Special Feature
Part of a ZDNet Special Feature: Windows 8 in Business

IronKey Workspace lets you put Windows 8 in your pocket

The IronKey Workspace is an encrypted USB flash drive certified by Microsoft to be a Windows To Go drive device.

Imation has released a new USB flash drive called the IronKey Workspace, which is an encrypted flash drive certified as a Windows 8 ‘Windows To Go’ device.

Image source: Imation.

Windows To Go is a new feature of Windows 8 Enterprise that allows users to load a copy of the operating system onto a flash drive and take that with them for use on another PC. Plug the USB drive into the PC, boot up off it, and you’re working in Windows 8.

Imation has taken its already rugged IronKey USB flash drives, which already featured hardware-based AES 256-bit full disk encryption, and added super-fast USB 3.0 support and flash memory to create a drive that offers five times the minimum average read and write speeds needed for Windows to Go. It can average read speeds of 300 MB/sec, and around 200 MB/sec write speeds.

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While there are plenty of USB flash drives that will work with the Windows To Go feature, the IronKey Workspace is the only one to receive the Microsoft seal of approval, and as such is the only drive that Microsoft officially supports. Depending on the speed of the host PC, you can boot into Windows 8 from the drive in under a minute.

Running an operating system off a flash drive subjects it to stresses and wear that’s very different to using it as a regular storage device. Imation has designed the IronKey Workspace primarily as a platform for Windows To Go, adding features to help it cope with the additional workload that running an operating system takes on the drive.

The on-board encryption and password-protection means that if the drive is lost or stolen, your data is protected against intrusion. On-board software will securely wipe the drive after a pre-set number of incorrect passwords have been attempted, and all the electronics are encased in epoxy to prevent tampering. The epoxy is protected by a tough metal shell, and the entire drive is resistant to dirt, dust, and water to MIL-STD-810F standards.

The IronKey Workspace is available in 32GB ($129), 64GB ($215), and 128GB ($389) versions.

UPDATE: According to Microsoft, there are six hardware partners certified to manufacture Windows To Go drives.

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