Monday, January 22, 2018

Exploring Windows To Go @SPYRUS_inc (Review Part 1)

Will Spyrus Windows To Go live drive work on a Lenovo W540 Thinkpad?
Need to carry your Windows 10 computer in your pocket, but don't really want to lug around a laptop? One alternative to carrying around a laptop (e.g. Surfacebook) or tablet (e.g. Surface tablet) is a Windows To Go USB drive (watch linked video in this tweet). This can be useful in a computer rich environment where you have the need to keep custom tools on your USB Solid State Drive (SSD) along with a Windows 10 operating system.



I'm going to take a look at the Spyrus Windows To Go Drive. Why don't you come along?

What is Windows To Go?

If you aren't familiar with Windows To Go, you might want to decipher this bit of info from Microsoft with me:
Windows To Go is a feature in Windows 10 Enterprise and Windows 10 Education that enables the creation of a Windows To Go workspace that can be booted from a USB-connected external drive on PCs.

PCs that meet the Windows 7 or later certification requirements can run Windows 10 in a Windows To Go workspace, regardless of the operating system running on the PC. Windows To Go workspaces can use the same image enterprises use for their desktops and laptops and can be managed the same way. Windows To Go is not intended to replace desktops, laptops or supplant other mobility offerings. Rather, it provides support for efficient use of resources for alternative workplace scenarios.
Who doesn't like to sit down at a computer that reflects their choices, their software, desktop wallpaper and more? I know I do! Most professionals in education and business do. One roadblock, though, is that even in a PC-rich environment, you may find yourself longing for YOUR particular setup. That's where Spyrus Windows To Go Drive may come in handy.

Real Use Scenarios

As I reflected on the various times I needed a Windows 10 computer in my pocket, I realized that I actually had a list of situations where it would come in handy:
  • This past year, I found myself traveling to Texas to Washington to attend specialized training. Computers were provided, but I would have loved to have had Spyrus Windows To Go Drive in my hands. I would have the chance to setup my Spyrus Windows To Go Drive ahead of time and not had to worry about limitations you often encounter in a computer lab situation.
  • Carrying around a Spyrus Windows To Go Drive makes travel a LOT easier. It's fairly small, shorter than your middle finger, and starts up robustly. I know I'd rather just drop that lightweight drive in my sling bag than have to carry a full-sized laptop or tablet computer.
  • Friends often call me to provide assistance on their malware-infested device. Having Spyrus Windows To Go Drive to start up from, then run scans on the infected PC could be a real life-saver.
There are many possibilities for using Spyrus Windows To Go Drive. How many can you think of for your situation?
SPYRUS WTG Drive from Anifex Animation Effects Studio on Vimeo.

About Spyrus Windows To Go Drive 

The drive arrived in my mailbox. When I first opened up the envelope, I neglected to read the instructions included letter. For the sake of full disclosure, I provide the relevant excerpt below:
Congratulations on being chosen to review a Spyrus Windows To Go drive! SPYRUS Windows To Go live drives turn personal computers, including most Mac, into compliant enterprise Windows desktops--with or without connectivity.

SPYRUS Windows To Go drives are bootable drives and boot at the BIOS level of the motherboard and completely bypass the host computer's own hard drive and native Operating System (OS). There is no impact on the host computer and no footprint left behind when the drive is shut down. SPYRUS has spent over 20 years exclusively focused on the problem of remote access and data protection--"security on the edge."
As you can imagine, it was a USB drive and I just plugged it into a Lenovo W540 Thinkpad laptop (i7 processor, 16gigs RAM) to see what would happen.

Did You Know? The Spyrus WorkSafe Pro is the only USB 3.0 certified Windows to Go 8.1 drive with XTS-AES 256 hardware encryption and internal FIPS 140-2 Level 3 validated PKI. (Source)

At first, my UEFI enabled laptop ignored the USB drive...at least, until I remembered UEFI was turned on!


START UP

To start up, I needed to go into my BIOS settings (click SHIFT on SHUT DOWN in Windows 10, then press F12 at power on) to select the UEFI/Legacy "Both" option. When I powered on the drive, I pressed F12, and was able to select Spyrus as my startup device (as opposed to my hard drive).


After that, it took a few minutes while the Spyrus Windows To Go drive got going.

QUESTIONS?

If you have any questions, you can find them online at Spyrus' website. They have a handy chart that tells you what keys to press when turning on your computer.



REVIEW

My first experience with Spyrus Windows To Go Drive was wonderful. I was expecting to encounter a lot more technical difficulties, but those didn't show up. My next steps after initial setup involved customizing the installation.

A few questions that came to mind included:
  • Could I install all my favorite apps?
  • What was the storage capacity of the Windows To Go drive Spyrus provided?
  • How well would this work on my Surfacebook (i7, 8gigsRAM)?
  • Would the experience be consistent across devices?
In Part 2 of this review, I'll share my findings. In the meantime, what questions do you have about this handy drive? Please share your thoughts/questions in the Comments section.



Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin's blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure

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