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Windows 8 to Make USB Portable Workspace

By - Source: WinRumors | B 92 comments

Windows 8 on a stick.

Linux has had OS installations that reside on USB thumb drives for a while now, and it seems that Microsoft is going to be making Windows 8 able to do the same trick.

The early copy of Windows 8 that was leaked earlier this week – which turned out to be real – gave an early glimpse at a feature called "Portable Workspace Creator."

The feature is described as:

"Portable Workspace is a Windows feature that allows you to run Windows from a USB storage device."

Those wishing to make a Portable Workspace will need a USB stick with at lest 16 GB free.

It also lists a requirement of having access to Windows 8 Enterprise Edition installation files, so this could be a feature made for business IT and not just for personal users. Perhaps Microsoft is restricting it somehow over concerns of casual piracy.

Microsoft hasn't officially talked about this new feature at all, but hopefully it will detail Portable Workspace, as well as other features like History Vault, soon.

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  • 2 Hide
    fayzaan , April 18, 2011 2:35 PM
    oh mah god! WINDOWS ON THE GO!!! yes yes yes yes!!
  • 1 Hide
    bobusboy , April 18, 2011 2:39 PM
  • -3 Hide
    mobrocket , April 18, 2011 2:46 PM
    good job microsoft, copying from linux again...

  • 5 Hide
    Darkerson , April 18, 2011 3:06 PM
    mobrocketgood job microsoft, copying from linux again...

    Oh jeez, give it a rest. Who hasnt borrowed ideas from the competition at this point?
  • 3 Hide
    flightmare , April 18, 2011 3:14 PM
    mobrocketgood job microsoft, copying from linux again...

    Except for the fact this live image requires 16GB instead of
  • 1 Hide
    Anonymous , April 18, 2011 3:23 PM
    I dont think this is windows on the go like traditional portable OS, if i were a betting man this is more like a roaming profile on steroids, imagine working on an application, you need to show a college in another building something, you have to save all your documents, shutdown windows, go to his machine, copy all the documents start up the applications open the documents, it's a damn hassle, i had an idea a while back that it be nice if you could just save the state of your current work space go to another machine and deploy that workspace, now tie that into networked storage devices. You could almost eliminate the idea of employees having ownership of hardware assets

    it makes for some interesting scenarios
  • -1 Hide
    fuzzyplankton , April 18, 2011 3:25 PM
    16GB??? Ubuntu runs on a 1GB stick... Fail.
  • 0 Hide
    gracefully , April 18, 2011 3:39 PM
    I agree with MobileWorkSpace over there. I imagine it's like this: You plug the device before logging in, and another clickable user appears on the logon screen, which you can log on to and magically see your entire user profile there, down to the AppData folder. You probably won't boot from the portable drive, you'll merely store the user profile on it. And I imagine that at this point in time, 16GB is overprovisioned for testing purposes. Besides, 16GB flash disks are cheap, and 500GB portable HDDs aren't exactly expensive.
  • -2 Hide
    x3style , April 18, 2011 3:47 PM
    fuzzyplankton16GB??? Ubuntu runs on a 1GB stick... Fail.

    Yeah 1GB of useless stuff...
  • 0 Hide
    cadder , April 18, 2011 3:50 PM
    They need to change it so you can run programs from a USB drive.
  • 1 Hide
    Anonymous , April 18, 2011 3:53 PM
    thats WAY TOOO BIG.
    it will run and boot up reaaaaaaallly reaaally slow.
    and there is no way that u can copy it into the the time when windows 8 will be released.
  • 1 Hide
    dread_cthulhu , April 18, 2011 4:00 PM
    This will be awesome for corporate IT support. It would allow the IT dept. to lock out the default admin account and anytime anyone has a virus, rather than having to go in as a network admin and risk screwing up and leaving that access available or giving the virus netw, they can remove the system from the network, login with this feature, and kill the virus without ever removing a system from someone's workstation. Seems like, from the screenies, this is going to be a feature of the Enterprise Edition, which would make sense from my standpoint... Probably will be on the "Ultimate" edition too, which will let us nerds play with it.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , April 18, 2011 4:07 PM

    in fact with virtualization you could deploy direct to your college's desktop, you can use his existing logon to start a VM and deploy your workspace directly into that

    it be feature like this that would really make an enterprise edition more then just an OS with better network features, although they may have to slow it's development down a bit..... otherwise corporates might just skip win7 and jump straight to win8 lol
  • 0 Hide
    Horhe , April 18, 2011 4:09 PM
    I agree that 16 GB is way too much. There are fully functional Linux distros that can fit on a CD. While reading the title, for a moment I thought that Windows will return to the pre-Vista size. Even to this day I can't understand what and why Windows Vista / 7 features take up so much space compared to Windows XP.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , April 18, 2011 4:15 PM

    not required for a corporate setup, the majority of corporates would run a 80-90% homogenous setup, that is to say 80-90% of the applications would be on the majority of all the machines
  • 1 Hide
    visa , April 18, 2011 4:21 PM
    Since we don't have the details about this I think it's a little early to criticize the 16GB minimum size. I think some people here are just assuming it's a flat installation of Windows 8 but I'm not so sure.

    I tend to think of it more like MobileWorkSpace posted earlier. It's listed as a portable workspace but I would have to assume some of the user's files are going to be there in addition to the OS files. Maybe it will be like a portable, roaming profile. In that case the 16GB seems reasonable, especially if other programs move over with it.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , April 18, 2011 4:31 PM

    i dont believe it would be a stand alone win8 installation, it would probably utilize an existing win8 installation and inject itself into that

    in fact if you really think about it the possibilities are really interesting, the windows experience may come in two parts, the core would be installed onto a machine (whether x86 or ARM based), instead of logging in you would instead virtualize a workspace inside that core, the workspace would adapt based upon the core it has virtualized into, for instance a tablet would get cloud stuff, a desktop maybe gaming, it would mean a single profile that can roam across different hardware..... imagine a smartphone (easily have over 16GB of space) can be used to login and virtualize your workspace into any machine

    ok back to reality....
  • 0 Hide
    JackNSally , April 18, 2011 4:32 PM
    HorheEven to this day I can't understand what and why Windows Vista / 7 features take up so much space compared to Windows XP.

    Winsxs and drivers mainly.
  • 0 Hide
    Tomtompiper , April 18, 2011 4:55 PM
    x3styleYeah 1GB of useless stuff...

    Yes, useless stuff like video players, audio players, browsers and the like! But no anti-virus???? I wonder why? After taking two hours to "Fix" a friends laptop because he was stupid enough to click on a pop up window that offered a free anti-virus package I will stick with my useless Linux distribution and leave you to hours of jittery video and stalling programs because your computer is running a virus scan.
  • -1 Hide
    Blessedman , April 18, 2011 4:58 PM
    If Microsoft wanted to rule the world, they would give the OS away for free. Subsidizing the cost through development tools, office and an assortment of other products that will sell on their new OS. Either that or bump the price up $10-20 on the OS and give the development/productivity tools away. Microsoft had better change soon or they will find themselves living in a Linux world. Their (M$) business model is flawed in the fact that they are making the development tools for their OS prohibitively expensive. What makes an OS great isn't the OS itself, but the tools/games that are produced for it.
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