Windows Embedded road map may bypass Vista

Microsoft official says vendor might use Windows 7 in successor to XP Embedded

The planned successor to the embedded version of Windows XP, due from Microsoft two years from now, may bypass Windows Vista and instead be based on the oft-maligned operating system's own successor, which is codenamed Windows 7.

Microsoft had indicated last fall that the replacement for Windows XP Embedded would use Vista as its core operating system. But in an interview last week, Ilya Bukshteyn, director of marketing for the Windows Embedded product line, said there is a good chance that the next embedded OS -- codenamed Quebec -- will instead be engineered around Windows 7.

"To date, we are certainly working with Vista," Bukshteyn said. But, he added, "if there is an opportunity to get newer technologies in faster, and the customers want it, we may skip Vista."

That may be possible, given that Microsoft earlier this month appeared to drop several hints that Windows 7 might arrive next year. If so, that could give the company's Windows Embedded developers enough time to re-engineer Windows 7 for use in the next embedded operating system, which will be called Windows Embedded Standard under a new naming scheme that Microsoft announced Tuesday while detailing its embedded product plans.

Windows 7 reportedly will be based on a new MinWin microkernel, which, as the name implies, is a fraction of the size of Vista's kernel. In fact, MinWin is so tiny that it lacks a graphics subsystem, according to a presentation done by a Microsoft engineer last fall. The smallness of the microkernel would fit the minimalist nature of Windows Embedded, which is designed for use in handhelds and specialized devices, such as point-of-sale terminals.

In contrast, much of the criticism around Vista involves the size of its massive 4GB core footprint, with analysts from Gartner being the latest to weigh in with a call for Microsoft to downsize the Windows code base.

Indeed, Windows 7 developers are leveraging some of the work that the Windows Embedded group has done "on what a smaller code-base version of Windows would look like," Bukshteyn said. "We have a lot of input into what they're doing. We are working very closely -- closer than in the past."

The collaboration is certainly closer than it was with the Vista development team, according to Greg DeMichillie, an analyst at Directions on Microsoft.

"The Vista guys made a lot of changes without telling the Embedded team," DeMichillie said. Instead of just being able to strip down Vista like they previously did with Windows XP, the Windows Embedded developers "effectively faced a rewrite," he added.

Microsoft quietly began licensing Vista to embedded developers last year. But it has neither customized the operating system for embedded systems nor done much to market it for embedded applications. Bukshteyn said he didn't know many Vista licenses have been bought by embedded developers thus far.

Microsoft laid out its road map for the embedded OS family at the Embedded Systems Conference Silicon Valley yesterday. Although it is the leading commercial vendor of embedded operating systems, Microsoft faces a challenge from Linux in that market that is arguably as strong as the one it faces from the open-source operating system in the server arena.

Bukshteyn confirmed that a minor update to Windows XP Embedded will be announced in June at Microsoft's Tech-Ed 2008 conference for developers. That release will include several features that are included in Windows Vista, such as Windows Media Player 11, Internet Explorer 7 and the Remote Desktop Protocol 6.0 for secure two-way communications.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Eric Lai

Show Comments


James Cook University - Master of Data Science Online Course

Learn more >


Sansai 6-Outlet Power Board + 4-Port USB Charging Station

Learn more >



Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?