Windows 8 Bootable Disk

OK.  So I have searched the web and tested many different apps and options but I seem to come to a dead end.

I am trying to create, if you will, "WinPE" or better yet a mini Win8 on my usb drive.  No, I don't want to do installations from USB, rather want to boot from USB with mini Win8 on it so that I can do troubleshooting of various other drives or perform various computer technical support tasks for other users with my own set of tools that I have already purchased or have.

I have tried AOEMI (it's worthless).  I have tried RUFUS (it doesn't work as promised.  rather it creates a bootable USB disc that you can copy win files to install from USB.  not my requirement).  I have tried WAIK and ADK but again too much of a mess where it does not show how I can add my additional tools to the bootable USB with mini Win8.

I have also tried BartPE, Gandalf's bootable Win8 (does not perform as mentions on website), WintoBootic, WintoUSB, Windows 8 Enterprise Edition (to use Win to Go option.  FAILS)  etc, etc, etc.

As far as I know, I have tried many many tools with no luck.  Everyone promises but falls short of my requirements.

Simply put:  I want a mini Win8 to boot in a pre setup environment where I can install my portable purchased apps to perform technical
support on user's computer that fails to boot or has other hardware and software issues.

Most of the software and tools that I have tested was on my physical machine and virtual machines (I have 8 different flavors of windows installed on my VM from Win XP to Win10 and everything in between for Enterprise and Servers.  LOL)

So what next......please help
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Walter CurtisSharePoint AEDCommented:
Why not just use the original WinPE based on XP? As you mentioned, use Bart's PE. It is tried and tested for over a decade and should do most anything you need to do.

Hope that helps..
XL2015Author Commented:
Just curious. BartPE based on XP. Will this function properly on x64 architecture hardware. Also how do I go about using (install) my tools in this environment.

Honestly, I am not very comfortable using BartPE because it seems to be bloated with lots of junk and freeware. Correct me if I am wrong.
Benjamin VoglarIT ProCommented:
open cmd as admin

list disk
select disk <X>
format fs=ntfs quick

then simple copy your mini win8 file to usb and you have your bootable win8
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Walter CurtisSharePoint AEDCommented:
Sorry, but it has been a while since I worked on deployments, so may not be totally up to date. Bart PE was based on MS OEM tools for system builders and yes it support 32 and 64bit architecture. It was possible to create a MS only version of WinPE without the extras Bart includes.

As far as you tools, I don't know what they are so can't tell how they will work. But just as an idea from "back in the day", if Win8PE isn't working for you, I can say WinPE XP was fantastic and allowed for some very good solid deployments.

Hope that helps...
XL2015Author Commented:
I have tried the above and I have a USB with it.  It's not a prebuilt environment.  It gives me option to install Windows on a new hardware from USB
XL2015Author Commented:
my tools:  data recovery software.  malware removal software.  partitioning software.  RAID recovery software.  and many other technical software to run from USB on a prebuilt mini Win8 on USB
XL2015Author Commented:
Benjamin:  I have tried your option and Rufus does the same and many other software does the same as command line you mentioned.

I have no problem making a USB flash drive bootable.  Many software does that.  I need mini Win8 bootable from USB so that I can install or copy my portable apps to my USB for support purpose.
WAIK is the way to do this. If you don't understand how it works, just read the documentation and try it until you have found out how it works.

The other option, but that isn't WinPE, but rather a full installation, is Windows To Go. But this is only available with the enterprise version of Windows. So if you don't use Windows 8.x enterprise in your company you can only use the trial version which you can download from the technet site. But then it will be time limited.

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XL2015Author Commented:
Thanks but as mentioned earlier, I have already tried the Enterprise. Somehow it didn't work. I can try again. Apparently it requires genuine Windows certified USB.

I found some forums on making standard USB to be compatible with Windows to Go on Enterprise but it still won't work
Correct, it works only with certified USB sticks. But it also works with USB attached HD's, and for those the make and model is of no issue.
XL2015Author Commented:
Just wondering. How is it different from USB stick vs USB attached hard drive besides the digital difference between the two. They are both using USB ports.
They work differently and the data is stored and addressed in different ways.
XL2015Author Commented:
I am more than willing to give it a try because I do have a 250 GB USB 2.5" hard drive.

No where on the so called "INTERNET" it mentions that there are restrictions besides to the fact that the USB drive needs to be certified.  That's sad.

But I will get back to you in few hours after I format and try out my USB drive.
I have tried it using a normal 2.5" USB disk, and that worked fine. I also tried using USB sticks, but there it always complained, as I don't have any certified sticks.
XL2015Author Commented:

That worked for me and I am content.  However I have couple related questions now

1.  Can I partition this USB drive keeping main partition to be bootable Win8 Enterprise and other partition with my diagnostic tools?
2.  Can I install diagnostic tools and use it for various technical support?  (data recovery, partitioning, virus removal, partition editing, etc, etc).  My assumption is that I just connect trouble devices to another USB port on physical machine and use the tools to perform diagnostics, correct?

It's some time ago, and I don't remember if I tried partitioning the dusk. I do remember that I used a small disk for this (30 or 40GB), and so I don't think I tried that. I did try cloning the disk to a USB stick, but that didn't work, and I believe also partitioning it isn't possible.

You can install any Windows software to the disk. But I probably wouldn't use it in the way you propose, like connecting the other disk also to USB and scan that. If anything, then you would just boot the PC you want to troubleshoot with it's internal disk already installed using the USB Windows to Go USB disk. If you want to troubleshoot other USB disks you might as well use a normal PC with the OS installed for that.

Another thing, many diagnostics, like the memtest86+ or the HD manufacturer's diagnostics, are Linux or DOS based, so for those you wouldn't use a Windows OS, but rather either the UBCD which already includes most of the tools, or a Linux Distro to boot from. There are only a very few tools you would actually have to run from within Windows, for example for SSD's their manufacturer's diagnostics, or in some cases BIOS upgrades. A good Linux distro you could use which includes a lot of tools, like memtest86+, or data recovery software, cloning tools, partitioning tools etc., is PCRepix:
XL2015Author Commented:

I was successfully able to partition my USB drive and still able to boot from Enterprise just fine. Currently I am testing to see if I can install diagnostic tools and perform normal technical troubleshooting on my other external USB drive from USB Enterprise. If this succeeds, then I have a very good USB drive with my registered software to perform my tasks for troubleshooting.

Most apps out on the Internet are bloated with unnecessary tools or not fully functional tools including sharewares or freewares with limited functionality.

I am trying something new and will update you if I succeed.
XL2015Author Commented:
All my diagnostic and recovery tools work great from Win 8.1 Enterprise WinToGo. In fact I just got hold of Win 10 Enterprise WinToGo and everything works smoothly on 10 as well.  Now that I have a USB working OS with tools, I am willing to go further and try Linux bootable USB with diagnostic tools.

Also, while I was testing and researching, I came across a nifty little tool that does more than WinToGo Enterprise editions. It creates bootable USB flash disk with any Windows or Linux OS. It does not require to have USB disk drive. It works on USB flash drive as well. It's called FlashBoot. Check it out......

Regardless, I thank you very much for helping me out.
XL2015Author Commented:
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