IronKey 128GB Windows To Go W500 (WGHB0B128G0001)
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- Workspace W500 for Windows To Go
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|Sold By||Available from these sellers||antonline||BeachAudio||BC Superstore||MemoryC||Amazon.com|
|Digital Storage Capacity||128 GB||64 GB||32 GB||8 GB||32 GB||32 GB|
|Hardware Interface||USB 2.0, USB 2.0||USB 3.0||USB 3.0||USB 3.0, USB 3.0, USB 3.0||USB 2.0||USB 3.0, USB 3.0, USB 3.0|
|Item Dimensions||2.8 x 5.1 x 1.2 in||0.9 x 0.65 x 2.96 in||0.91 x 2.96 x 0.65 in||0.5 x 3.16 x 1 in||5.08 x 4.06 x 0.65 in||2.9 x 5 x 1 in|
|Item Weight||1 lb||0.16 ounces||0.71 ounces||0.53 ounces||1.28 ounces||0.49 ounces|
|Memory Storage Capacity||128||64 GB||32 GB||8||32||32 GB|
Microsoft-Certified For Windows To Go. Transform Any Pc Into An It-Managed Workspace provide Your Users With An Imaged And Fully Functional Version Of Windows 8.1 - One That Delivers A Fast, Full Windows Desktop And Can Be Booted Directly From A Trusted Ironkey Drive. Mobilize With Windows To Go distribute And Manage Mobile Work Environments That Mirror Your Corporate Desktop, And Ensure Employees, Partners And Contractors Are Using Mobile Workspaces Created And Managed By Workspaces With Ironkey 256-Bit Aes Hardware Encryption Combines With Strong, Built-In Password Protection Capabilities And A Tamper-Resistant Metal Housing To Help You Control User Access To Desktops, Sensitive Data And Critical Certified To Run Microsoft Windows 7 Or Higher Operating Systems. Persistently Defend Data And Applications Imation Ironkey Windows 8.1 To Go Devices, Data And Applications Are Automatically Protected The Moment Users Remove Flash Drives From Their Host On Ironkey Drives Built To Workspace W500 Windows 8.1 To Go Drives Undergo Thousands Of Hours Of Rigorous Read/Write Tests, And We Encase Each One In A Sturdy, Tamper-Evident Metal Chassis That's Resistant To Water, Dust And Shocks. Keep Your People Workspace W500 Drives Are Also About Performance, Delivering Read/Write Performance Exceeding The Minimum Requirements For Windows To Go Devices. Users Will Get Sequential Read Performance Of Up To 400 Mb/Second And Sequential Write Speeds Of Up To 316 Mb/Second. Ironkey Workspace W500 Does Not Include Microsoft Windows. Requires Microsoft Windows 8.1 Enterprise Edition.
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The drive comes in a box with a ring clip and nothing else. Had to look up the documentation on how to set this drive up. I work in IT and know how to set up Windows To Go, but for this I decided to upgrade the firmware, which required some extra steps in preparing the Windows To Go image. There are several steps and unfortunately no single document could be followed. Had to go back and forth through documentation on how to finally accomplish upgrading firmware, configuring a Windows To Go image, and how to use the drive.
The one real issue I had is in reading the documentation is that there are a lot of steps which keep noting that if you do something wrong, the device may be unusable. For a $400.00 device that is pretty scary.
The main issue I had is the firmware update process. It took a long time. Almost one hour. When the firmware update started it kept giving updates and looked like processes were happening. However after about 5 to 10 minutes in the status never changed. Just kept saying "Updating device". After 20 minutes of inactivity I was tempted to kill the process and try again. Instead I just left it alone. After about another 30 minutes I got some status updates and then quickly finished for a total time of about 1 hour for me. I wish the documentation could provide estimated completion times.
After preparing the Windows To Go image as documented, (there are extra steps to perform if using firmware version 4.2 that you need to do to the WIM before applying it to the drive) the rest was straightforward. I ended up getting Windows 8.1 working on this device and used it across several different model PC's (no Macs although the documentation says Macs are supported which my other drive worked in Macs, but had no Mac support so I'm sure this will definitely work in a Mac)
Everything is working well so far. Speed is comparable to my previous Windows To Go drive and performance is good. This is actually faster that using the internal hard drive on some older machines. Especially laptops that have slow IDE/SATA drives. By using this device, you basically bypass the internal hard drive of the system you use all together. I have the 128GB version and its nice to see that it uses the full 128GB. I have 118GB usable after formatting the drive. There is a separate boot partition that I was assuming would be included in the 128GB, but that is actually separate from that space, which is nice that it wasn't advertised as 128GB and then having 100GB usable like my old drive did. This device only works with Windows To Go, which is only available on Windows 8/8.1 Enterprise edition. If you do not have this edition you will not be able to use the Windows To Go Wizard or the Imation provisioning services. There are ways around this limitation which work, but I have not tested this on a hardware encrypted drive. The other methods for sure work on non-encrypted so to attempt that the W300 version may be a better choice.
The other review I read was trying to use it as a secure usb data drive. This will not work for that at all. This is intended for Windows To Go use only. The way the drive works after configuring it is that you will boot to your USB drive. It will then prompt you for a password to unlock the drive. If you successfully authenticate you will then restart and boot from the USB drive again. However this time it will boot into Windows and then you will not be able to tell that you are working from a USB drive. (Yes its that fast).
One thing being that this is a hardware encrypted drive, I was unsure how it would behave once booting into Windows. The nice thing for me is that sometimes I will remote back to this machine from a remote location, and have to restart it. The cool thing about this drive is that once you authenticate you will not have to authenticate (unlock) the drive anymore until you actually shut windows down or remove it and plug it in somewhere else. You can actually restart the Windows To Go workspace without having to unlock the drive anymore. The other Imation W300 has no hardware encryption and if you use BitLocker you would have to put in your password after every reboot. However if you do not need encryption the W300 would be a cheaper choice. If you do, you can still get the cheaper W300 and use BitLocker, but will not have the ability to reboot the workstation remotely because it will then sit on a PIN prompt. With this W500 you can remotely restart and not have to worry about that and have encryption on your Windows To Go workspace.
As a last note, the workstation experience will be as good as the hardware you are using. It makes full use of everything other than the hard drive. So better processor, better graphics card, more memory will increase your performance. Basically it would be the equivalent of replacing your hard drive with an external hard drive. That is how this device behaves. For the most part installing Windows 8 or 8.1 whatever drivers do not get picked up will not get picked up with Windows To Go. However you can prepare a custom Windows 8/8.1 image to include all necessary drivers or just manually install them once. For me we use several HP model desktops and it was good at recognizing pretty much all of the hardware. Basically if you have installed Windows 8/8.1 on a particular model and had to install drivers after the Windows installation, you will have to do the same for Windows To Go. This will be a one time process for each device that you have to manually install a driver for.
This drive is great for Windows To Go. I am using it with Windows 8.1 and thus far have used it in about 6 different hardware types without having to install any drivers. I have used it on both USB 3.0 and USB 2.0 ports. If I am not copying large files back and forth the performance to me is negligible.
The device is sturdy and solid. The only thing that I can say bad about the drive is there is no place to put the cap on when the drive is being used. So when you are using the drive, make sure to put the cap in a location you won't lose it. The device is solid, its all closed off, is supposedly water resistant and doesn't look like there is an easy way to pry this open. Its aluminum so its has a nice feel and quality to it. Some of the reviews I have read say the device gets hot. To me it gets warm. My SuperTalent that this replaced got much hotter so to me this actually just gets warm.
1. Windows To Go only. Cannot be used to store secure data
2. Hardware encryption. No need for BitLocker or any other type of encryption. (BitLocker not recommended for the W500. States it may make your Windows To Go Workspace unusable)
3. Solid and quality feel
4. Looks nice
5. Performance just on the drive alone is fast.
6. Takes some technical knowledge to get this setup, but it works and it works well once configured. (This drive seems to be made for enterprise use using Imation's proprietary management and provisioning servers but can be configured as a one off device without any management)
7. You do not need anything other than a computer with Windows 8 or 8.1 Enterprise to set this up. (If you are familiar with setting up Windows To Go you should be able to use this to even deploy Windows 7. However this is not supported, and on my old drive I was able to do it (not hardware encrypted). On this one I did not try because of the hardware encryption. If you are going to attempt that I would prefer to try on the W300 instead which has no hardware encryption)
Update August 20, 2015
I still am using this device and have now upgraded to Windows 10. I can verify that this works with Windows 8, 8.1, and 10 without issue.
For Windows 10 I had to follow the same process to update firmware from 4.2 to 4.3. Once complete, had to perform the same preparation for the Windows 10 WIM. After that was done, the process remains exactly the same. Nothing noticeable has changed with the firmware change and everything is still working as it always has, but now using this with Windows 10. I am still very happy with this product and am glad that Imation is keeping up with technology changes and making these devices usable. Unlike other companies that might make you purchase a different device for compatibility, this product only required a firmware update. Not many products are like that anymore.
This required booting flash drive from bios, to unlock the device then another reboot into bios to boot into the unlocked windows.
Cannot be used as a secure flash drive, with this device you will still need to carry other flash drives, which was a major disappointment.
Utility AdminUnlocker.exe was deliberately left off the device,
software which would have helped unlock the device to use as a flash drive.
Support from Ironkey was of no value, it was non-technical and vague (security by obfuscation).
There may be other less expensive USB drives that can do more.