I've been building Windows XP Embedded labs for various events - in each case I've needed to capture the hardware definition for the “Master PC”, then import this component to the component database and build/test the o/s image on that device - we dual boot the development PC into the Windows XP Embedded image - this typically works very well, there are some issues though... for example, at one recent lab some of the lab PC's had a slightly different hardware configuration than the “Master PC” - the master image Ghosted ok to all the PC's, but right at the end of the lab when we booted the XP Embedded image the machines that had a different hardware configuration blue screened, this is expected since the o/s image contained incorrect drivers for the hardware.

So I've been thinking about how we can work with multiple PC devices in the same lab without the hardware issues - the answer of course was staring me in the face... I've been working with Windows CE and the Emulator for quite some time, so why not use a “Virtual PC” to boot and host the Windows XP Embedded operating system ? - sounds like a good idea, eh...

It just so happens that Microsoft has a Virtual PC product - http://www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/virtualpc/ - there's a 45 day “full version” download on the sitte, go check it out...

I've created an o/s image that has two hard drive partitions 2GB for Windows XP and 700MB for Windows XP Embedded - why have two partitions I hear you ask... and that is a very good question, I have two partitions in the Virtual PC so that I can 1) run TAP on the Windows XP o/s image and capture the hardware definition for the device, and 2) it makes it so much easier to copy the XP Embedded o/s image down to the device that's running Windows XP

I plan on writing up more information on this for the XP Embedded “Get Embedded” article, keep an eye out for it...

- Mike