**Updated 3/26/09 with preface
[The following article is authored by one of the Windows Embedded MVPs (Most Valuable Professionals). Our MVPs have a heavy background in Embedded systems and are a great repository of information on Windows Embedded products. We’re providing this space on our team blog as a service to our readers by allowing MVPs to share some of their knowledge with the rest of the community.]
Embedded devices quite often have special footprint requirements that have direct effects on the way these devices can be managed. Small footprint, for example, may mean fewer management capabilities available on the device. This leads to different management scenarios.
Disk protection in Windows Embedded Standard is part of the so called “Embedded Enabling Features” or EEFs. This name describes a group of functionality that, unlike the rest of Standard’s features, is not available in XP Pro SP3 and has been designed specifically to meet the needs of embedded device manufacturers. Among all EEFs, disk protection is the most prominent one, because it is able to satisfy unique scenarios that are very common across the vertical markets embedded devices are used in.
Disk Protection offers a lot of benefits in embedded scenarios. However, it does not come for free. Protecting a partition means shielding the content from all changes, which means undesired as well as desired changes. Due to this, complexity in maintaining the system increases.
If there is one change management tool in the Microsoft platform that comes close to a Swiss army knife then it is System Center Configuration Manager (formerly known as SMS server). This piece of back-end infrastructure is capable of doing sophisticated, enterprise class device management, fulfilling most of the requirements administrators have in their daily business.
To design and build a device are just the initial steps in the complete life cycle of a modern embedded system. Connected devices, especially, can and need to be updated, either to enhance their value while in field, or to guarantee their correct behavior by rolling out necessary patches to fix bugs or security holes.