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Using Windows To Go in Parallels Desktop for Mac

  • Parallels Desktop 10 for Mac Home Edition
  • Parallels Desktop 9 for Mac Standard Edition
  • Parallels Desktop 8 for Mac Standard Edition


Windows To Go is a new feature for enterprise users of Windows 8.1 that enables users to boot a full version of Windows from external USB drives on host PCs.

Before you start

To use Windows To Go in Parallels Desktop for Mac you need:

  1. Recommended USB drive for Windows To Go
    • USB 3.0 device
    • Size of 32 or more GBytes
  2. Parallels Desktop for Mac version 10, 9 or 8
  3. Mac with USB 3.0 support (any Mac released after the mid of 2012)
  4. Windows To Go for Parallels Desktop should not use BitLocker

How to create Windows To Go.

Windows To Go FAQ.

Creating a Windows To Go virtual machine

  1. Start New Virtual Machine Wizard

    in Parallels Desktop 8 select “continue without disk”.

    in Parallels Desktop 9 click Locate manually, then select "continue without a source".

    in Parallels Desktop 10

  2. Select “Windows 8” as Guest Operating System type and continue.

  3. At the “Name and Location” screen select “Customize settings before installation” checkbox

  4. In the Virtual Machine configuration set the following settings:

    • go to Hardware tab, then click on the Hard Disk 1. Press to remove it – you don’t need it.

    • then go to Hardware ► Boot Order.

    in Parallels Desktop 8: Enable checkbox “Use EFI Boot” and use to put “USB” as the first element in the Boot order field.

    in Parallels Desktop 9: Enable checkbox “Use EFI Boot”, choose the external drive you will boot from and use to put “External device” as the first element in the Boot order field.

  5. Permanently assign the Windows To Go device to your Virtual Machine

    • Start the Virtual Machine for the first time. It will not boot into Windows To Go yet.
    • Connect your Windows To Go device to the Mac if it is not connected yet. You will see USB selection dialog. Hold ALT and select your Windows To Go Virtual Machine.

  6. Restart your Virtual Machine.
  7. The Virtual machine will now boot into Windows 8 To Go

Next time you need to boot into Windows To Go, just do the following:

  1. Insert Windows To Go drive into your Mac
  2. Launch your Windows To Go Virtual Machine

Some more points to consider:

  • Install Parallels Tools into the Windows To Go Virtual machine
  • Do not use Suspend and Snapshots for Windows To Go, it is not recommended.
  • To stop working with Windows To Go Virtual Machine – shutdown it using Windows interface or Parallels Desktop menu and eject Windows To Go drive using Finder.

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