Microsoft suggests "certified drives" for http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/enterprise/products-and-technologies/devices/windowstogo.aspx, but it appears that other than confirming that these drives work with Windows To Go they are no more secure as it relates to Windows To Go support than any other drives that would support Windows To Go; meaning while the drives might be more secure, they are not explicitly more secure than another drive with the same features that is not Windows To Go certified.

What is the difference between certified and non-certified drives for Windows To Go?

1 Answer 1


From the Windows Blog:

As well as being teased with a variety of PCs, Certified drives must:

  • Be built for high random read/write speeds and support the thousands of random access I/O operations per second required for running normal Windows workloads smoothly.
  • Have been tuned to ensure they boot and run on hardware certified for use with either Windows 7 or Windows 8.
  • Be built to last. Certified drives are backed with manufacturer warranties and should continue operating under normal usage.

This means that:

  • They will have fast random reads and writes, and not just fast sequential reads. Normal drives generally have fast sequential reads/writes and agonizingly slow random small reads/writes.

  • They will have high durability, and have the ability to sustain large amount of reads and writes.

  • +1 Right, possible it was not clear, but by link to the "certified drives" was roughly to the information you've provided. Question is if certified drives have "something special" or if given two drives that function the same, but one is not certified if they're the exact same thing. Meaning for example that certified drives don't have special hardware on them. Thanks!
    – blunders
    Commented Dec 15, 2014 at 18:20
  • Also, see "Creating a Non-Certified Windows To Go USB Drive" to see that it is possible to create a non-certified Windows To Go drive.
    – blunders
    Commented Dec 15, 2014 at 18:22
  • AFAIK, They are special in a certain way, as they have high random read and write speeds. Most USB drives have really slow random reads and write speeds. A CrystalDiskMark result like this: daydull.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/… is standard for a USB drive. A certified drive is likely to have a result like this: aphnetworks.com/review/… (i.e Insanely fast 4k speeds!)
    – George
    Commented Dec 15, 2014 at 18:27
  • Right, I understand the drives are "special" but it's correct that for example they don't have a special chip just for Windows to Go, right? Meaning that if I'm able to get it working on a non-certified with the same hardware performance that there's no difference functionality/security wise.
    – blunders
    Commented Dec 15, 2014 at 18:35

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