Preparing and Installing Windows XP Embedded Images – Part I: Setting up the Environment
Embedded operating systems have been present among us since a long time ago. Windows XP Embedded and several others have been a part of tons of devices for various reasons:
– Componentized version of the bigger operating system, with only the components that the user requires.
– Small footprint: Around 40mb at minimum for Windows.
– Secure operating systems; with selected features installed we can reduce at minimum the attack surface.
Payphone working with Xp Embedded.
Microsoft recently released Windows Embedded Standard 2009 that will succeed Windows XP Embedded. This version it’s not actually the embedded version of Windows Vista. That embedded operating system is still in progress (expected for 2010) with the codename “Quebec” that will contain most of the Vista features, like Aero, Bit locker encryption, Windows Defender, etc.
Windows Embedded Standard contains basically the same kernel than XP Embedded with a few improvements: Silverlight, .Net Framework 3.5, Internet Explorer 7, NAP, among other features.
Diskless Operating System
These types of operating system have been designed for special cases and special type of devices (like the one shown on that payphone), most of them that need a “locked-down” operating system, the smaller and secure as possible.
That’s why the design it’s prepared to use this operating system on diskless devices, having a Remote Boot Manager server that contains the client operating system image and the device requires the image from that server and boots it directly from RAM or an USB device. We’ll see how it works.
Enough with the introduction, let’s start with this step-by-step guide for Windows XP Embedded.
You can find the other two parts of this guide, here:
Let’s start with the system requirements.
– Windows Server 2003
o R2 and SP2 are optional but recommended
o DHCP role must be installed
– Windows XP Embedded Studio Tools
o Component Data Base Manager
o Component Designer
o SDI Loader
o Target Designer
o Target Analyzer
o Remote Boot Manager
– Processor: Pentium III 800 MHz (Minimum)
– Memory: 256mb (Minimum)
– Hard Disk: Enough space to store XP Embedded images
– Processor: Pentium III 800 MHz (Minimum)
– Memory: 512mb/1024mb
It must double the XP Embedded image size, so for 450mb images there should have 1 GB of memory available on the clients
We are considering using the installation of the Studio Tools with SP1 and then upgrade it SP2. This setup assumes that you are installing the tools in the computer that will act as a Remote Boot Server.
To install Windows XP Embedded SP2 tools, please follow these steps:
1. From the Disk 1 of the installation files, run SETUP.EXE
2. The installation Wizard starts. Select the Tools Setup tab, and click on Next
3. Accept the License Agreement terms, and click on Next.
4. Enter your user name, organization name and your license key number (a trial license number can be obtained from this site). Click on Next
5. On the Installation type select Typical. Click on Next
6. Now you will set the Windows Embedded Server as the local computer. To do this, leave the This Computer option marked and click on Next
Note: You can also change the default folder where the XP Embedded images will be stored when they are built.
7. Click on Install to complete the setup wizard.
After this installation completes, switch back to the Welcome to Windows XP Embedded installation window to install the remaining components.
To create Windows XP Embedded images, the Designer component requires that a database must be installed and set up. The current version requires that MSDE should be installed the local computer (or a remote computer). This setup assumes that you will install MSDE on a local computer.
1. To set up the database, the first step is to install the database server. To do this, point and click on the Database Engine Setup tab
The database engine will install without requiring user intervention.
2. Let’s install the database. To do this, point and click on the Database Setup tab
3. Click on Next and accept the License Agreement
4. Enter your Product Key and click on Next
5. Select the Typical installation option and click on Next
6. Click on Install to begin the installation. The following message will pop up. Answer Yes
Don’t worry; it just says that to create embedded images, a share folder will be created on the server with read-only permissions.
To complete the installation, you must access Disk 3 of the installation files and run setup from there. This will upgrade the components and tools to Service Pack 2 and will also install the Remote Boot Server from there.
1. Let’s update the database engine with the latest updates. To do this, point and click on the Database Engine Update tab on the left.
This process does not require user intervention.
2. Now let’s update the Windows XP Embedded Tools to SP2. To do this, point and click on the Tools Update tab on the left.
3. A wizard will pop up. Click on Next to proceed with the installation.
4. Before installing the “Database Update” you must first verify that the Engine is already running on the server. If you don’t reboot the computer after installing the database engine, the service is not yet started. To start it use the services snap-in, following these steps.
a. Click on the Start menu, select Run and type services.msc. Click OK
b. On the services console, locate the MSSQLSERVER service
c. Check that the Startup Type is set to Automatic
d. Check if the service is started. If not, right click on the service and select Start
Note: If the service is not started as it shows and if you try to update the database, this message will appear to you: "Cannot connect to the database – please check the database. Setup cannot continue"
5. Switch back to the installation window. Point and click on the Database Update tab on the left.
6. Before installing the update, a message will prompt with the warning that you should make a backup of the existing database before updating. This is an optional step. To continue, click the OK button.
7. A wizard window will open. Click on Next to continue.
8. The wizard will show the license agreement. Read and accept it, clicking on Install to continue.
The process will take several minutes, depending on your system characteristics. When the installation finishes, a summary will appear, including the modifications it performed on the installation. Click on Finish to close the dialog.
9. [Optional] To set up a development environment you can also use the libraries that are included to test the applications outside the run-time images: Enhance Write Filter API.
The Remote Boot Server is in charge of providing remote computers the run time image of their OS. In this section you will install the associated component.
1. From the tab list on the left, click on Remote Boot Server.
2. An installation dialog will appear. Click on Next to continue. When the dialog prompts to accept a license agreement, read and accept it.
3. Enter the values in User Name and Organization and click on Next.
4. Select the Typical installation type, click on Next to advance a screen and finally click on Install to start the installation process.
When the process completes, you’ll have your environment ready for preparing Windows XP Embedded images.
Note: Remember that the DHCP server must be up and working on the remote boot server to actually achieve the Remote Boot with the prepared images.
We’ll be reviewing the next steps on two more posts.