Windows To Go Deprecated: Does It Affect Me?
In a recent announcement, Microsoft mentioned that Windows To Go is being deprecated. The Windows 10 build that was released in May 2019 is the last one that will support this technology. If you’re not familiar with Windows To Go, this change might sound fairly serious. Is it really, though?
What exactly does this mean for you and for your organization? Lance Stone, a leading San Francisco IT services consultant shares some of his thoughts.
What Does Software Deprecation Mean?
Deprecation isn’t the most common term out there. What does it mean? It’s essentially the software version of retirement or being put out to pasture. Software that has been deprecated has, for one reason or another, reached the end of its useful life. Deprecated technology is any technology (hardware or software) that the manufacturer is no longer supporting.
Here’s an illustration. Do you have an old iPhone or Android phone tucked away in a drawer? If it’s old enough, you wouldn’t be able to update to the latest version of Android or iOS. The newest phone operating systems are better, sure. However, they require more resources than older phones have, and sometimes they even rely on hardware features that hadn’t been invented yet.
These old phones have likely been deprecated. They are no longer supported. You’re free to use them if you want, but you’re not likely to get any help at your Apple Store should something go wrong.
What Is Windows To Go?
Windows To Go is an innovation that Microsoft introduced years ago to help IT leaders more easily deploy Windows across an organization. Using Windows To Go, IT staff could load a previously-created image of Windows onto a specially formatted USB drive. Just about anyone could run a specific Windows image on just about any computer (including Macs) if they had the USB stick.
Why Is Windows To Go Being Deprecated?
Windows To Go is being deprecated for at least three reasons: lack of use, difficulty of procuring the right USB drives, and the impossibility of pushing automatic windows updates.
Am I Using Windows To Go?
Most likely, no. It only affects IT administrators who are using the product and those users who are running Windows off a USB thumb drive through the Windows To Go program. Very few people are using this program and not actively aware.
I Know I’m Using Windows To Go. What Now?
Microsoft’s own estimation is that there aren’t very many people still using Windows To Go. If you are one of the few still using this program, there’s no need for panic. You have time to remedy the situation.
For most IT admins, the best solution is creating and deploying a Windows 10 reference image. You’ll use Microsoft’s Microsoft Deployment Toolkit (MDT) for both steps. Check out Microsoft’s guides on both creating and deploying reference images. This solution may not be best for those supporting certain types of remote workers or Mac users. Work with your Microsoft sales rep to determine your best solution if the above solution doesn’t work.