[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.]
*Note - this particular article also had contributions from one of the Embedded Windows team members, Peter Felts.
A growing number of connected devices work without direct interaction with a user. In most cases they also do not have the normal human machine interface devices: monitor, mouse and keyboard. These so-called headless devices require some planning when building a suitable operating system image.
In Feb 09 a new component was released as part of the Optional Update package (available from the ECE Site) called the Boot Configuration component. This component was created in response to requests from customers to be able to set various boot options offline in Target Designer.
The new component is unusual in that it contains no resources <grin> but only configurable UI. Once added to a configuration you can select an number of options to add to the boot.ini that is created when that configuration is built.
OS developers that have been using XP Embedded from the very early beginnings may remember the times when it was quite a challenge to reproduce standard XP Professional behavior for certain functionality in an embedded image. Of course, it always has been possible because the desktop as well as the embedded OS are have always used exactly the same binaries, but at times it was not always clear which components were needed to get the desired result in an embedded configuration. Since then, we have come a long way and fortunately the Windows Embedded team kept up the great work to improve this experience by adding so-called compatibility macros. A lot of them can be found in the Software\Test & Development folder of the component database.
As with any tool there are some situations in Windows Embedded Studio new users may find challenging to understand, when they occur for the first time. In this post I have collected the most common ones, hoping to provide some insight into why they happen and how users should react to resolve the issues.