Windows Embedded Home
Windows Embedded 8 Family
Windows Embedded 7 Family
Other Windows Embedded Products
[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.]
In some of my recent posts I have already shed some light on enterprise infrastructure components such as ADSI, WMI or COM+ Services. Another member of this family is Group Policies. As part of the Windows security system it provides a granular means to configure user-, system- and domain-wide functionality, which can also be synchronized via Active Directory if needed.
In contrast with other Windows subsystems there is no macro component that holds the complete Group Policy support, instead each of the relevant feature components, e.g. Internet Explorer, pull-in Group Policy support as needed into an embedded image. Although GPs are configuration infrastructure features similar to WMI, there are some subtle differences. WMI is not as tightly woven into the Windows security system and user management cannot be as easily applied to a larger number of computers.
Adding Group Policies requires image sizes above 100 MB at least and, therefore, might not be an optimal fit if a project needs to have a minimal footprint. If images can around 200 to 400 MB or larger, there is great value to be derived from this infrastructure. There are no settings in Target Designer to configure these components during build time- all configuration is handled during runtime.
One of the great things about Group Policies is that any setting you create with the Group Policy Object Editor (GPedit.msc) can be synched across a domain easily or, in the case of embedded, cloned from a master image to all target systems. This does not only apply to local or network configuration settings. The power of Group Policies becomes apparent when the configuration has to follow specific policy requirements, that may be a mix of device, user and security settings. Here some interesting sample scenarios.
10 embedded scenarios for Group Policies
These ten samples are just the tip of the iceberg. There are tons of unexplored settings and configurations left to discover that are able to help in a Windows Embedded Standard Project.