News How to Run Windows 11 on a USB Drive (and Take it With You)

USAFRet

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And how activation will work then? Microsoft Account?
That's what it appears to be.
Licensed to you, not necessarily the hardware.

Hence:
"Click on Setup my PIN on the login screen to start the verification process. "

And then - "Send a verification email..." blah blah

So, not as seamless as "Plug into any random system and just go".
You NEED that license tied to you first.
 

USAFRet

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That's strange because Microsoft software is supposed to be keyed to the motherboard...and why I had to buy Office again after I swapped motherboards...
No, this is why you can transfer a Windows license between systems.

Since v1607 in Win 10, this has been a thing:
For the OS activation, read and do this before you change any parts:
https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/20530/windows-10-reactivating-after-hardware-change

The license is also to you, not just the motherboard.

Office?
Completely different, and depends on how you acquired the license for it.
 
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Yandex63

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I tried this on a 128gb PNY drive, and have some questions... First, when I tried to boot to the drive/Win11, It gave me errors for the computer not being UEFI bios. Does that mean that any machine I try to run the Win11 portable version on must have the same specs required for installing it on a computer?? I had assumed (possibly wrongly) that because in Rufus/Image Option, it had the following "Extended Windows 11 Installation (no TPM, no Secure Boot/8GB Ram)?? I'm going to wipe the USB drive and try again to see if I missed something. Advice is welcome!

Also, I've not upgraded any of my machines to Win11 yet, because all of them are MBR/Legacy. I've read a number of articles on how to convert to UEFI/GPT, but they all focus on converting the drives, and experience has taught me that those types of "how tos" always seem to leave out one or two critical steps... which in turn usually takes me down a rabbit hole of fixes that lasts for hours or days. That being said, can anyone direct me to a true "step by step" guide on how to convert an existing Win10 installation to UEFI/GPT WITHOUT LOOSING DATA?

Many Thanks!
 

USAFRet

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I tried this on a 128gb PNY drive, and have some questions... First, when I tried to boot to the drive/Win11, It gave me errors for the computer not being UEFI bios. Does that mean that any machine I try to run the Win11 portable version on must have the same specs required for installing it on a computer?? I had assumed (possibly wrongly) that because in Rufus/Image Option, it had the following "Extended Windows 11 Installation (no TPM, no Secure Boot/8GB Ram)?? I'm going to wipe the USB drive and try again to see if I missed something. Advice is welcome!

Also, I've not upgraded any of my machines to Win11 yet, because all of them are MBR/Legacy. I've read a number of articles on how to convert to UEFI/GPT, but they all focus on converting the drives, and experience has taught me that those types of "how tos" always seem to leave out one or two critical steps... which in turn usually takes me down a rabbit hole of fixes that lasts for hours or days. That being said, can anyone direct me to a true "step by step" guide on how to convert an existing Win10 installation to UEFI/GPT WITHOUT LOOSING DATA?

Many Thanks!
Any system must be already WIn 11 capable. You can't run this on just anything.

Convert to GPT?
Well...data loss should never be an issue, because you DO have full drive backups, right?

MBR2GPT
https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/deployment/mbr-to-gpt

Never go down a path like that without a known good backup, and know how to recover.
 

Yandex63

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Thank you! I guess I assumed when I read the "no TPM, no Secure boot/8GB Ram" it would run on/in that situation.... guess not, ;)

I do have have full backups, but, if I can avoid the hassles of going through a recovery I'd certainly prefer that route.

USAFRet? Me too! 22 years, 8 months. Only regret was not staying till 24. ;)

Forgot one thing that is still a bit muddy..... So once the conversion is complete, the next steps are a reboot into bios, and change settings to Secure Boot and UEFI? Is that correct? Any little thing I'm missing? Those "little things" are what always seems to jump up and bite me. :)
 

USAFRet

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The backups are for when an Oops happens.
No matter how careful we are, things can and do go wrong.
A good backup will allow 100% recovery.

For your 'next steps'...I think that is correct.

But remember...running a WIndows OS from a USB is substandard performance. It will be markedly slower.


And thank YOU...;)
 
Jan 9, 2022
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All worked well until I tried to update windows. Said I did not meet minimum hardware requirements and needed to be part of Windows Insider program.
 
Jan 9, 2022
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All worked well until I tried to update windows. Said I did not meet minimum hardware requirements and needed to be part of Windows Insider program.
From what I am seeing so far a lot of us with oldler PC's, ones that came equipped with Windows 7, will be stuck with Windows 10 until it goes away, then if we still want to use the PC, we will go to a Linux system.
 

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