Physical Windows 2 Go USB as a VM via USB redirection


  1. Posts : 11,247
    Windows / Linux : Arch Linux
       #1

    Physical Windows 2 Go USB as a VM via USB redirection


    Hi folks

    Thanks @NavyLCDR for supplying a Free method for getting a Windows system to work perfectly as a USB device.
    In KVM you can use the USB as a physical USB and boot from it - so You've got essentially a "Clone" of your Windows system with all the Native Windows drivers.

    Note though to make Graphics work "Natively" you will need to "pass thru" a graphics port or your graphics driver will still be the "Virtualised one" that Windows picks up - in some cases you might just be left with a blank screen. You should also enable the "Virtualised" network drivers for full network connectivity. You can "Inject" the Virtio graphic drivers to your Windows system if there's a problem with graphics -- boot up "Native", mount the vio drivers iso (get from the fedora site) and run the install.

    I'm using a USBC / USB 3.1 Nvme adapter and it works perfectly !! - This type of approach is good also if you don't have a huge amount of spare storage (HDD/SSD) and want to try out various versions of Windows -- By doing this type of thing you are essentially running your Windows system on "Bare Metal" avoiding any HOST OS overhead.

    I'm not sure whether VBOX or VMWare allows direct boot of physical USB devices - but KVM does. Not sure about HYPER-V either - perhaps someone experienced with HYPER-V could answer if a VM on HYPER-V can boot from a physical USB device.

    (Reasons for doing this - to avoid "Dual booting", saves creating Windows VM images, and also you can run concurrent physical VM's too if your hardware is powerful enough to do it - so this isn't IMO as bonkers as it seems).

    As a VM it also avoids having to be re-activated if moved to different machines - I've had this running on both INTEL and AMD processor systems.

    Here's W2K19 server cludged a bit to function as a workstation running as a physical W2GO USB machine on KVM/QEMU. Working perfectly and fast !! (actually faster than my Native W10 system !!!) - W2K19 server though is really "Mean and Lean" compared with the consumer versions of Windows..

    Physical Windows 2 Go USB as a VM via USB redirection-screenshot_20210311_080806.png

    Cheers
    jimbo
      My Computer


  2. Posts : 1,323
    Windows 11 Pro 64-bit
       #2

    jimbo45 said:
    Thanks @NavyLCDR for supplying a Free method for getting a Windows system to work perfectly as a USB device.
    Since I don't have a clue to what that actually is, I'm wondering: is that some kind of Windows To Go?
    Worked back in the Win 8.1 days, now I believe only via Win 10 Enterprise possible...

    jimbo45 said:
    Note though to make Graphics work "Natively" you will need to "pass thru" a graphics port or your graphics driver will still be the "Virtualised one" that Windows picks up - in some cases you might just be left with a blank screen. You should also enable the "Virtualised" network drivers for full network connectivity. You can "Inject" the Virtio graphic drivers to your Windows system if there's a problem with graphics -- boot up "Native", mount the vio drivers iso (get from the fedora site) and run the install.
    That "pass thru" is still a no go on my laptop but the "virtualized one" that works best on Windows is the QXL. We're still hoping for someone to make a virtio graphics adapter driver on Windows.
    GitHub - Keenuts/virtio-gpu-win-icd: OpenGL ICD for Virtio-GPU Windows driver
    jimbo45 said:
    I'm not sure whether VBOX or VMWare allows direct boot of physical USB devices - but KVM does. Not sure about HYPER-V either - perhaps someone experienced with HYPER-V could answer if a VM on HYPER-V can boot from a physical USB device.
    VBOX: I haven't tested recently. last time I checked the usb redirection worked fine but with no boot options for this devices.
    VMWare: You know it better than me, if I recall correctly you posted a while back that it was possible to boot usb devices.
    Hyper-V: We need the experienced ones, if possible, via powershell command line. Via the GUI you can add a disk that is connected via usb (make it offline in devmgmt first) but no flash sticks, a real storage disk like via sata2usb controller or external hdd.
      My Computers


  3. Posts : 11,247
    Windows / Linux : Arch Linux
    Thread Starter
       #3

    Hopachi said:
    Since I don't have a clue to what that actually is, I'm wondering: is that some kind of Windows To Go?
    Worked back in the Win 8.1 days, now I believe only via Win 10 Enterprise possible...


    That "pass thru" is still a no go on my laptop but the "virtualized one" that works best on Windows is the QXL. We're still hoping for someone to make a virtio graphics adapter driver on Windows.
    GitHub - Keenuts/virtio-gpu-win-icd: OpenGL ICD for Virtio-GPU Windows driver

    VBOX: I haven't tested recently. last time I checked the usb redirection worked fine but with no boot options for this devices.
    VMWare: You know it better than me, if I recall correctly you posted a while back that it was possible to boot usb devices.
    Hyper-V: We need the experienced ones, if possible, via powershell command line. Via the GUI you can add a disk that is connected via usb (make it offline in devmgmt first) but no flash sticks, a real storage disk like via sata2usb controller or external hdd.


    Hi there
    @Hopachi

    That's a mis-conception -- You can create a FREE windows to go - for any version of Windows from its install iso -- the resulting Windows is a full (not a WinPE type of system) Windows installation and can run entirely from the external USB device - even if there are no internal HDD's or they are broken. All normal Windows functions e.g updates, installs etc are available.

    Linux systems have been able to run off external devices for years -- so with a bit of fiddling with the boot manager you can do this for Windows too.

    This old thread still works.

    Create Free Windows to Go system on ext USB/SSD disks (UEFI system)

    Note also plenty of Virtio drivers for Windows and Windows server editions -- download the virtio iso from fedora.

    Installing Virtio Drivers In Windows On KVM

    Cheers
    jimbo
      My Computer


  4. Posts : 1,323
    Windows 11 Pro 64-bit
       #4

    OK
    @jimbo45
    Thanks for the links!

    I'm curious to try the W10 booting usb stuff.
    As for the virtio drivers, I got them right the last time you mentioned those, but it's good to see some specific W10 VM configs out there to further tweak what I got running.

    Cheers!
      My Computers


  5. Posts : 11,247
    Windows / Linux : Arch Linux
    Thread Starter
       #5

    Hopachi said:
    OK
    @jimbo45
    Thanks for the links!

    I'm curious to try the W10 booting usb stuff.
    As for the virtio drivers, I got them right the last time you mentioned those, but it's good to see some specific W10 VM configs out there to further tweak what I got running.

    Cheers!
    Hi there
    For creating USB windows 2 go of the server editions servers you might need to convert the install.esd into install.wim if there's no install.wim file.

    Get the version you want first (index nr)

    e.g run as admin / elevated command mode

    dism /Get-WimInfo /WimFile:install.esd

    In my case the W2K19 server edition I wanted was index=2

    then as admin simply run
    c:\esd>dism /export-image /SourceImageFile:install.esd /SourceIndex:2 /DestinationImageFile:install.wim /Compress:max /CheckIntegrity

    It should start as follows -- note ensure caps in the right place such as I in image not i otherwise confusing errors.

    Deployment Image Servicing and Management tool
    Version: 10.0.19041.844

    Exporting image
    [== 4.0%

    when done either use wim file "as is" from new directory or if you want to update the iso for future uses copy the install.wim back into the sources file, create new iso and then proceed as before.


    Cheers
    jimbo
      My Computer


 

  Related Discussions
Our Sites
Site Links
About Us
Windows 10 Forums is an independent web site and has not been authorized, sponsored, or otherwise approved by Microsoft Corporation. "Windows 10" and related materials are trademarks of Microsoft Corp.

Designer Media Ltd
All times are GMT -5. The time now is 10:56.
Find Us




Windows 10 Forums