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MSDN Home > MSJ > September 1999
September 1999

Microsoft Systems Journal Homepage

Editor's Note

What's 98.6 degrees , dripping with sweat, and wears a ripped "Tai-Bo" t-shirt? No, it's not the security guard at One MSJ Plaza. It's actually One MSJ Plaza itself. Thanks to a crippling heat wave in the New York City area, we've had to relocate the ednote server to Redmond this month. The forecast for this page? 65 degrees and overcast, with occasional sprinkles of information.
But fear not; neither rain, nor snow, nor gloom of day can stay these editors from their appointed rounds of providing you with the latest news from Microsoft. One new product is an intriguing offering named Windows NT Embedded. Yes, Windows NT everywhere! Microsoft envisions this product utilized in a variety of medium- to high-end applications—from POS units to copiers to PBX systems. With a host of programming tools, the development suite for Windows NT Embedded can be divided into three major areas.
The inclusion of Windows NT source files is major area number one. Windows NT Embedded is based on Windows NT 4.0, including Service Pack 5.
Near and dear to our hearts is the second component, a tool named the Target Designer. As the primary authoring utility, it is used for configuring and building the OS. What better way to beat the heat than to take the graphical Target Designer for a spin? With each OS feature represented by a GUI component, you'll point and click your way to creating the OS, integrating custom components and applications, and building a bootable embedded system.
These custom components are crafted using the third piece of Windows NT Embedded, the Component Designer. Amazingly, this tool is used to construct component definition files that are used in conjunction with the Target Designer to list and configure operating system offerings.
What kind of development system is required? We're told you can get by with a 300MHz Pentium-class machine with 64MB of RAM and 90MB of free disk space. That's certainly not the high end today, but by now we all know better than to take the minimum. Besides, you know that the Windows NT source code has got to command more than 90MB of disk space and you will be debugging with it. The target devices for Windows NT Embedded are only x86- and Pentium-based and require at least 12MB of RAM and 8MB of persistent storage.
Since Windows NT Embedded is based on Windows NT 4.0, the major Win32 APIs are supported, as are the major communications protocols including: TCP/IP, IPX/SPX, AppleTalk, Netbeui, PPP, SLIP, CSLIP, PAP, CHAP, PPTP, HTTP, RPC, and SNMP. Windows NT Embedded wouldn't be Windows NT without also supporting OLE/COM, DCOM, RAS, DHCP, DNS, ODBC, TAPI, NTLM, and WINS.
What kind of a footprint can you expect with all this? The answer varies based on the components, but a simple non-networked, command shell-based system calls for the minimum target device requirements previously mentioned. If networking and a GUI are needed, the minimum system footprint rises to 16MB of RAM and 16MB of persistent storage.
Yet to be answered is how Windows NT Embedded jibes with Windows CE. But since this is only the ednote, we'll just whet your appetite for some icy gazpacho and get back to sending that fruit basket to the HVAC folks at ConEd. Meantime, keep cool here in our pages and at

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