually tried the process.
The pre-staging of a WIM file and dropping it to the media SHOULD work in normal cases but the article needs an update for it to work.
For the Pre-Stage to work, Windows PE (which is an isolated O/S) must be able to see the Operating System drive (Letters must be assigned).
But by DEFAULT Windows PE (and any OTHER Windows Operating System) cannot see the Windows O/S from Windows PE because in it’s native state the Drive Letters are not assigned.
As a result, when you start into the Task Sequence for Configuration Manager it cannot see it’s data files to continue the Task Sequence.
The second problem is the Microsoft process ALSO does not set the boot order properly, so that dropped image automatically boots into Windows PE (As it should), it boots into Windows 10, Windows 8 or Windows 8.1 (Whatever your provisioned Task Sequence is meant to create)
Here is an article which shows what needs to happen in a normal Prestaged environment to get it working.
Please note the article from Microsoft for Deploying Windows To Go with Configuration Manager 2012 ALSO does not cover this critical step.
The correct answer (I am putting this together as I type) is to merge all the processes with an additional change, that you do NOT use the WTGCreator.exe. You need control over the SanPolicy which controls the drive assignment option in a Mounted Windows to Go environment. Here is the proposed process.
- Follow instructions as per MSFT for Configuration Manager 2012 R2 with some changes
- Modify the Task Sequence with an additional Step to apply the SanPolicy to the mounted Operating System when a variable called “WTGWIM” exists
- In the Prestaged WIM creator provide an additional custom Variable, call it “WTGWIM” (or something like that) and give it a Value of True or 1
- Substitute the use of WTGCreator.exe with a Custom PowerShell script to do the same thing (including applying the PreStaged Wim file) but do NOT apply the SAN Policy
- Add in the changes from the earlier article to force the WinPE environment to boot to properly trigger the task Sequence.
In the new Workflow what should happen is this
- Task Sequence is prestaged to the Windows To Go media
- Windows PE boots and since the San Policy is NOT applied it CAN see the needed content to launch the Sequence
- Special entry in the Task Sequence (near the end) turns on the San Policy and properly locks the Windows To Go environment
I’ll sit down and work with this later on to try and provide the needed results. Hopefully somebody from Microsoft sees this and trumps me to save me some time
The Energized Tech