How to Run a Portable Version of Windows (And Why It’s Important)

By | August 5, 2022

Want to bring Windows, but don’t want to bring a laptop? Thanks to flash technology, you don’t have to. USB and HDMI devices can run Windows, and they’ll fit in your pocket when you’re done with work.

Here’s how you can take Windows with you wherever you go.

Why Do You Need Portable Windows?

Maybe you’re on your way somewhere and need a computer. Your laptop is too big; You have other luggage, and don’t want to pay the extra weight. Or maybe you have to give a presentation in a secure building and don’t have time to check bags.

Whatever the reason, bringing Windows with you is still an option. As long as you have access to a screen, keyboard and mouse, you’ll be able to stay productive wherever you are.

Windows 10 has several portability options available, which we’ll look at below. While neither is a complete replacement for your desktop or laptop, they are ideal for use in internet cafes, for hot-desking, or even in the library.

Method 1: Windows to Go

First, it’s a good idea to see what’s available from Microsoft. Windows to Go is a feature that allows you to write a copy of Windows to a USB stick. It can then be inserted into any computer and used as the primary boot device.

The advantage of this is that Windows to Go will save your state, so whatever data you are currently working on will be saved. Unfortunately, Windows to Go only works on Windows 10 Enterprise and Windows 10 Education. If you’re running Windows 10 Home, or like most people, or Windows 10 Pro, this won’t work for you.

Check out our Guide to setup Windows to Go will help you install a portable version of Windows 10 on your USB stick.

Method 2: EaseUs ToDo Backup

Backup utility software publisher EaseUs has provided an alternative for users who want to use Windows to Go but can’t.

EaseUs ToDo Backup is a general backup tool with the added functionality of creating a bootable operating system on a USB. You can create a complete clone of an existing Windows installation if your USB device is large enough — and take it with you.

The EaseUs solution will work on all versions of Windows 7, 8, and 10.

You can find a free version of ToDo Backup on the EaseUs website, which can be used to create a portable Windows drive.
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Just connect your drive to the computer and launch EaseUs ToDo Backup. Next, select System Clone, and select the destination disk (your USB device), making sure it has enough storage.

Click Advanced options, then check the box labeled Create a Portable Windows USB Drive. Click OK, then Continue.

Wait while the clone is created and written to your USB device. Eject the drive safely — ready to run on another computer!

Method 3: Continuum for Windows 10 Mobile

If you’re on a Windows 10 Mobile device, enjoy swapping, and don’t want to flash the operating system to a USB flash device, the Continuum feature is ideal.

It’s basically a system that changes the display output of your phone, depending on what’s connected to it. With a Windows 10 Mobile phone, you have two options: phone, and screen. Just connect a mouse and keyboard via Bluetooth, and the phone to a wireless HDMI device. Microsoft has also produced a special dock for this.

Once connected, your phone becomes a PC, with a standard Windows desktop, and access to all your apps and data. Better yet, the phone is still taking and receiving calls!

Only some Windows 10 Mobile devices are included with Continuum. These include the HP Elite x3, and the Microsoft Lumia 950, which, despite being a few years old, features excellent cameras.

Method 4: Intel Compute Stick and Clones

Instead of building your own portable PC with a stick, you can buy one too. Since 2015, Intel has been producing Compute sticks, small devices the size of a Google Chromecast, or Amazon Fire TV Stick, but with a full version of Windows pre-installed.

All you need to do is plug the device into your display’s HDMI port, and turn it on. With a Bluetooth mouse and keyboard connected, you’ll be ready to get to work.

The Intel Compute stick comes with the same advantages over USB devices. This will save the data you created, ready to be accessed again later.

Though compact, these small computers feature either Atom or Core M series processors, at prices for all budgets. Intel is not the only manufacturer of such devices, although they are the most well-known.

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