If you didn’t already know, Windows Embedded POSReady is the successor of Windows Embedded for Point of Service. Windows Embedded POSReady boasts a long list of new and/or improved features over Windows Embedded for Point of Service – just check out the 38 features listed on http://www.posready.com/.
Some of the changes we made are obvious, others are less obvious. For this post, I’m going to go over the changes we made that you’ll notice when stepping through the Setup wizard screens.
In Windows Embedded for Point of Service, the only way you could run Setup using an answer file was through the command line. Catching the “Press any key…” prompt can be a slight annoyance if you’re not the type to wait patiently in front of the screen. In Windows Embedded POSReady, you have the option to pass in the answer file on the second screen.
By selecting the Unattended Setup option as shown in the screenshot below, you are prompted to browse to the location of your answer file. The Setup wizard then proceeds automatically by using the values specified in your file.
Originally available only to OEMs as a supplement, the ability to add third-party mass storage drivers is now built into the Setup wizard. While you still need to supply the drivers immediately after booting from CD or DVD by pressing F6, you now don’t need to have the drivers on the CD or DVD itself in order to complete the wizard.
After selecting the Install Third-Party Storage Drivers option, as in the screenshot below, removable media locations, such as USB drives, are automatically searched for possible drivers.
Note that if you’re running Setup from a USB flash disk, you won’t need to supply the drivers immediately after booting.
Language Settings and Regional Settings
These two wizard screens were originally combined into one screen in Windows Embedded for Point of Service. In Windows Embedded POSReady, we simplified the user interface and vastly improved the code for localizing the OS. The workaround steps previously described in this blog series no longer applies for POSReady. As well, we have also resolved the issues that were outlined in the series.
You’ll notice on the Language Settings screen that we now use language collections for localization of the UI. Use of these language collections allow for support of multiple languages at a time instead of installing support for individual languages one at a time. Another benefit to using the language collections is that they can also be uninstalled after Setup has completed, similarly to the behaviour of optional components which is described next.
More information about language collections can be found here (Locale IDs, Input Locales, and Language Collections for Windows XP and Windows Server 2003) and here (Language Collection and Fonts in Windows XP).
For those of you who need a vanilla POSReady image, this new screen can help to abstract the nitty-gritty details behind individual optional components and virtual memory values. Selecting Typical or Minimum is all you’ll need to do before continuing on to the next wizard screen of entering your computer name and admin password.
For the rest of you who need the option to select individual optional components and tweak the virtual memory, selecting the Custom option will bring you to the Optional Components and Virtual Memory screens that are described next.
If you really can’t decide what option to select on the Installation Type screen, keep in mind that you can always add on or remove optional components after Setup is complete, so there’s some leeway for you to make changes later.
Optional Components and Virtual Memory
If you select the custom option from the Installation Type screen, you will be taken to the Optional Components and Virtual Memory screens.
The Optional Components screen is somewhat reminiscent of that of Windows Embedded for Point of Service, but you’ll easily notice some key differences. One is that there are more options available and the options are more granular. This level of granularity can help you reduce the disk space needed for the image and reduce the time needed to install the image, among other benefits. Another difference is that the language packs have now been removed since selection of the language collections are already taken care of on the Language Settings screen.
The Virtual Memory screen was previously not offered in the Windows Embedded for Point of Service. Automatic calculation was used if you installed Windows Embedded for Point of Service through the Setup wizard and changes to virtual memory could only be done through use of the answer file when needed. With the addition of the USB Boot feature in POSReady and retail hardware catching up on the latest processing speeds nowadays, we found that direct manipulation of the paging file size in the wizard proved to be an added benefit and, sometimes, necessary.
I hope you liked this walk through of the POSReady Setup wizard. If you’re interested in trying it out yourself, you are welcome to order a trial copy and register for a Product Key from http://www.posready.com/ (see links on the far right).
Stay tuned for future posts that go into more detail behind some of the new features of POSReady!