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  • Windows Embedded Blog

    DUAScriptGen and more...

    Aaron Stebner has created a sticky article you can always go to now for the latest info on the DUAScriptGen tool. If you use (or are thinking of using) DUA to service your embedded device you owe it to yourself to check out this PowerTool, it simplifies the process of authoring DUA script files. Also, Aaron is very receptive to feedback and bug reports.

    If you're not familiar with Device Update Agent, it's a very lightweight executable that runs on the embedded device. The agent polls a location specified by you to look for scripts to run that will install OS or Application update packages on the client machine. The polling location can be remote (maybe a web server on the internet) or local (perhaps a CD-ROM). Here's some links to begin with if you want more info:

    Begin with this DUA Start Page on MSDN.

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  • Windows Embedded Blog

    Fine-tuning Embedded Device Experiences

    **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.] 

    An embedded device has to look like an embedded device! This means that the system and its user interface needs to be optimized according to the device purpose and should not behave like a PC. In some cases, the systems should not even give a hint about the platform they are running on. This does not only lead to a better usability experience, but also can be the first security barrier if systems are designed to operate in places where neither network nor physical access can be controlled very well. Gaming consoles, for example, are very often a target for fraud and designers try to set up many intrusion barriers to guard against this.

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  • Windows Embedded Blog

    Installing VS2005 or VS2008 redistributable files on Windows Embedded Standard 2009

    There have been several forum posts about including the redistributable files for Visual studio 2005 or Visual Studio 2008 in a runtime image so that applications built using these versions can run. Windows Embedded Standard 2009 database does not have componentized versions of the redistributable files for these versions of VS. The easiest way is to include the redist files as part of the application during development. If you are not the developer of the application then there are a few options.

    • You could create a new component with an FBA Generic Command that calls the redistributable package installer during FBA. You should set the FBA phase to between 8500 and 12,000 so that it runs later in the FBA sequence. If the redist package supports a quiet flag, and a silent install is desired, specify the appropriate switches in the Arguments property of the FBA Generic Command, such as

    “%11%\cmd.exe” for FilePath and

    “/c <path>\vcredist_x86.exe /q” for Arguments property.

    • Calling the redist executable directly will fail. You could just as easily do a RunOnce command in a new component, but an FBA Generic Command provides more control over the order that this command will run, especially if you have other components that are also doing custom actions during FBA.
    • You could also componentize the redist installer, which requires breaking the setup apart into the associated files and registry data and creating a component containing those resources.

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  • Windows Embedded Blog

    New Boot Configuration Component for Standard 2009

    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.

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  • Windows Embedded Blog

    Preventing 'Last Access' Chatter

    The NTFS file system comes with some way cool features. Unfortunately, not all of these features are beneficial in some embedded systems. When used with EWF, one NTFS feature that is typically not desirable is "Last Access" logging. This feature keeps track of when a file or folder was last accessed as a result of either a read or a write operation.
     
    The NTFS file system keeps a Last Access Time attribute for each file and folder on the volume. When a file is access, this attribute is updated in memory and then later the attribute is written, with a delay of up to one hour, to two places on the disk. In addition to writing this value to the file's attribute, it is also written to the Master File Table (MFT) record.
     
    For a flash based volume, one would like to minimize the number of writes made to the volume so that the life of the memory is maximized. In many systems a RAM based EWF overlay is used for this purpose. But with the NTFS file system logging every access to every files and folders on a volume, the RAM overlay could be quickly consumed.
     
    Not to worry, there is a way to disable the Last Access logging. And, it's not particularly painful. All you need to do is to create the following registry key on your run-time image:

    Key Name: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM \CurrentControlSet \Control\ FileSystem
    Name: NtfsDisableLastAccessUpdate
    Type: REG_DWORD
    Value: 1

    Although disabling this feature will significantly "quiet" the NTFS file system driver, this isn't the only performance enhancement you should consider. For a full list of EWF performance considerations, please read this link.
     
    For general information on optimizing NTFS performance, you might want to read this article.

    - Jim

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