Microsoft Enters Embedded Systems Market with Windows NT

Microsoft Corp. has been talking about entering the embedded systems market for some time now, and most of this talk has centered around the Windows CE operating system. However, Team Redmond announced it will deliver a new version of the Microsoft Windows NT 4.0 operating system for embedded systems vendors. Based on Windows NT 4.0 with Service Pack 4, Windows NT Embedded 4.0 is an open system solution enabling greater functionality, faster time-to-market for richer solutions and a reduced cost of owning and operating embedded devices.

"Embedded solutions vendors have been looking for an open system solution and have asked Microsoft to make Windows NT that platform," said Mike Nash, director of marketing for Windows NT Server and infrastructure products at Microsoft.

Historically, embedded systems vendors have developed closed solutions based on fragmented and proprietary platforms. Windows NT Embedded 4.0 provides end users with the tools for managing embedded devices, such as a copier, from a desktop PC or easily integrating the functionality of that copier into an existing server infrastructure. As a complement to Windows CE, Windows NT Embedded 4.0 poses design advantages for embedded solutions that are interconnected, require full Win32 binary compatibility, and are tightly integrated with Microsoft BackOffice family products in line-of-business systems.

Windows NT Embedded 4.0 delivers new embedded features and target design tools that will help vendors reduce time-to-market for new devices, lower development costs and improve the functionality of solutions. New features include Headless support, which enables a new class of devices for Windows NT that run without a mouse, keyboard or display device. FLASH Media support, a Write Filter driver and a CD Boot driver enable a lower-cost, more reliable embedded device that boots and operates without a physical disk drive and from read-only media such as FLASH or CD-ROMs. The new Remote management infrastructure allows embedded systems to be remotely managed, configured and updated.

In September, an early alpha version of Windows NT Embedded was released for technical evaluation to a small group of companies within the communications, industrial automation, office automation, medical devices and retail point-of-sale industries. A broad beta of Windows NT Embedded 4.0 is scheduled for release in the first quarter of 1999. –Thomas Sullivan, Staff Reporter/Reviews Editor

About the Author

Scott Bekker is editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.


  • The Case for In-Application Backups

    Application-integrated backup tools should never replace conventional backups, but they have their place.

  • Microsoft Uniting OneDrive and SharePoint Admin Portals Next Month

    Microsoft is converging its OneDrive and SharePoint Admin Center management portals, with a consolidated portal expected to arrive for Microsoft 365 subscribers "through February."

  • Phishing Tops Concerns in Microsoft Study of Remote Work

    Potential phishing attacks were a top concern of most IT security professionals when organizations switched to remote-work conditions early last year.

  • How To Configure Windows 10 for Intel Optane Memory

    Intel's Optane memory technology can significantly improve the performance of your Windows 10 system -- provided you enable it correctly. A single mistake can render the system unbootable. Here's how to do it the right way.

comments powered by Disqus