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May 7, 2019

Modernizing Windows CE systems with Windows 10 IoT

Microsoft has provided platforms and operating systems for embedded devices for decades. As new offerings such as Windows 10 IoT have become available, our customers and partners are increasingly interested in the advanced security, platform and cloud connectivity features that these OSes provide. Customers moving from most earlier editions of Windows, like Windows XP and Windows 7, can do so with little effort because of binary-compatible applications. Other operating systems, like Windows CE, require device builders to modify source code. Porting applications like this can be challenging.

To help these customers move to Windows 10 IoT and harness the full power of the intelligent edge including artificial intelligence and machine learning, Microsoft is developing technology that will allow most customers to run their existing, unmodified Windows CE applications on Windows 10 IoT while they continue to invest in updating their applications. Today at the Microsoft Build conference, we are sharing preliminary information on this CE migration technology and asking customers to give us feedback by registering at the link below.

How simplified CE migration works
The CE migration technology used on Windows 10 employs pico process technology to run applications in an isolated environment, with the application’s OS dependencies decoupled from the underlying host OS. Pico process technology is used in Windows Subsystem for Linux, which allows Linux distributions to run on Windows, and SQLPAL, which allows SQL Server to run on a Linux host.

The entire Windows CE environment, both user mode and kernel mode, is lifted into the pico process, which runs in the user mode of the underlying Windows 10 IoT OS. A Windows 10 platform abstraction layer handles syscalls (e.g., virtual memory allocations) from the pico process and delivers them to the Windows 10 host OS for processing. You can learn more about how this technology works in the recent IoT Show episode “Modernizing Windows CE Devices.”

Work with Microsoft to simplify CE migration
Over the coming months, we want to gather input from developers to help us better understand the requirements for this CE migration technology and determine how to bring it to our customers.

If you have a Windows CE solution that you want to move forward to Windows 10 IoT, please register your interest here and attend the “Windows IoT: The Foundation for Your Intelligent Edge” session at Build on May 8 at 2 p.m. PT.