Kingston’s ‘Windows To Go’ Thumb Drive

Kingston DataTraveler WorkspaceAt the Intel Developer Forum in mid September Kingston Technology demonstrated a prototype of an intriguing product certified by Microsoft to support the Windows To Go version of Windows 8 Enterprise.  The device, called the DataTraveler Workspace (or DT Workspace for short) is more than the simple USB flash drive it resembles.

While a USB flash drive or thumb drive contains little more than a USB flash controller and some NAND flash, the DT Workspace includes a full SSD (based on a standard SandForce controller) plus DRAM.  Windows compatible systems and certain other systems can boot through the USB port with full operation securely remaining within the DT Workspace.  This means that companies that allow employees to bring their own PC to work can be assured that sensitive data remains in the DT Workspace and doesn’t migrate onto the host PC’s hard drive.

Since this drive communicates through a USB 3.0 interface it should operate at a reasonable speed for most tasks.  Internal power storage allows it to be inadvertently removed from the USB slot during operation and not lose data as long as it is re-inserted within 60 seconds of its removal.

This product reminds The Memory Guy of SanDisk’s U3 thrust back in 2005.  A U3 drive contained its own application programs and stored the user’s data.  When it was installed into a host Windows-based PC the drive would open up the user’s desktop.  When the U3 drive was remove all vestiges of the user’s data were securely removed from the host PC.

Although a large number of USB flash drives were shipped preloaded with U3 over the next couple of years, consumers never really adopted the model and it  was phased out.  Perhaps things will be different with Windows To Go.