Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

IronKey Releases Windows 8 Certified Bootable Flash Drive

timothy posted about a year ago | from the who-needs-a-hard-drive-anyhow dept.

Data Storage 66

Lucas123 writes "IronKey has released a thumb drive certified to be used as a bootable Windows 8 device, enabling users to use Windows To Go — an enterprise feature of Windows 8 — to deliver a fully portable desktop. While Imation doesn't promote this feature, users can also boot up this USB on any Intel-based Apple computer. The flash drive has its drawbacks. It's not yet FIPS certified, it can't be provisioned as storage, and it lacks admin management features. The IronKey Workspace drive comes in 32GB, 64GB and 128GB capacities. It offers either 128-bit or 256-bit full disk encryption. Users must purchase the Windows 8 software separately. According to Imation's specifications, the IronKey Workspace has a maximum average read speed of 300MB/sec. and an average write speed of 100MB/sec. to 200MB/sec. When I timed the boot-up times, the initial boot-up from the USB drive was slow — 3 minutes and 40 seconds — but the drive was configuring itself. Subsequent boot-ups took a mere 35 seconds. Shutdown is near instantaneous — about 2 seconds. The flash drive is priced from $129 to $389 depending on capacity."

cancel ×
This is a preview of your comment

No Comment Title Entered

Anonymous Coward 1 minute ago

No Comment Entered


Apple Hardware (2)

phrostie (121428) | about a year ago | (#42770651)

and by using Apple hardware you don't have to worry about Secure Boot!

that just makes my head hurt

What a non-story (5, Funny)

KillDaBOB (206494) | about a year ago | (#42770673)

So they made a USB 3.0 flash drive that has a decent amount of space on it, priced it at a multiple more than the competition, and that's it? It doesn't even come with Windows 8, which is the purpose of buying this product. Great story brought to you by /., now advertising products that many will never, ever need (or want)!

Re:What a non-story (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42770705)

You're absolutely right; the stories you post on your technology news website are so much more relevant and informative! Wait, what's the address again?

Re:What a non-story (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42770729)

What a stupid argument.

Re:What a non-story (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42770787)

Agreed, at those prices, it's Patriot Magnum [newegg.com] for me.

Re:What a non-story (2)

Curunir_wolf (588405) | about a year ago | (#42771913)

Agreed, at those prices, it's Patriot Magnum [newegg.com] for me.

Except if you're really interested in doing the "Windows To Go" thing, that drive probably won't work. The 120MB/s write and 200MB/s read speeds are more than twice as slow as this IronKey drive, and it will likely present itself as a "removable" drive (most USB sticks do), which means Windows To Go won't even install on it.

Re:What a non-story (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42772655)

I'm very interested for Windows to go.

Re:What a non-story (1)

jfengel (409917) | about a year ago | (#42775335)

Isn't the whole point of a "Windows-to-go" type system that it should be able to, ya know, go?

I'm serious. Why would Windows To Go want a device to present itself as non-removable? Doesn't that defeat the purpose? I can see that it woudn't want to be removed while in use, but is this device physically locking itself into the drive? If not, what makes it different from any other USB stick?

Re:What a non-story (2)

Curunir_wolf (588405) | about a year ago | (#42775529)

It's just a firmware setting that informs the operating system of the type of device. It informs the OS how to perform write-caching and file operations. It doesn't create a lock or anything. A USB attached hard drive, for instance, would present itself differently, so you could always use that as a "Windows To Go" device, but of course that's not as convenient as a thumb drive, and more susceptible to shock damage.

The fact is, Windows 8, booting and running entirely from a removable drive, is going to require better performance on a removable drive than a trimmed Linux distro. And it's for a different use. It's intended for a different use, too - in some use cases, companies can provide floating workers with a USB stick instead of a laptop, and they still have their customized settings, their applications and data, organization logins and identity certificates, etc. Which is why using an IronKey makes sense, too, because the whole thing can use drive encryption so it's useless the finder if the stick gets lost. Plus the setup disables access to the host computer's local drives - it's intended as a standalone environment, not just an alternate way to boot the computer.

Re:What a non-story (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42775341)

who needs that for a live os.

I get those speeds of 25 seconds boot, 3 seconds shutdown on a linux live usb stick.

on a shitty USB 2.0 driver. This is MS playing catch up, again, There have been good linux on usb stick solutions for years

Re:What a non-story (5, Funny)

camperdave (969942) | about a year ago | (#42770889)

It doesn't even come with Windows 8, which is the purpose of buying this product.

No, this device is designed to enable users "to use Windows To Go — an enterprise feature of Windows 8 — to deliver a fully portable desktop". Obviously this device has some sort of cable management and advanced transdimentional physics capabilities. Imagine it! You plug this device into your desktop... and it becomes portable!

GNU/Linus had this for quite a while (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42770967)

Big fucking deal! GNU/Linux had the capabilities for years now and here is M$ using this new fandagled "Windoze to Go" feature and all of the sudden $lashdot is going gaga over it as well. It just goes to show that $lashdot is a paid shill for M$, much like Oprah Winfrey. Over at techrights.org, astroturfers and paid shills are not tolerated at all.

Friends don't help friends install M$ junk.
Friends do assist M$ addicted friends in committing suicide.

Re:GNU/Linus had this for quite a while (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42771033)


Re:GNU/Linus had this for quite a while (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42772755)

I agree, this whooshed right over AC1's head. Camperdave should have a +5, funny mod. But of course, far too many /.ers have no sense of humor. which proves that ACs are the most perceptive, intelligent posters on /.


Re:GNU/Linus had this for quite a while (2)

maugle (1369813) | about a year ago | (#42773309)

Yep, Slashdot could really use a "-1, obviously only read the first sentence" mod.

Re:What a non-story (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42771107)

I must be going senile--not clear why this post was modded Funny when it is seriously true. I've got a thumb drive that has Ubuntu and Windows 7 (don't ask why) VirtualBox images so I can run them concurrently on any of my fanboi MBPs--can I get a shout out too?

Re:What a non-story (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42772673)


Re:What a non-story (1)

PCM2 (4486) | about a year ago | (#42772241)

So they made a USB 3.0 flash drive that has a decent amount of space on it, priced it at a multiple more than the competition, and that's it? It doesn't even come with Windows 8, which is the purpose of buying this product. Great story brought to you by /., now advertising products that many will never, ever need (or want)!

The part they seem to have glossed over is that this is a secure USB key. Most of the storage is AES encrypted, with just a tiny unencrypted boot partition to handle the encryption.

Mind you, I saw this press release on Friday and it didn't sound particularly interesting to me, either.

Here's something interesting, though. Imation, which has been buying up various companies, including IronKey -- because apparently floppy disks aren't selling as well as they once did -- has managed to shed 88.5% of its share price [theregister.co.uk] since 2006.

Re:What a non-story (1)

OutputLogic (1566511) | about a year ago | (#42773855)

Exactly. I interviewed with that company a couple of years ago, and didn't quite understand how the product was better than lots of other flash drives. The selling point was highest security certification, that allowed using it in government, military, etc.

Re:What a non-story (1)

hairyfeet (841228) | about a year ago | (#42777453)

I just don't get why this is such a big whoop, 20 minutes on the web will show you how to make a USB bootable Windows and has had the articles for over a decade, its just MSFT didn't support it. Frankly I don't know how much "support" you'll get from MSFT on Windows to go either so I don't see what the big diff is.

Hell maybe I'm missing an angle but to me Windows to go seems more like a solution in search of a problem, we geeks have already known how to make bootable CDs for years and what would Joe Average do with the thing? Most coffee shops aren't gonna let you reboot their PCs and in an office wouldn't roaming profiles make more sense?

drawbacks for $129-$389? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42770685)

Do they really think people are so stupid to spend $129 for a 32gb thumb drive? With drawbacks?

Re:drawbacks for $129-$389? (2)

Lanforod (1344011) | about a year ago | (#42780407)

Find a ironkey flash drive for under a 100 bucks with hardware encryption. That's impossible, especially at those sizes. A coworker of mine recently purchased several ironkey hardware encrypted 4 GB flash drives at more than 100 each. And they were USB 2. Things are pretty darn heavy, like a chunk of lead. For 32 GB, Ironkey hardware encryption, USB 3, these are actually well priced. Sure, you can find so called hardware encryption for cheaper, but not certified FIPS 140.

A 'Downgrade' USB Stick? (2, Funny)

Bing Tsher E (943915) | about a year ago | (#42770695)

Why would you downgrade a computer that presumably has a functioning OS on it by plugging this stick into it and rebooting?

Re:A 'Downgrade' USB Stick? (1)

chronokitsune3233 (2170390) | about a year ago | (#42770743)

Don't forget the severe reduction in the life of the drive as a result of all the writes being performed on it. And since it's for Windows, it would benefit from antivirus software. Got multiple computer viruses that just can't be gotten rid of, no matter how many times your AV software moves files and kills processes? No problem! Just kill the flash drive with all of the write operations that are performed as a result of the file moving!

Re:A 'Downgrade' USB Stick? (2)

Mateo_LeFou (859634) | about a year ago | (#42770839)

This will come in *very* handy when Windows 9 is released

Re:A 'Downgrade' USB Stick? (1, Redundant)

RicktheBrick (588466) | about a year ago | (#42771149)

What happens when one purchases a new motherboard and tries to boot up from the original hard drive? I used to do this with 95 and 98 but since xp was introduced, I find that the computer will not boot and the only thing I could do was to install the operating system and all the programs again. That would mean that one had to have a cd or a flash drive with the ability to install the operating system. Most new computers do not come with this capability. This is why I find it hard to believe that Microsoft would allow one to boot several computers with a flash drive. At a minimum one will have two computers that could be running windows 8 at the same time with only paying for one license. Allowing this would probably bankrupt Microsoft or at least mean that Bill Gates would lose a small chunk of his fortune. Just a couple of days ago I had a 6 year old computer that the motherboard or the microprocessor went bad. The computer was on at least 80% of that time and was using 100% of all four of its cores most of that time so I guess I got enough use out of it. I still do not believe that I could buy another motherboard and install it and boot from the ssd and have everything work.

Re:A 'Downgrade' USB Stick? (1)

JoshRosenbaum (841551) | about a year ago | (#42771443)

I've switched motherboards out at least two different times in the past and reused the current Windows install (XP both times I think) when I did it. So it's definitely possible for it to work.

Re:A 'Downgrade' USB Stick? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42771711)

It all depends on how different the motherboards are. For example, a Nvidia chipset and AMD processor being switched to an Intel chipset and Intel processor would not work. However, you both only mentioned the motherboard, as long as the chipsets are reasonable similar XP should not have a problem. IIRC, MS allowed 3 or 4 device changes before not working right. POS OS.

Re:A 'Downgrade' USB Stick? (1)

EETech1 (1179269) | about a year ago | (#42772039)

I've run into that issue as well, but so far, this has worked every time.


It's actually much easier to do before the computer dies, or right before you do your clonezilla backup. I have VM images of all of our SCADA PCs so I can test changes before pushing them out onto the line, and I have to do this every time I clone a disk to move it to my VM. After fighting this on the first PC that crashed on us with no backup, I went around and did it to all of our PCs. They now have the additional entries already in the registry so they are ready to go and can be cloned to different computer, and boot so they just have to install the plug-and-pray devices that are different.

For a more complicated switcheroo, you can tell windows to reexamine and repair the install on the next reboot by setting the appropriate registry keys.This article is sometimes helpful:


I really like the way Linux just works, and examines the hardware during boot. It eliminates the BS you have to go through when swapping a HDD from one computer to a different one!

Hope this helps!


Re:A 'Downgrade' USB Stick? (1)

adolf (21054) | about a year ago | (#42774799)

I really like the way Linux just works, and examines the hardware during boot. It eliminates the BS you have to go through when swapping a HDD from one computer to a different one!

That's not a Linux feature -- that's a distribution feature. The distinction seems small, but it is an important one.

And even amongst different distributions, support for some important things can be hairy.

(I once had a hell of a time finding a CD/DVD bootable distribution that would properly support a simple RAID 1 built with md on a bog-standard Intel chipset. And the only reason I needed that was because I needed an temporary environment that I could boot, mount the array, chroot over to the real system, and build a new kernel...specifically just to add drivers so that it could boot itself without help.

Yes, it was Gentoo. But it was also Linux. Hence why the distinction is important. And for the record, Damn Small Linux got the job done neatly, while the then-current incarnations of Knoppix were an improbable pain in the ass -- got figure.)

Re:A 'Downgrade' USB Stick? (1)

EETech1 (1179269) | about a year ago | (#42775095)


Prior to switching to Knoppix and it's hardware detection magic, I recall having similar nightmares on Linux way back when.

I have a tendency to just call it Linux, and lump the distro in with the kernel (and skip the GNU (sorry RMS))


Re:A 'Downgrade' USB Stick? (1)

matthiasvegh (1800634) | about a year ago | (#42777061)

What generally causes problems with the replacement of the motherboard beneath the operating system is generally the storage drivers. CPU you cant swap no problem, same goes for memory, video card, but the motherboard is tricky in that (generally speaking) it also is responsible for the communication with the hard drives, and behaves in a certain way depending on its make etc. If you can, install the appropriate drivers for the new motherboard before switching, and you'll be fine.

They don't really try to hide it anymore, do they? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42770699)

These Slashvertisements are getting so blatant that it's not even funny anymore.

Excuse moi, (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42773313)

would you be so kind and remind, since when they were funny?

that sucks (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42770723)

For that price you can get a starter laptop, or a chrome book. Or you can spend 30 bucks on a decent sized drive and throw Ubuntu on it.

Slashvertisementitis (5, Informative)

Adambomb (118938) | about a year ago | (#42770751)

I know it's pretty cliche to scream slashvertisement whenever there's an article involving a purchasable gadget, but jebus tapdancing christ guys when you advertise the price including a link to their store for something like this it really is getting sad.

If it ISN'T intentional you sure are letting submissions take you for a ride.

Re:Slashvertisementitis (1)

DigiShaman (671371) | about a year ago | (#42772799)

As a longtime member here on Slashdot, I don't mind the the occasional "slashvertisement" so long as two criteria are met.
1. The published Slashvertisement is labeled as such in it's own category. It must be blatant and up-front.
2. They are kept occasional.

Truth is, I have an Iron key basic. There are many features I like about them such as ease of use, self-destruction of data if the password is entered wrong too many times, and FIPS certified. Yes, there are free roll-your-own solutions out there. But the decision I made to purchase a solution was personal. However, Slashvertisements are a welcome IMOH as as reader I value the options that other members have to say about them. That includes the good, the bad, and the ugly.

BTW, why isn't this new product FIPS certified? Is it pending certification, or has their product line been dumbed down after being bought out by another company?

Booting USB on any Apple intel systems? (1, Informative)

Richard_at_work (517087) | about a year ago | (#42770797)

I wonder how they achieve that, since for many configuartions the Apple UFI flat out refuses to boot anything other than OSX on an external device - I had this issue evenly when trying to install Windows as my primary OS on my 2010 MBP, using both an internal HD and SSD, so the DVD drive was external and the MBP refused to boot anything other than the OSX install meda from the DVD drive or a USB stick.

I ended up with a 10GB OSX partition on the SSD which never gets booted into these days - there was no way to just install Windows :/

External booting is enabled on some platforms, but its a far cry from "any" intel Apple.

Re:Booting USB on any Apple intel systems? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42774813)

I just installed Windows on my Mac Mini this past week using a flash drive. Download rEFIt and you can install Windows (and anything else you fancy) without using Boot Camp. I had to install a VM of Windows and use the downloadable Windows 7 flash drive creation tool BEFORE doing a native install, but it worked. rEFIt is very nice.

finally! (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42770919)

An OS that can boot from a USB key! Amazing! Microsoft truly is a magical ccompany that their OS allows such amazing functionality. Meanwhile if you boot linsux on your computer most of the time it will be bricked. That is the difference between real software engineering skill and amateur hour.

Imation's store really sucks (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42771487)

That has to be the worst e-commerce store I've seen in a long time. No sort by price, no sort by capacity, no sort period. No reviews. Horrid layout. Fire your web devs...

Re:Imation's store really sucks (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42771511)

This is the link to the section of the store that has the devices TFS mentions: http://store1.imation.com/store/imation/list/categoryID.59867400

That's a little cleaner than the link in the TFS.

priced from $129 to $389 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42771675)

I guess if you have a $1200 Surface netbook, this is for you! The trend right now of overpriced hardware is probably going to be corrected in a major way when this stuff doesn't sell. Coming soon to the red-dot close-out table at your local office supply store: Surface Pro - $200. Overpriced USB drive - $5.

Who cares; you can't actually use it on more PCs (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42771861)

Microsoft Windows lacks the drivers for hardware and popping a disk out that has Microsoft Windows on it and moving it to another machine does not work. (at least not in any seamless and useful fashion) The only reason it works with GNU/Linux is because it is the best supported operating system of all time and can work with more hardware out of the box than any other.

Personally I wouldn't want to either. It takes away my freedom and have you even used Microsoft Windows 8? It's Microsoft worse operating system ever. It is worse than Vista/ME/98/Microsoft Bob/Office 2007/Office 2010.

Re:Who cares; you can't actually use it on more PC (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42775497)

Wait. Office 2007 & Office 2010 are operating systems? What did they do, swap out Word for Emacs?

Cool! But no click for you! (1)

water-and-sewer (612923) | about a year ago | (#42771871)

This interests me. I've got an old/regular ironkey and like it. But I'm intentionally going to not click on the single most blatant slashvertisement I've ever seen on this site.

Christ, every time Slashdot gets sold it gets worse.

Windows 8 is out? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42772193)

when did windows 8 come out? I thought the latest version is 7. lol. GUess I haven't been keeping up with the latest IT news.

My computer is so old that I cannot boot from a USB drive. It can boot from the floppy drive though. i'll stop spamming now.

Great!? (1)

GNUALMAFUERTE (697061) | about a year ago | (#42773845)

Now I can throw away that inexpensive, generic 2GB USB drive I've been using to boot GNU/Linux systems for at least a decade and change it for an overpriced drive that boots an inferior OS that just finally got support to boot out of USB!

Can't a Mac boot from any USB device? (1)

gig (78408) | about a year ago | (#42777015)

I don't think you need to use this one to boot a Mac. Any USB volume (or FireWire, or SD, or network volume) should work.

Reboot time (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42779067)

> but the drive was configuring itself. Subsequent boot-ups took a mere 35 seconds.

The point about being portable is that you should be able to plug it into different computers and use your system on that. Each different machine will also need to configure itself, so each time a different machine is used it may require a 3minute boot. If it doesn't store each machine's config separately and recognise the machine then even taking it from machine A to machine B and then back to A will cause each boot to be 3minutes+.

Another Virus in the Wild (1)

Ken Dubrick (2831833) | about a year ago | (#42779307)

WOW Really ...do we really Need another way of spreading viruses and Malware. Windows on a stand alone machine with an Internet connection is BAD enough, but to actually have one that can travel.. THIS IS GOING TO FAR NOW. hehehehe I have NO problem with the ability to put an OS on a Flash Drive... In Fact I have Fedora on a 4gb stick. If you REALLY want an OS on a Stick, then Use an OS that actually is USEFUL BUT NOT Windows .. NO NO NO NO... Haven't you retarded people learned you lessons yet,,, WINDOWS DOES NOT WORK ANYWHERE. STOP .. JUST STOP
Check for New Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Sign up for Slashdot Newsletters
Create a Slashdot Account