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My computer thinks it's a Windows To Go computer but it's not...

    Question

  • Help!  Somehow my computer running W8 for the last 4 weeks now thinks it's a Windows To Go machine.  I have no clue what I did to cause this but I would like to know how to put it back to normal. 

    Thanks

    Tuesday, October 16, 2012 7:59 PM

Answers

  • MS created a KB article about the issue:

    In Windows 8 multiple operations fail if non-WTG installs are configured as Windows To Go installation

    https://support.microsoft.com/kb/2778881/en-us


    "A programmer is just a tool which converts caffeine into code"

    Saturday, February 16, 2013 7:07 AM

All replies

  • I'm having the exact same problem. I've fully formatted my hard-drive and it still says it's a "windows to go machine". When I plug an External or a USB into my machine and then unplug it, it crashes. So annoying. Someone find a solution, please?!
    Tuesday, October 16, 2012 8:23 PM
  • Follow these steps to delete the Windows To Go registry value:

      • Open regedit.exe
      • Browse to: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control
      • Delete this value: PortableOperatingSystem

    You will most probably notice that the issue reappears when you connect a particular USB drive to the PC. Subsequent removal of that drive will cause the PC to crash. This is happening because the unique IDs of the USB disk and the internal HDD are the same. The easiest way to fix this issue is to "clean" the disk. A clean will destroy all data on the disk, so back it up first.

    1. Open diskpart.exe
    2. Type "list disk" to determine the disk number of the USB disk.
    3. Type "select disk #", where # is the disk number you determined.
    4. Type "clean".
    5. Type "exit".

    Restart your PC. You can use diskmgmt.msc or diskpart.exe to repartition your USB drive to resume using it normally.

    Wednesday, October 17, 2012 5:10 PM
  • How in the world does Windows 8 wind up thinking that the internal drive and the USB drive have the same Unique ID???  That kinda seems like a MASSIVE flaw.  MS is going to have a major problem on their hands if this starts happening to people.  I NEVER set my computer to be a 'to go' computer. 

    How do I determine WHICH usb drive/device is the same??  There's got to be a way to find this out. 

    • Proposed as answer by SFKO Wednesday, February 20, 2013 11:34 PM
    Tuesday, October 23, 2012 9:26 PM
  • did you have any usb sticks installed when you installed 8?


    Windows MVP, XP, Vista, 7 and 8. More people have climbed Everest than having 3 MVP's on the wall.

    Hardcore Games, Legendary is the only Way to Play

    Developer | Windows IT | Chess | Economics | Vegan Advocate | PC Reviews

    Tuesday, October 30, 2012 3:02 AM
  • Uh I'm having this same issue today after charging my Nook device using my newly upgraded Windows 8 laptop. This is a huge flaw! All seemed normal until I unplugged the device from my laptop last night after charging was complete and Windows crashed. Now today I can't access the "store" because now my laptop believes its a Windows to Go device. 
    Wednesday, October 31, 2012 5:27 PM
  • I don't know if I did or not.  Whether I did or not, this is a massive flaw and there needs to be a way to put it back without rebuilding it.  Masking it with Rahuls answer worked, but I just know it's going to come back to be a problem at some point.
    Wednesday, October 31, 2012 5:30 PM
  • Rahul's post will stop the message and fix the store.  It doesn't 'fix' the actual problem though. 
    Wednesday, October 31, 2012 5:30 PM
  • I have NO idea what made my Windows 8 Pro believe it was set for Windows To Go, which I thought was for Windows 8 Enterprise and that you have a bootable USB3 device, none of which applies to my configuration.  I have a USB2 Readyboost stick and my Windows phone is connected via a USB2 connection.  This issue has really set me off.

    - Michael Faklis

    Wednesday, October 31, 2012 11:00 PM
  • Steps to determine the disk unique ID:

    1. Open diskpart.exe
    2. Type "list disk" to determine the disks in the system.
    3. Type "select disk #", to select a disk.
    4. Type "unique disk", to view the unique ID of the selected disk.

    If you are consistently able to reproduce the issue with a particular USB device, use the above steps to determine if there is a disk collision.

    Thursday, November 01, 2012 5:49 AM
  • Bravo Rahul!

    This not only fixed the bogus Windows to Go problem I was getting, but al fixed the bogus assertion in Windows 7 Recovery that mine was a portable environment.


    - Michael Faklis

    Thursday, November 01, 2012 1:40 PM
  • Deleting that reg key fixed! 

    Now I have an idea on why this issue happened.  I did a Complete PC Restore to another drive.  Then I attached my other drive containing the same OS through a USB interface (in order to wipe it).  I imagine that a disk collision, see here, took place and made Windows upset. 

    Anyways, much more at ease now that I can run a system image backup again :D


    MCITP Windows 7 MCTS Windows Server 2008

    Thursday, November 01, 2012 2:20 PM
  • @GregT8_at_Catapult

    To confirm, is this what you did?

    1. Perform complete PC backup of your harddisk (A) to some other disk (B).
    2. Restore backup image on B to another disk (C).
    3. Connect C to system that contains harddisk A.

    Thursday, November 01, 2012 3:53 PM
  • Hey Rahul,

    Almost correct.  Here's what I did:

    1.  Perform complete PC backup of hard disk A to another disk B
    2.  Restore backup image on B to another disk C
    3.  Connect disk A via USB to a system running off of disk C

    Does that make sense?


    MCITP Windows 7 MCTS Windows Server 2008

    Thursday, November 01, 2012 4:35 PM
  • OK, just slightly off.

    By complete PC backup, are you referring to Windows 7 complete PC backup feature, or a third-party solution?

    Thursday, November 01, 2012 7:52 PM
  • @Michael Faklis, are you hitting this issue again when you use your ReadyBoost drive and/or Windows phone?
    Thursday, November 01, 2012 7:53 PM
  • @TanyaMS

    After following the instructions posted above to delete the registry value, does it reappear on connecting your Nook?

    Thursday, November 01, 2012 7:55 PM
  • Hey Rahul,

    I'm referring to the Windows 7 complete PC backup feature (i.e. Windows 7 File Recovery control panel applet in Windows 8).


    MCITP Windows 7 MCTS Windows Server 2008

    Friday, November 02, 2012 1:54 PM
  • I haven't had a reoccurrence.  I did follow your advice and cleaned all of my spare disks.

    I do have a 2-drive USB3/SATA caddy which I use for backups drives.  I remember backing up a drive I was having problems with and then doing a restore to another drive.  That was a month ago, and the problem I encountered was just a few days ago.


    - Michael Faklis

    Friday, November 02, 2012 10:02 PM
  • disconnect any usb storage as its likely there is a conflict


    Windows MVP, XP, Vista, 7 and 8. More people have climbed Everest than having 3 MVP's on the wall.

    Hardcore Games, Legendary is the only Way to Play

    Developer | Windows IT | Chess | Economics | Vegan Advocate | PC Reviews

    Friday, November 02, 2012 10:26 PM
  • did you have any usb sticks installed when you installed 8?

    ... in my case (and I think others had the same) i restored from the USB drive that is causing the issue.
    Sunday, November 11, 2012 12:10 PM
  • Follow these steps to delete the Windows To Go registry value:

      • Open regedit.exe
      • Browse to: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control
      • Delete this value: PortableOperatingSystem

    You will most probably notice that the issue reappears when you connect a particular USB drive to the PC. Subsequent removal of that drive will cause the PC to crash. This is happening because the unique IDs of the USB disk and the internal HDD are the same. The easiest way to fix this issue is to "clean" the disk. A clean will destroy all data on the disk, so back it up first.

    1. Open diskpart.exe
    2. Type "list disk" to determine the disk number of the USB disk.
    3. Type "select disk #", where # is the disk number you determined.
    4. Type "clean".
    5. Type "exit".

    Restart your PC. You can use diskmgmt.msc or diskpart.exe to repartition your USB drive to resume using it normally.

    in my case the problematic usb drive is listed as "Offline" and as such I can't "clean" since diskpart says that it is not allowed...
    Sunday, November 11, 2012 12:12 PM
  • There is not need to CLEAN any disk!

    You can simply plug the USB drive that has the same unique id of your internal drivers and that is causing the porblem, and use diskpart to change its unique id:

    • Open diskpart.exe
    • Type "list disk" to determine the disk number of the USB disk.
    • Type "select disk #", where # is the disk number you determined.
    • Type "unique disk id=XXXXXXX"
    • Type "exit".

    replace XXXXXXX with a valid unique id. I got the internal drive unique id and incremented the value by 1 (it was 21454B89 and used 21454B8A for the usb drive).

    Sunday, November 11, 2012 8:56 PM
  • its easier to use the disk manager to clean up a problematic volume


    Windows MVP, XP, Vista, 7 and 8. More people have climbed Everest than having 3 MVP's on the wall.

    Hardcore Games, Legendary is the only Way to Play

    Developer | Windows IT | Chess | Economics | Vegan Advocate | PC Reviews

    Sunday, November 11, 2012 9:47 PM
  • hi Rahul!

    in my case the problem is, that there's no such a value as "PortableOperatingSystem", i checked the unique id of the drives and they are different (my old hdd connected via usb).  I still can't create a disk image or access windows store, because it says that it's windows to go version (but it's not - it's windows 8 pro in fact) although it's my internal and the only ssd drive 

    Thursday, November 15, 2012 9:44 AM
  • hi Rahul!

    in my case the problem is, that there's no such a value as "PortableOperatingSystem", i checked the unique id of the drives and they are different (my old hdd connected via usb).  I still can't create a disk image or access windows store, because it says that it's windows to go version (but it's not - it's windows 8 pro in fact) although it's my internal and the only ssd drive 


    I have the same problem. There is no "PortableOperatingSystem" value in my computer's registry.
    Tuesday, November 27, 2012 8:46 PM
  • Are you sure? Try running:

    reg query HKLM\System\CurrentControlSet\Control /v PortableOperatingSystem

    Saturday, December 01, 2012 1:49 AM
  • is everyone using windows 8 enterprise


    Windows MVP, XP, Vista, 7 and 8. More people have climbed Everest than having 3 MVP's on the wall.

    Hardcore Games, Legendary is the only Way to Play

    Developer | Windows IT | Chess | Economics | Vegan Advocate | PC Reviews

    Saturday, December 01, 2012 1:53 AM
  • Are you sure? Try running:

    reg query HKLM\System\CurrentControlSet\Control /v PortableOperatingSystem

    Rahul, hi again. I think you've been somewere abroad because it took you quite a long time to answer.

    But anyway, for everyone whom rahul's reply wasn't enough i've got to say i found the solution (based on what rahul wrote but not exactly).

    so the most imprtant thing is, that there can be a situation that there is no value "PortableOperatingSystem" (on a path that rahul and your comd promt indicated). then, you should go again to regedit.exe and then (while you are still in regedit.exe) type the shortcut ctrl+f, or you can find that option also in the upper left corner in "edition" or something like that, next to "file". i found one value containing  HKLM\System\CurrentControlSet\Control /v PortableOperatingSystem and i deleted it. turned the computer off and on again, but it didn't help (still coudn't access app store and so on), so i entered regedit.exe again, and i  searched (ctrl+f) for it again. this time value PortableOperatingSystem looked different, but i deleted it anyway. turned the computer off and on again, and at last i did. now i can create disc image or access app store. 

    the end of story. i hope it will help someone. 

    Saturday, December 01, 2012 1:07 PM
  • This last solution worked for me. Had installed w8 on laptop and netbook with usb drive and kept getting an annoying  notification that "backup not available in a portable workstation environment". However after finding "portableoperatingsystem" with the registry search, deleted same and now all ok. Notification no longer appears and also I can backup. Many thanks.  FYI Rahul, the path you gave to "portableoperatingsystem" was not in my system w8 pro.
    Tuesday, December 04, 2012 1:56 PM
  • Do you remember where exactly you found the PortableOperatingSystem value?
    Wednesday, December 05, 2012 5:27 PM
  • Rahul, regretfully no since I deleted it.

    However on using the procedure posted by windows 8 user 1, it brought it up as he stated.

    Could be it was "HKLM\System\CurrentControlSet\Control /v PortableOperatingSystem but not sure. the "v" seems to throw things.

    This solved the problem on two systems  mentioned in my post on the first deletion without the restart and second deletion.

    none of the diskpart options worked.

    Regards David

    Wednesday, December 05, 2012 7:07 PM
  • Rahul, additionally using reg scanner, i can not find this string in a system that did not have the portable workspace problem in the first place!!!
    Wednesday, December 05, 2012 7:35 PM
  • Same problem.  As best as I can remember this is what led up to the problem:

    1) Upgraded from Windows 7 Home to Windows 8 Pro.

    2) Used "Intel® Data Migration Software powered by Acronis" to clone HDD to SSD.

    3) Installed SSD.

    4) Booted Windows 8 Installer from flash drive to Automatically Repair, a couple of times.

    5) At one point noticed PC booted into System on SSD but with USB marked as Active partition.

    6) Would not boot from USB flash drive, missing file.

    7) Booted fine from SSD.

    8) Found error reports that I'm running windows to go, and functionality is restricted.

    PC is a Lenovo Z580 Laptop
    Friday, December 07, 2012 6:38 PM
  • In point (5): Do you mean you saw "Active" on one of the USB partitions in diskmgmt.msc? That is expected, because your USB drive is bootable. It would be surprising if you also saw "Boot" or "System".

    Once you cloned your HDD onto your SSD, did you ever connect both the drives to the same system, maybe using a USB enclosure?

    Friday, December 07, 2012 7:26 PM
  • Chris, have you tried the previously posted solution?

    This worked on two separate systems for me

    quote

    you should go again to regedit.exe and then (while you are still in regedit.exe) type the shortcut ctrl+f, or you can find that option also in the upper left corner in "edition" or something like that, next to "file". i found one value containing  HKLM\System\CurrentControlSet\Control /v PortableOperatingSystem and i deleted it. turned the computer off and on again, but it didn't help (still coudn't access app store and so on), so i entered regedit.exe again, and i  searched (ctrl+f) for it again. this time value PortableOperatingSystem looked different, but i deleted it anyway. turned the computer off and on again, and at last i did. now i can create disc image or access app store.

    Saturday, December 08, 2012 2:46 PM
  • You need only  change key value PortableOperatingSystem 1 to 0, and it`s work :)

    Tuesday, January 08, 2013 11:09 AM
  • Tank's for your help.

    I have deleted "PortableOperatingSystem" (value = 1) and, now, my pc run without any problem (don't crash when use an USB external HD).

    The key was located in "HKLM\system\Controlset001\control\" and "HKLM\system\CurrentControlSet\control\".

    Saturday, January 19, 2013 1:33 PM
  • Hi, there.

    The Windows Team has released an update on Feb 12 that will prevent the Disk ID collision, so anyone who installs the update and get an ID Collision after that, will not have this issue. However the update will not fix the problem to anyone who is facing it in this moment. They will have to clean the disk and delete the PortableOperatingSystem key as Rahul described.

    So go to Windows Update!

    Friday, February 15, 2013 3:54 PM
  • MS created a KB article about the issue:

    In Windows 8 multiple operations fail if non-WTG installs are configured as Windows To Go installation

    https://support.microsoft.com/kb/2778881/en-us


    "A programmer is just a tool which converts caffeine into code"

    Saturday, February 16, 2013 7:07 AM
  • I ma having this problem but that reg key does not exist on my machine. Any idea's?
    Sunday, July 21, 2013 4:49 PM
  • every rig is different so some keys may or not be present

    you can add the key if you believe it will useful

    I installed Windows 8.1 on the workbox yesterday and it thinks I have a touch screen, when all I have is a wacom pad



    Corsair Carbide 300R with window & Corsair TX850V2 70A@12V

    Asus M5A99FX PRO R2.0 CFX/SLI & AMD Phenom II 965 C3 Black Edition @ 4.0 GHz & G.SKILL RipjawsX DDR3-2133 8 GB 

    GTX 260 SLI 216 core (GT200 Tesla) & Asus PA238QR IPS LED HDMI DP 1080p

    ST2000DM001 & Windows 7 x64 Enterprise

    Microsoft Wireless Desktop 2000 & Wacom Bamboo CHT470M

    Place your rig specifics into your signature like I have, makes it 100x easier to understand!


    Hardcore Games, Legendary is the Only Way to Play

    Sunday, July 21, 2013 8:03 PM
  • this method 

    • Open regedit.exe
    • Browse to: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control
    • Delete this value: PortableOperatingSystem

    works for me but i don't delete just change dword value from 1 to 0 :) tnx for your help i can access my windows volume disk from ubuntu :)

    Wednesday, September 11, 2013 9:23 PM
  • I had the same problem. 

    Removing the PortableOperatingSystem value fixed it.

    In my case I think the thing that caused this bug to hit me was I upgraded my motherboard the other day. I had to call MS support and re-do product activation. I think this happened as a result of the activation step.

    Note that this problem also appears to cause the Windows 8.1 setup disc to prevent you from upgrading from Windows 8.0. Before I fixed this (removing the reg value) I could not upgrade to 8.1; setup told me I could not upgrade a USB disc!


    Windows Home Server Team

    Friday, September 13, 2013 2:57 AM
  • i installed 8.1 rtm 3 days ago, clean fresh install, works fine so far


    Corsair Carbide 300R with window & Corsair TX850V2 70A@12V

    Asus M5A99FX PRO R2.0 CFX/SLI & AMD Phenom II 965 C3 Black Edition @ 4.0 GHz & G.SKILL RipjawsX DDR3-2133 8 GB 

    GTX 260 SLI 216 core (GT200 Tesla) & Asus PA238QR IPS LED HDMI DP 1080p

    ST2000DM001 & Windows 8.1 Enterprise x64

    Microsoft Wireless Desktop 2000 & Wacom Bamboo CHT470M

    Place your rig specifics into your signature like I have, makes it 100x easier to understand!


    Hardcore Games Legendary is the Only Way to Play

    • Proposed as answer by Bob Grosh Thursday, October 31, 2013 10:14 PM
    Friday, September 13, 2013 3:02 AM
  • In my case I did some drive cloning with a USB drive, I assume that's where this registry key came from and it just needed to be cleared out once I booted to the internal drive.
    Thursday, September 26, 2013 1:08 PM
  • In my case I did some drive cloning with a USB drive, I assume that's where this registry key came from and it just needed to be cleared out once I booted to the internal drive.

    cloning does not change the registry, its a simple 1:1 copy that is a popular backup method

    I do it more piecemeal with my BD-R drive where I archive games, for example, that I have downloaded

    I use 7-zip to backup libraries to a server (shared disk is a NAS equaivalent)


    Corsair Carbide 300R with window
    Corsair TX850V2 70A@12V
    Asus M5A99FX PRO R2.0 CFX/SLI
    AMD Phenom II 965 C3 Black Edition @ 4.0 GHz
    G.SKILL RipjawsX DDR3-2133 8 GB
    EVGA GTX 260 + BFG GTX 260 SLI 55nm 216 core (GT200 Tesla)
    Asus PA238QR IPS LED HDMI DP 1080p
    ST2000DM001 & Windows 8.1 x64 Professional
    LG WH14NS40 14X Blu-Ray Writer BDXL 128GB
    Microsoft Wireless Desktop 2000
    Wacom Bamboo CHT470M

    Thursday, September 26, 2013 1:15 PM
  • I do not have this "HKLM\System\CurrentControlSet\Control /v PortableOperatingSystem" in my registry.
    Saturday, October 19, 2013 12:18 AM
  • Yes, I installed my Windows 8 pro upgrade from a bootable USB flashdrive.  Could this be the reason?
    Saturday, October 19, 2013 12:22 AM
  • I just tried to update my desktop on Windows 8 Pro to windows 8.1 . My computer thinks it W8 to go and won't complete the install .. annoying having waited a while to download the 3.5 GB file .   I tried your regeit suggestion but I do not have the PortableOperatingSystem value

    Do you have any suggestions ?

    Saturday, October 19, 2013 2:08 AM
  • As far as I can tell, this nuisance popup started when I tried ( unsuccessfully) to upgrade to 8.1.

    Anybody else notice the bloody message has a typo:

    This feature is not AVALIABLE in a portable workstation environment.

    HP ENVY dv7.  I also cloned the HP disk to a Corsair SSD, using their software.
    Placed the original drive back as a secodary disk in the machine.
    Win8 prevented me from formatting it first ... but it has worked fine ( until now )

    Removed the PortableOperatingSystem reg key  ( Thanks )

    Saturday, December 21, 2013 7:43 PM
  • I don't know what is a Windows To Go machine. I only know Windows to Go is a portable Windows 8. Have you found any USB or external driver? Do you mean copied Windows 8?
    Friday, January 24, 2014 1:30 AM
  • Yes, I installed my Windows 8 pro upgrade from a bootable USB flashdrive.  Could this be the reason?

    I install all flavors of Windows via USB sticks, no problem with any machine in the shop ever


    Corsair Carbide 300R with window
    Corsair TX850V2 70A@12V
    Asus M5A99FX PRO R2.0 CFX/SLI
    AMD Phenom II 965 C3 Black Edition @ 4.0 GHz
    G.SKILL RipjawsX DDR3-2133 8 GB
    EVGA GTX 6600 Ti FTW Signature 2(Gk104 Kepler)
    Asus PA238QR IPS LED HDMI DP 1080p
    ST2000DM001 & Windows 8.1 Enterprise x64
    Microsoft Wireless Desktop 2000
    Wacom Bamboo CHT470M
    Place your rig specifics into your signature like I have, makes it 100x easier to understand!

    Hardcore Games Legendary is the Only Way to Play!

    Friday, January 24, 2014 2:16 AM
  • I've got the same problem - I'm running Windows 8 Pro.  I've checked the registry, and there is no HKLM\System\CurrentControlSet\Control /v PortableOperatingSystem.  Nor in the ControlSet001.  I've searched and there is no entry for that path.  What now?  I want to upgrade to 8.1, but can't because of this stupid problem!

    Eugene Humbert

    Friday, January 31, 2014 2:48 AM
  • I've got the same problem - I'm running Windows 8 Pro.  I've checked the registry, and there is no HKLM\System\CurrentControlSet\Control /v PortableOperatingSystem.  Nor in the ControlSet001.  I've searched and there is no entry for that path.  What now?  I want to upgrade to 8.1, but can't because of this stupid problem!

    Eugene Humbert

    This is curious as this feature is only supposed to be available to Enterprise licenses which are not sold to the public.

    Using the USB boot, the stick can be used to fix dead machines in a datacenter. Handy as well for upgrading servers when a new set of hard disks are being installed.

    Consumers can use the scripted tools on the boot media.


    Corsair Carbide 300R with window
    Corsair TX850V2 70A@12V
    Asus M5A99FX PRO R2.0 CFX/SLI
    AMD Phenom II 965 C3 Black Edition @ 4.0 GHz
    G.SKILL RipjawsX DDR3-2133 8 GB
    EVGA GTX 6600 Ti FTW Signature 2(Gk104 Kepler)
    Asus PA238QR IPS LED HDMI DP 1080p
    ST2000DM001 & Windows 8.1 Enterprise x64
    Microsoft Wireless Desktop 2000
    Wacom Bamboo CHT470M
    Place your rig specifics into your signature like I have, makes it 100x easier to understand!

    Hardcore Games Legendary is the Only Way to Play!

    Friday, January 31, 2014 2:58 AM