Windows Embedded = Hassle

I’ve been working with Windows Embedded a lot lately.  Specifically, Windows Embedded Standard 7 or WES7.  The lack of information out there is shocking.  I was assigned to work on a project that would utilize WES7.  When the assignment came down, I had zero experience with it.  I was literally starting from scratch.

Getting started really wasn’t too hard.  Handling the details of actually doing the work is where the hassles began.

Oracle VM VirtualBox

To get started, I needed a way to run an embedded system on my development box.  Fortunately, Oracle provides an excellent and free tool that facilitates this.

Simply go to and download the appropriate client.

Getting Started

Next, we need to go download the software from Microsoft.  The url for that is (or at least that’s where to get started).

WEDU (Updates) and Distribution Shares

Windows Embedded has the concept of a Distribution Share.  It’s basically the operating system that you’ll create your images from.  Distribution Shares have all of the options available to you.  You end up creating an “Answer File” that includes your own software as well as the software from the Distribution Share.

Windows Embedded Developer Update (WEDU) is the tool that allows you to update your Distribution Shares so that you can create updated images.  I had nothing but trouble with WEDU.  No matter what I tried, it complained that the software wasn’t registered.  I’d go through the process and it would claim it worked, but in reality, it never did.

The key to getting WEDU to properly register my software so I could get updates was to log into my Hotmail account (Microsoft Live) with Internet Explorer and make sure to have the “Keep me signed in” checkbox checked.  Then start WEDU.  Sheese…

Adding a DS to WEDU

After WEDU recognizes that you’re legit and can get updates, you have to manually add the distribution shares to it.  By default, the stock distribution shares are in C:\Program Files (x86)\Windows Embedded Standard 7\DSSP1 and C:\Program Files (x86)\Windows Embedded Standard 7\DS64SP1.

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