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Can you provision desktop apps with Windows To Go?

It's OK to install desktops applications on a Windows To Go image, as long as they're small enough to fit on the USB drive and can run locally.

You can include desktop applications in Windows To Go images, but there's a catch: The applications must be small enough to fit within the flash drive's limited capacity.

Windows To Go lets you create a fully functional Windows deployment on a USB flash drive. You can do anything with Windows To Go that you can do with a normal Windows installation, including installing applications. The only real limit is the flash drive's capacity, but it's a good idea to include only applications that can run locally, because there is no guarantee that a Windows To Go user will always have access to network resources.

It is relatively common for Windows To Go images to contain Office applications, Web browsers, remote desktop clients or other types of applications. As long as you adhere to the above advice, applications actually work quite well within Windows To Go.

Why use Windows To Go?

The main advantage to using Windows To Go is operating system (and application) portability.

Today, many users work remotely, and it is common for them to connect to the corporate network from their home computer using a virtual private network (VPN). VPN connectivity is not without risk, however. Users' personal computers reside outside your control, and they may run an outdated OS or be infested with malware. Home PCs might even lack the applications users need to do their jobs.

Windows To Go solves these problems. As long as the user's personal computer adheres to minimum hardware requirements, he can insert a USB flash drive and boot a fully provisioned corporate desktop before he establishes connectivity to the corporate environment.

Windows To Go doesn't access the computer's local hard disk, so there is no risk of malware spreading from the user's personal computer to the Windows To Go flash drive. It also does not matter if the user doesn't have the applications he needs for work on his personal PC because you can install those specific apps on the Windows To Go drive.

Next Steps

Keep Windows To Go safe with BitLocker

How does Windows To Go compare to desktop virtualization?

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