Operating Systems Technologies (OS Tech)


Creating innovations in the base abstractions from which developers build applications.  Our work spans from user interfaces to kernel and OS substructures. We are part of the MSR New Experiences and Technologies (NExT) organization.

While our current projects are often shrouded in mystery, some of our current and previous efforts include…

Azure Sphere

Azure Sphere is an end-to-end solution that enables device manufactures to build MCU devices that are Internet-connected and Highly-Secured. Azure Sphere is currently in private preview with select device manufacturing partners.


Building an automated operating system for large-scale data centers hosting third party applications. The BIG project started in Microsoft Research in late summer 1999 and moved to the Windows Server Division in fall 2001. BIG provided key technologies and learnings that helped Microsoft transition for pure-software to a cloud services provider.


Software package for re-routing Win32 APIs underneath applications. Under commercial release for over 10 years, Detours is licensed by over 100 ISVs and used within nearly every product team at Microsoft.


Drawbridge is a lightweight form of virtualization for application sandboxing. Drawbridge combines two core technologies: First, a picoprocess, which is a process-based isolation container with a minimal kernel API surface. Second, a library OS, which is a version of Windows enlightened to run efficiently within a picoprocess. In 2011-2012, the core Drawbridge research team moved to the Azure division, where we deployed Drawbridge as a sandboxing solution used within Azure services.

Experiment 19

A skunkworks project to re-imagine the Windows Phone on a converged OS platform. The prototype proved that Windows NT and the CLR could deliver better performance than Windows CE and the .NET Compact Framework on identical hardware. Within months of the completion of Experiment 19, Microsoft launched efforts to build what would become Windows Phone 8 and Windows RT for ARM tablets.

HomeOS: Enabling smarter homes for everyone

To simplify the management of technology in the home and to simplify the development of applications in the home, we developed and open-sourced an operating system for the home. Our operating system, called HomeOS, provides a centralized, holistic control of devices in the home. As part of MSR’s Lab of Things project, HomeOS code has been downloaded more than 7,000 times, used by more than 100 student developers and as a prototyping platform in several undergraduate and graduate IoT classes.


OS and tools for building dependable systems. The Singularity research codebase and design evolved to become the Midori advanced-development OS project. While never reaching commercial release, at one time Midori powered all of Microsoft’s natural language search service for the West Coast and Asia.

Society of Devices Applications (SODA)

We envision a future Internet of Things where every human-created artifact in the world that uses electricity will be connected to the internet. We are creating new experiences and technologies for the coming convergence of digital and physical systems enabled in this future.