This article has multiple issues. Please help improve it or discuss these issues on the talk page. (Learn how and when to remove these template messages) This article contains content that is written like an advertisement. Please help improve it by removing promotional content and inappropriate external links, and by adding encyclopedic content written from a neutral point of view. (June 2017) (Learn how and when to remove this template message) This article relies excessively on references to primary sources. Please improve this article by adding secondary or tertiary sources. Find sources: "VxWorks" – news · newspapers · books · scholar · JSTOR (June 2014) (Learn how and when to remove this template message) This article is in list format but may read better as prose. You can help by converting this article, if appropriate. Editing help is available. (July 2014) Some of this article's listed sources may not be reliable. Please help improve this article by looking for better, more reliable sources. Unreliable citations may be challenged and removed. (August 2014) (Learn how and when to remove this template message) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
VxWorks 7 boot-up screen
DeveloperWind River (a wholly owned subsidiary of Aptiv)
OS familyReal-time operating systems
Working stateCurrent
Initial release1987; 37 years ago (1987)
Latest releaseVxWorks 7 24.03 / February 27, 2024; 42 days ago (2024-02-27)
Marketing targetEmbedded systems
Platformsx86, x86-64, MIPS, PowerPC, SH-4, ARM, RISC-V
Kernel typeMonolithic

VxWorks is a real-time operating system (or RTOS) developed as proprietary software by Wind River Systems, a subsidiary of Aptiv. First released in 1987, VxWorks is designed for use in embedded systems requiring real-time, deterministic performance and in many cases, safety and security certification for industries such as aerospace, defense, medical devices, industrial equipment, robotics, energy, transportation, network infrastructure, automotive, and consumer electronics.[1]

VxWorks supports AMD/Intel architecture, POWER architecture, ARM architectures and RISC-V.[2] The RTOS can be used in multicore asymmetric multiprocessing (AMP), symmetric multiprocessing (SMP), and mixed modes[3] and multi-OS (via Type 1 hypervisor)[4] designs on 32- and 64-bit processors.[5]

VxWorks comes with the kernel, middleware, board support packages, Wind River Workbench development suite, complementary third-party software and hardware. In its latest release, VxWorks 7, the RTOS has been re-engineered for modularity and upgradeability so the OS kernel is separate from middleware, applications and other packages.[6] Scalability, security, safety, connectivity, and graphics have been improved to address Internet of Things (IOT) needs.[7][8][9]


VxWorks started in the late 1980s as a set of enhancements to a simple RTOS called VRTX[10] sold by Ready Systems (becoming a Mentor Graphics product in 1995).[11] Wind River acquired rights to distribute VRTX and significantly enhanced it by adding, among other things, a file system and an integrated development environment. In 1987, anticipating the termination of its reseller contract by Ready Systems, Wind River proceeded to develop its own kernel to replace VRTX within VxWorks.[12]

Published in 2003 with a Wind River copyright, "Real-Time Concepts for Embedded Systems"[13] describes the development environment, runtime setting, and system call families of the RTOS. Written by Wind River employees with a foreword by Jerry Fiddler, chairman, and co-founder of Wind River, the textbook is an excellent tutorial on the RTOS. (It does not, however, replace Wind River documentation as might be needed by practicing engineers.)

Some key milestones for VxWorks include:[14][failed verification]

Platform overview

VxWorks supports Intel architecture, Power architecture, and ARM architectures. The RTOS can be used in multi-core asymmetric multiprocessing (AMP), symmetric multiprocessing (SMP), mixed modes[5] and multi-OS (via Type 1 hypervisor)[4] designs on 32- and 64- bit processors.

The VxWorks consists of a set of runtime components and development tools. The run time components are an operating system (UP and SMP; 32- and 64-bit), software for applications support (file system, core network stack, USB stack, and inter-process communications), and hardware support (architecture adapter, processor support library, device driver library, and board support packages).[5] VxWorks core development tools are compilers such as Diab, GNU, and Intel C++ Compiler (ICC) and its build and configuration tools. The system also includes productivity tools such as its Workbench development suite and Intel tools and development support tools for asset tracking and host support.[5]

The platform is a modular, vendor-neutral, open system that supports a range of third-party software and hardware. The OS kernel is separate from middleware, applications, and other packages,[8] which enables easier bug fixes and testing of new features.[15] An implementation of a layered source build system allows multiple versions of any stack to be installed at the same time so developers can select which version of any feature set should go into the VxWorks kernel libraries.

Optional advanced add-ons for VxWorks provide additional capabilities, including the following:


Core features of the OS include:[3][17][18][19]

In March 2014 Wind River introduced VxWorks 7, emphasizing scalability, security, safety, connectivity, graphics, and virtualization.[9][15][20] The following lists some of the release 7 updates.[1][5][6][9] More information can be found on the Wind Rivers VxWorks website.

Hardware support

VxWorks has been ported to a number of platforms and now runs on practically any modern CPU that is used in the embedded market. This includes the Intel x86 family (including the Intel Quark SoC),[21] MIPS, PowerPC (and BAE RAD), Freescale ColdFire, Intel i960, SPARC, Fujitsu FR-V, SH-4 and the closely related family of ARM, StrongARM and xScale CPUs. VxWorks provides a standard board support package (BSP) interface between all its supported hardware and the OS. Wind River's BSP developer kit provides a common application programming interface (API) and a stable environment for real-time operating system development. VxWorks is supported by popular SSL/TLS libraries such as wolfSSL.[22]

Development environment

As is common in embedded system development, cross-compiling is used with VxWorks. Development is done on a "host" system where an integrated development environment (IDE), including the editor, compiler toolchain, debugger, and emulator can be used. Software is then compiled to run on the "target" system. This allows the developer to work with powerful development tools while targeting more limited hardware. VxWorks uses the following host environments and target hardware architectures:[23]

Supported target architectures and processor families

VxWorks supports a range of target architectures including ARM, Intel, Power architecture, RISC-V architecture and more.[2] For the latest target architecture processors and board support packages, refer to the VxWorks Marketplace[24] or via citation.[25]

The Eclipse-based Workbench IDE that comes with VxWorks is used to configure, analyze, optimize, and debug a VxWorks-based system under development.[26] The Tornado IDE was used for VxWorks 5.x[27] and was replaced by the Eclipse-based Workbench IDE for VxWorks 6.x. and later.[23] Workbench is also the IDE for the Wind River Linux,[28] On-Chip Debugging,[29] and Wind River Diab Compiler product lines. VxWorks 7 uses Wind River Workbench 4[30] which updates to the Eclipse 4 base provides full third party plug-in support and usability improvements.

Wind River Simics[31][32] is a standalone simulation tool compatible with VxWorks. It simulates the full target system (hardware and software) to create a shared platform for software development. Multiple developers can share a complete virtual system and its entire state, including execution history. Simics enables early and continuous system integration and faster prototyping by utilizing virtual prototypes instead of physical prototypes.[33]

Notable uses

The Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity rover uses VxWorks.
The ASIMO Robot uses VxWorks.
AgustaWestland Project Zero uses VxWorks.
The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter uses VxWorks.
The Clementine spacecraft used VxWorks.

VxWorks is used by products across a wide range of market areas: aerospace and defense, automotive, industrial such as robots, consumer electronics, medical area and networking.[6] Several notable products also use VxWorks as the onboard operating system.[34]

Aerospace and defense



Space telescopes


Consumer electronics


Industrial robots
Test and Measurement
Storage systems


Networking and communication infrastructure

TCP vulnerability and CVE patches

As of July 2019, a paper published by Armis[113] exposed 11 critical vulnerabilities, including remote code execution, denial of service, information leaks, and logical flaws impacting more than two billion devices using the VxWorks RTOS.[114] The vulnerability allows attackers to tunnel into an internal network using the vulnerability and hack into printers, laptops, and any other connected devices. The vulnerability can bypass firewalls as well.[115]

The system is in use by quite a few mission-critical products, many of which could not be easily patched.[116]


  1. ^ a b "VxWorks Goes 64-bit", Electronic Design, March 25, 2011
  2. ^ a b "Wind River Announces RISC-V Support for VxWorks RTOS". December 10, 2019. Retrieved December 11, 2019.
  3. ^ a b RTOS Handles AMP and SMP, electronic design, March 2009
  4. ^ a b John Rath (February 2014). "Intel Adds Virtualization Platform for Industrial Systems".
  5. ^ a b c d e f Embedded Star Archived April 23, 2016, at the Wayback Machine Article, February 2011
  6. ^ a b c Wind River Archived December 4, 2022, at the Wayback Machine reinvents real-time system for the Internet of Things, iTERS news, March 2014
  7. ^ "VxWorks 7 Announced". 2014. Archived from the original on July 4, 2014. Retrieved June 20, 2014.
  8. ^ a b Wind River Reinvents the RTOS for the IoT, Business Wire, February 2014
  9. ^ a b c Jackson, Joab (2014). "Wind River outfits VxWorks for 'Internet of things' | ITworld". Archived from the original on March 11, 2014. Retrieved June 20, 2014.
  10. ^ "Embedded Systems Glossary: V". Netrino, LLC. November 30, 2007. Retrieved September 20, 2010.
  11. ^ "SEC filing". January 19, 1996. Retrieved November 18, 2011.
  12. ^ Lord of the Toasters, Wired (magazine) interview with Jerry Fiddler, September 1998
  13. ^ Li, Qing; Yao, Caroline (2003). Real-Time Concepts for Embedded Systems. CMP Books. ISBN 1-57820-124-1.
  14. ^ Company Histories, Funding Universe
  15. ^ a b c Wind River Outfits VxWorks for the Internet of Things, Computer World
  16. ^ "Embedded Software Market latest Trends and New Technologies Research Forecast to 2025". February 24, 2021.
  17. ^ "Wind River Releases 64-Bit VxWorks RTOS". Archived from the original on October 28, 2011. Retrieved November 18, 2011.
  18. ^ POSIX Certification Register
  19. ^ Filesystems Archived June 20, 2014, at the Wayback Machine in VxWorks, CDF online, Fermi Labs
  20. ^ Wind River Reinvents the Real-Time Operating System for the Internet of Things,
  21. ^ Intel Tackles SoC With Quark"' EE Times, October 7, 2013
  22. ^ "how to configure woflssl for vxworks 6.6 build (Page 1) — wolfSSL (formerly CyaSSL) — wolfSSL - Embedded SSL Library". Retrieved February 19, 2019.
  23. ^ a b Workbench Product Note
  24. ^ "Wind River Products".
  25. ^ "BSP QUERY TOOL". Retrieved October 23, 2023.
  26. ^ Wind River reinvents the RTOS for the IoT, Business Wire
  27. ^ "Wind River VxWorks 5.x Page". Archived from the original on September 27, 2011. Retrieved November 18, 2011.
  28. ^ "Wind River Linux Main Page". March 29, 2007. Retrieved November 18, 2011.
  29. ^ "Wind River OCD Main Page". Retrieved November 18, 2011.
  30. ^ "VxWorks Gets Re-vamped" Information Technology
  31. ^ Simics, Wikipedia
  32. ^ Wind River Simics
  33. ^ Accelerate Software Development with Wind River Simics, Intel webpage
  34. ^ VxWorks customer list
  35. ^ "Unknown" (PDF). Retrieved November 30, 2023.[permanent dead link]
  36. ^ a b c d e ExtremeTech news
  37. ^ Clementine Project Information Page
  38. ^ The Software Behind the Mars Phoenix Lander
  39. ^ ExtremeTech article
  40. ^ "Wind River Powers Mars Exploration Rovers--Continues Legacy as Technology Provider for NASA's Space Exploration". Wind River Systems. June 6, 2003. Archived from the original on January 6, 2010. Retrieved August 28, 2009.
  41. ^ Bullseye: Autonomous Satellite Enters Jupiter’s Orbit
  42. ^ AgustaWestland Project Zero
  43. ^ the US Navy’s unmanned combat air system X-47B, YouTube video
  44. ^ Verocel Archived November 24, 2016, at the Wayback Machine webpage
  45. ^ The Free Library, Farlex Archived May 7, 2016, at the Wayback Machine
  46. ^
  47. ^ "Arm IDA and Cross Check: Reversing the 787's Core Network" (PDF). Retrieved November 30, 2023.
  48. ^ PTR Group celebrates third successful launch of the year, PTR GRoup webpage
  49. ^ James Webb Space Telescope, SPIEL Digital Library
  50. ^ Case Study: European Geostationary Navigation Overlay System
  51. ^ TacNet Tracker Software, ESTSC
  52. ^ Flexible camera applications of an advanced uncooled microbolometer thermal imaging core, SPIE Digital Library
  53. ^ Barco Selects Wind River for Military Display and Management, Bloomberg
  54. ^ Wind River: Toshiba is using Simics to develop automotive application software, Embedded Control Europe
  55. ^ Wind River Helps Bosch Motorsport Race For The Win, Globe and Mail
  56. ^ Hyundia Archived November 21, 2018, at the Wayback Machine works with Wind River, Telematics News
  57. ^ Magneti Marell "i Motorsport Chooses Wind River VxWorks for Formula One Race Cars"
  58. ^ The Network on Wheels -- Java Developers, Start Your Programming Engines!, Oracle
  59. ^ "AMX Meets Productivity, Cost-Savings Goals with Wind River" (PDF). August 2007.
  60. ^ "AMX AV/IT Administrators Guide".
  61. ^ Drobo In depth review, Automated Home
  62. ^ Honda Robots Asimo, Robotics Technology Simplified
  63. ^ Motorola's DCT2500 Core Interactive Digital Set-Tops Deployed With Wind River Software, BrightRoll news webpage
  64. ^ As a Case Study of WindRiver: introduce MobbyTalk/MobbyTalk253, Mobile Technika
  65. ^ MythTv on ReplayTv hardware?, Don Ritter
  66. ^ "ABB Robotics and vxworks". ABB. Retrieved November 18, 2011.
  67. ^ Comau Robotics Picks Wind River VxWorks for RTOS,
  68. ^ KUKA Video, YouTube
  69. ^ COPALP webpage
  70. ^ Yaskawa, Motoman Strategic Partners
  71. ^ Comau Robotics Picks Wind River VxWorks for RTOS, TMCnet
  72. ^ Kotlarsky, Julia (2007). "Re-engineering at LeCroy Corporation: the move to component-based systems" (PDF). Journal of Information Technology. 22 (4): 265–278. doi:10.1057/palgrave.jit.2000099. S2CID 15581496. Archived from the original (PDF) on August 29, 2018.
  73. ^ "What operating system is that oscilloscope running? - Page 1". Retrieved November 1, 2023.
  74. ^ Hexagon Metrology Standardizes on Wind River’s VxWorks for Next-Generation Metrology Equipment,
  75. ^ Leading Chinese Transportation Company Relies on Wind River to Meet Stringent Safety Certification Goal, On-line Wall Street Journal
  76. ^ Bombardier Transportation Selects Wind River Platforms for Safety Critical Certified Display on London Underground, Online UK [1]Reuters
  77. ^ Wind Power Automation Leader Bachmann Relies On Wind River VxWorks For Next-Generation Controller System, Globe and mail
  78. ^ Invensys acquisition: “Now, it is up to how well we execute.”, The Instrument Readout SignPost
  79. ^ National Instruments Support Page
  80. ^ EPICS base Release 3.14 Installation Instructions
  81. ^ Bosch Rexroth YouTube video
  82. ^ iBox user guide Page 8-41
  83. ^ Toshiba Photocopiers
  84. ^ GrandMA Full-Size Data Sheet
  85. ^ "Wind River Introduces Software Platform for Medical Devices Complete with Compliance Documentation". Archived from the original on November 8, 2012. Retrieved August 11, 2012.
  86. ^ Olympus ESG-400 high-frequency surgical generator
  87. ^ BD FACSCount Archived March 18, 2015, at the Wayback Machine article
  88. ^ Thema Archived September 2, 2016, at the Wayback Machine process control article
  89. ^ CEREC Archived October 29, 2015, at the Wayback Machine Chairside Solutions
  90. ^ Arkoon selects Wind River for nextgen equipment
  91. ^ Ubee-Airwalk uses Wind River's VxWorks in femotcell, Telecompaper
  92. ^ Kontron AG e-newswire
  93. ^ QQTechnologies goes Global with VxWorks, Datsheets 360
  94. ^ Stubbs, Jack (August 5, 2018). "Huawei in British spotlight over use of U.S. firm's software". Reuters U.K.
  95. ^ Broadlight Client page
  96. ^ Sky Pilot Command Line Interface Reference document
  97. ^ Wind River delivers Raptor with VxWorks Platform, ETT Asia news
  98. ^ Siemens deploys 2.5G Wireless Data Platform, 3G Newsletter
  99. ^ FlexiPacket Release Note
  100. ^ Oracle acme support page
  101. ^ Avaya ERS 8600 Wikipedia
  102. ^ Dell PowerConnect, Wikipedia page
  103. ^ Routing Protocol Operations Guide for SmartEdge
  104. ^ Enhanced Security for Industrial Networks, Belden webpage
  105. ^ VoIP Security webpage
  106. ^ Multiservice Switch, Wikipedia
  107. ^ Knowledge Base, Radware webpage
  108. ^ "Samsung OfficeServ brochure" (PDF).
  109. ^ Tim's IT-Blob: A deeper look on SonicWALL kernel
  110. ^ Thuraya SO-2510 Satellite
  111. ^ SANYO Multimedia Tottori Chooses RADVISION SIP Developer Toolkit to Build New IP Phone, Business Wire
  112. ^ 3Com NBX Phone Systems, AdCom Technologies Inc.
  113. ^ "Urgent/11 Critical Vulnerability" (PDF). Armis. Archived from the original (PDF) on August 3, 2019. Retrieved July 31, 2019.
  114. ^ "Critical Vulnerabilities Dubbed URGENT/11 Place Devices Running VxWorks at Risk of RCE Attacks". Tenable®. July 29, 2019. Retrieved July 31, 2019.
  115. ^ Gmuender, John (July 29, 2019). "Wind River VxWorks and URGENT/11: Patch Now". SonicWall. Retrieved July 31, 2019.
  116. ^ Newman, Lily Han. "An Operating System Bug Exposes 200 Million Critical Devices". Wired.