Windows 10 - Boot and run from USB3

After my SSD problems of a few days ago. It got me thinking of a better way of getting everything back up and running on the replacement SSD, without having to swap USB flash drives, and countless reboots.

I thought wouldn’t it be great to have a real Windows 10 system booting and running from USB. Have all my tools installed on the system, meaning I could do it all from one session. Add to that, a working PC that I can use while I wait for a replacement HDD/SSD.

Windows 10 wont install or run from USB, and some of the hacks I’ve come across are too flaky and slow that they are not worth bothering about.

After a bit of research i’ve came up with a solution, which is reliable and boots and runs as fast as booting and running windows from an internal HDD or SSD.

If there is a few people interested, I’ll write a full guide.

Requirements of the project.

A Windows 10 1909 ISO (not the the one created with the media creation tool)
This is the hardest part of the project, as MS don’t want to allow you to download a Win10 ISO, if you are already using Windows. Fear not, I’ll explain how to get the ISO from the official MS download site.

Native USB3 from the motherboard chipset
That means an Intel Z97 motherboard or later. Or an AMD AM4 or later motherboard (RyZen).
Alternatively, a Laptop with native USB3 support.

An USB3 external HDD, or a normal SATA SSD with an a USB3 adaptor.
Don’t try it from a USB3 Pendrive. They don’t have the speed or endurance to make this work. Try it and you’ll burn out the NAND in a matter of days.
if you already have a spare external USB3 HDD or SATA SSD, great.
If not, you’ll able to buy a 128GB SATA SSD for £15, and an USB3 adaptor for around £5.

Let me know if you’re interested in this project, and i’ll put together a complete guide.