How to fix Windows 8 when it thinks it’s a Windows To Go machine

Windows To Go medium

When you think you have just successfully upgraded to Windows 8, you check the System properties and notice that it says “Windows To Go machine” instead of the operating system version. And that’s not all. When you remove a USB drive, your PC crashes.

Now to the obvious question: Why is that? Surprisingly, this happens because Windows 8 thinks that the unique USB drive ID is the same as the internal hard drive ID in your PC. — If you ask me, I think this is a big flaw in the OS that users should never have to go through, but thankfully has an easy fix.

For those people who aren’t familiar, Windows To Go is a feature in the Enterprise version of Microsoft’s operating system that allows you to install and run a full version of Windows 8 from a USB drive. The feature brings some additional flexibility for businesses to take the company’s environment anywhere. For example, when employees need to work remotely or from a shared computer, or even to avoid spending hours configuring a new PC for a contractor that has to work temporarily in a different location.

If you find yourself in this situation where Windows 8 thinks it is a Windows To Go when it’s not, the steps below will help you fix this issue.

Fix Windows To Go device error

  1. Use the “Windows key + R” keyboard shortcut to bring up the Run command. Type regedit.exe, and click OK.

  2. Browse the following registry key:

  3. Delete this value: PortableOperatingSystem

    Quick note: Back up all the data from the disk, as when you clean it, it will destroy all the data.
  4. Now, “clean” the USB drive by opening the command prompt, typing diskpart.exe, and pressing Enter.

  5. To figure out the disk number of the USB drive in the system, use this command:

    list disk
  6. Use the following command to select the disk (note that “#” is the number of your USB drive):

    select disk #
  7. Type:


And then, type exit to quit DiskPart. Reboot your PC, and everything should go back to normal.

About the author

Mauro Huculak is a Windows How-To Expert who started Pureinfotech in 2010 as an independent online publication. He has also been a Windows Central contributor for nearly a decade. Mauro has over 14 years of experience writing comprehensive guides and creating professional videos about Windows and software, including Android and Linux. Before becoming a technology writer, he was an IT administrator for seven years. In total, Mauro has over 20 years of combined experience in technology. Throughout his career, he achieved different professional certifications from Microsoft (MSCA), Cisco (CCNP), VMware (VCP), and CompTIA (A+ and Network+), and he has been recognized as a Microsoft MVP for many years. You can follow him on X (Twitter), YouTube, LinkedIn and Email him at [email protected].