April 15, 2011, 4:56 PM — Windows 8 rumors have been floating around for some time, but recently an early build of Windows 8 was leaked, providing a sneak peek at what the next flagship OS from Microsoft might have to offer. One of the cool features that have been uncovered so far is the ability to take your Windows 8 desktop with you on a USB thumb drive.
Microsoft has revealed a few official details about Windows 8, but the majority of what is out there amounts to rumor and speculation. We do know that Microsoft is developing Windows 8 with tablets in mind. Microsoft has stated that Windows 8 will work with both ARM and x86 processors, and there are hints at a new multi-touch gesture interface to go along with it.
Microsoft also appears to be including a feature to let you take Windows 8 with you in your pocket anywhere you may go. Engadget reports that screenshots from an early leaked version of Windows 8 show a feature called Portable Workspace Creator. The concept behind Portable Workspace seems to be to let you take a bootable copy of the Windows 8 OS, complete with your desktop settings and user files, and carry it with you on a USB thumb drive.
I realize that relatively few people will be familiar with the concept, but Linux has offered an OS-on-a-stick capability in various flavors for some time. I used to carry around a bootable Knoppix Linux OS on a USB thumb drive to use when necessary for troubleshooting a Windows PC.
There are no details about Portable Workspace yet beyond what can be surmised from the leaked screenshot. It seems to require a minimum of a 16GB USB drive, and may only work in Windows 8 Enterprise edition.
It would be cool, though, to be able to carry your complete bootable OS and desktop workspace from your work PC, and boot it up on your home PC. It would also be beneficial for support personnel to be able to carry an operational copy of Windows 8--complete with their collection of tools they need for troubleshooting and administration--on a USB thumb drive.
But, it is still very early in the Windows 8 game and anything can change between now and when the OS actually hits the shelf. And, it's possible that the screenshots are fake and none of this is even relevant. I guess we'll see.