In considering the differences between Windows Embedded Standard 7 and 2009, in the main, we’re talking about the differences between Windows 7 and Windows XP on which the two are based, which are considerable. Windows 7 brings various new features, which may hold value depending on the nature of the embedded product under consideration.
Let’s look at some of the features of Windows 7 which are most relevant to the embedded situation:
Most noticeable are Internet Explorer 8, Windows Media Player 12, Remote Desktop Protocol 7, Silverlight 3, .NET Framework 3.5 SP1. Any of these could prove decisively useful for the right product type, however the last two bring the greatest general embedded appeal. All with the possible exception of Windows Media Player 12 can run on XP, and therefore on Windows Embedded Standard 2009 – but of course it’s what is included out of the box that is critical, and all those features are in with the base configuration of Standard 7.
AppLocker and BitLocker are brand new features in Windows 7 which should be particularly useful in completely securing an embedded device, and making it virus-proof.
UI features such as Windows Touch and Aero which provide the opportunity to create the “immersive” user experience seem to be a key driver for those considering taking up Standard 7.
And let’s not forget 64-bit operation. Faster boot times and improved power management are mentioned, and will be the subject of a future post when we have more experience.
Image size is much larger for Windows Embedded Standard 7, typically occupying 3GB vs 500MB for 2009. I’m not sure how much this matters these days. Either way, booting from a flash device is the likely scenario.
Standard 7 is not available for deployment until June, and pricing of the two versions (of which more in a later post) have not been announced. You would logically expect the higher end WS7P version which includes Touch, AppLocker/Bitlocker, multi-language support and Media Center to be significantly more expensive than Standard 2009.
Note that development process is fundamentally different, with the Standard 7 image being built on a target (or more accurately a “reference device”), while the Windows Embedded Standard 2009 image is built on the development system. The tools are completely different for the two systems. Standard 7 tools include the interactive Image Builder Wizard (IBW), which gives an easy path to image creation on its own, and Image Configuration Editor (ICE).
Deployment and servicing of an image is also completely changed (not covered in this post).
An MSDN Embedded Subscription gives access to development tools for both operating systems, however the Standard 7 tools are currently only available in evaluation form, with the official release for outright purchase and MSDN subscribers set to appear in early June.