Windows IoT
Windows Embedded 8 showing "Hotel Systems" panel, Metro-style app
OS familyMicrosoft Windows
Source model
Kernel typeHybrid kernel
LicenseCommercial proprietary software
Support status
IoT: Mainstream support until January 12, 2027 and extended support until January 13, 2032[1]
Embedded: All editions out of extended support; one product out of support Windows Embedded POSReady 7 has paid ESU (Extended Security Updates) support via OEMs until October 8, 2024. Security updates are available until October 8, 2024[2]

Windows IoT, short for Windows Internet of Things and formerly known as Windows Embedded, is a family of operating systems from Microsoft designed for use in embedded systems. Microsoft has three different subfamilies of operating systems for embedded devices targeting a wide market, ranging from small-footprint, real-time devices to point of sale (POS) devices like kiosks. Windows Embedded operating systems are available to original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), who make it available to end users preloaded with their hardware, in addition to volume license customers in some cases.

In April 2018, Microsoft released Azure Sphere, another operating system designed for IoT applications running on the Linux kernel.

The IoT family

See also: Windows 10 editions and Windows 11 editions

Microsoft rebranded "Windows Embedded" to "Windows IoT" starting with the release of embedded editions of Windows 10.


Windows IoT Enterprise branded editions, version 1809 and older, are binary identical to their respective Windows 10 Enterprise editions – Long-Term Servicing Branch (LTSB), Current Branch for Business (CBB), Semi-Annual Channel (SAC), and Long-Term Servicing Channel (LTSC) – but are licensed exclusively for use in embedded devices.[3] This brand replaces the Embedded Industry, Embedded Standard, and "For Embedded Systems" (FES) brands/subfamilies. Plain unlabeled, Retail/Thin Client, Tablet, and Small Tablet SKUs are available, again differing only in licensing.

It now contains a minor change that allows the use of smaller storage devices, with the possibility of more changes being made in the future.[4][5] In addition, starting with the LTSC edition of version 21H2, Windows 10 IoT Enterprise LTSC will gain an extra five years of support compared to Windows 10 Enterprise LTSC.[6]


Windows 10 IoT Mobile, also known as Windows 10 IoT Mobile Enterprise, is a binary equivalent of Windows 10 Mobile Enterprise licensed for IoT applications. Unsupported as of January 14, 2020.[7][8]


Windows 10 IoT Core is considered by some to be the successor to Windows Embedded Compact, although it maintains very little compatibility with it. Optimized for smaller and lower-cost industry devices, it is also provided free of charge for use in devices like the Raspberry Pi for hobbyist use.

Core Pro

Windows 10 IoT Core Pro provides the ability to defer and control updates and is licensed only via distributors; it is otherwise identical to the normal IoT Core edition.


Windows Server IoT 2019 is a full, binary equivalent version[9] of Windows Server 2019, intended to aggregate data from many 'things'.[10] Like the IoT Enterprise variants, it remains identical in behavior to its regularly licensed counterpart, but differs only in licensing terms. It also is offered in both LTSC and SAC options.

Embedded family

Embedded Compact

Main article: Windows CE

Windows Embedded CE 6.0 running on an ICOP Vortex 86DX system

Windows Embedded Compact (previously known as Windows Embedded CE or Windows CE)[11] is the variant of Windows Embedded for very small computers and embedded systems, including consumer electronics devices like set-top boxes and video game consoles. Windows Embedded Compact is a modular real-time operating system with a specialized kernel that can run in under 1 MB of memory. It comes with the Platform Builder tool that can be used to add modules to the installation image to create a custom installation, depending on the device used. Windows Embedded Compact is available for ARM, MIPS, SuperH and x86 processor architectures.[12]

Microsoft made available a specialized variant of Windows Embedded Compact, known as Windows Mobile, for use in mobile phones. It is a customized image of Windows Embedded Compact along with specialized modules for use in Mobile phones. Windows Mobile was available in four editions: Windows Mobile Classic (for Pocket PC), Windows Mobile Standard (for smartphones) and Windows Mobile Professional (for PDA/Pocket PC Phone Edition) and Windows Mobile for Automotive (for communication/entertainment/information systems used in automobiles). Modified variants of Windows Mobile were used for Portable Media Centers. In 2010, Windows Mobile was replaced by Windows Phone 7, which was also based on Windows Embedded Compact, but was not compatible with any previous products.

Windows Embedded Compact 2013[13] is a real-time operating system which runs on ARM, x86, SH, and derivatives of those architectures. It included .NET Framework, UI framework, and various open source drivers and services as 'modules'.[14]

Embedded Standard

See also: Windows XP Embedded and Windows NT 4.0 Embedded

Windows Embedded Standard is the brand of Windows Embedded operating systems designed to provide enterprises and device manufacturers the freedom to choose which capabilities will be part of their industry devices and intelligent system solutions,[buzzword] intended to build ATMs and devices for the healthcare and manufacturing industries, creating industry-specific devices. This brand consists of Windows NT 4.0 Embedded, Windows XP Embedded, Windows Embedded Standard 2009 (WES09), Windows Embedded Standard 7 (WES7, known as Windows Embedded Standard 2011 prior to release), and Windows Embedded 8 Standard. It provides the full Win32 API.[12] Windows Embedded Standard 2009 includes Silverlight, .NET Framework 3.5, Internet Explorer 7, Windows Media Player 11, RDP 6.1, Network Access Protection, Microsoft Baseline Security Analyzer and support for being managed by Windows Server Update Services and System Center Configuration Manager.[15]

Windows Embedded Standard 7 is based on Windows 7 and was previously codenamed Windows Embedded 'Quebec'.[16] Windows Embedded Standard 7 includes Windows Vista and Windows 7 features[17] such as Aero, SuperFetch, ReadyBoost, Windows Firewall, Windows Defender, address space layout randomization, Windows Presentation Foundation, Silverlight 2, Windows Media Center among several other packages. It is available in IA-32 and x64 variants and was released in 2010. It has a larger minimum footprint (~300 MB) compared to 40 MB of XPe and also requires product activation.[17] Windows Embedded Standard 7 was released on April 27, 2010.[18] Windows Embedded 8 Standard was released on March 20, 2013.[19][20] IE11 for this edition of Windows 8 was released in April 2019, with support for IE10 ending on January 31, 2020.[21][22][23][24]

For Embedded Systems (FES)

See also: Windows XP for Embedded Systems, Windows Vista Embedded, and Windows Server 2003 Embedded

Binary identical variants of the editions as are available in retail, but licensed exclusively for use in embedded devices.[25] They are available for both IA-32 as well as x64 processors.[12] Subfamily is known to include Windows for Workgroups 3.11, Windows 95 to 98, Windows NT Workstation, Windows 2000 Professional, Windows ME, Windows XP Professional, Windows Vista Business and Ultimate, Windows 7 Professional and Ultimate, Windows 8 Pro and Enterprise, and Windows 8.1 Pro and Enterprise.

This subfamily originally simply had Embedded tacked onto the end of the SKU name until sometime around the release of Windows XP when the naming scheme changed to FES. Examples of this include Windows NT Workstation Embedded, Windows 2000 Pro Embedded, and Windows ME Embedded. Microsoft changed the moniker for FES products again starting with some Windows 8/8.1 based SKUs, simply labeling them Windows Embedded before the Windows version and edition. Two examples of this are Windows Embedded 8 Pro and Windows Embedded 8.1 Enterprise.[3]


Windows Embedded Server FES products include Server, Home Server, SQL Server, Storage Server, DPM Server, ISA Server, UAG Server, TMG Server, and Unified Data Storage Server etc. of various years including 2000, 2003, 2003 R2, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2008 R2, 2012, and 2012 R2 etc.

Embedded Industry

Main article: Windows Embedded Industry

Windows Embedded Industry is the brand of Windows Embedded operating systems for industry devices and once only for point of sale systems. This brand was originally limited to the Windows Embedded for Point of Service operating system released in 2006, which is based on Windows XP with SP2.[11] Since, Microsoft has released an updated version of Windows Embedded for Point of Service named Windows Embedded POSReady 2009, this time based on Windows XP with SP3. In 2011 Windows Embedded 7 POSReady based on Windows 7 SP1 was released, which succeeded POSReady 2009. Microsoft has since changed the name of this product from "Windows Embedded POSReady" to "Windows Embedded Industry". Microsoft released Windows Embedded 8 Industry in April 2013, followed by 8.1 Industry in October 2013.

Embedded NAVReady

Windows Embedded NAVReady, also known as Navigation Ready, is a plug-in component for Windows CE 5.0. It is intended to be useful for building portable handheld navigation devices.

Embedded Automotive

Main article: Windows Embedded Automotive

Windows Embedded Automotive, formerly Microsoft Auto, Windows CE for Automotive, Windows Automotive, and Windows Mobile for Automotive, is an embedded operating system based on Windows CE for use on computer systems in automobiles. The latest release, Windows Embedded Automotive 7 was announced on October 19, 2010.[26][27]

Embedded Handheld

See also: Windows Mobile § Embedded Handheld

On January 10, 2011, Microsoft announced Windows Embedded Handheld 6.5. The operating system has compatibility with Windows Mobile 6.5 and is presented as an enterprise handheld device, targeting retailers, delivery companies, and other companies that rely on handheld computing. Windows Embedded Handheld retains backward compatibility with legacy Windows Mobile applications.[28] Windows Embedded 8.1 Handheld was released for manufacturing on April 23, 2014.[29] Known simply as Windows Embedded 8 Handheld (WE8H)[20] prior to release, it was designed as the next generation of Windows Embedded Handheld for line-of-business handheld devices and built on Windows Phone 8.1, which it also has compatibility with. Five Windows Embedded 8.1 Handheld devices have been released; Manufactured by Bluebird, Honeywell and Panasonic as listed below.[30]

Product Release Date CPU RAM Storage Display Camera(s) NFC MicroSD
Back Front
Bluebird BM180 (BP30) January 2014 1.5 GHz
1 GB
2 GB
8 GB
16 GB
720 × 1280 px
1080 × 1920 px
8 MP 1.3 MP Yes Yes
Bluebird EF500 (EF500R) September 2015 Yes Yes
Honeywell Dolphin 75e April 2015 2.26 GHz
2 GB 16 GB 4.3”
480 × 800 px
Yes Yes
Honeywell Dolphin CT50 April 2015 4.7”
720 × 1280 px
Yes Yes
Panasonic Toughpad FZ-E1 August 2014 2.3 GHz
32 GB 5”
720 × 1280 px
1.3 MP Yes Yes

See also


  1. ^ Microsoft. "Windows IoT lifecycle". Retrieved August 4, 2017.
  2. ^ Microsoft. "Extended Security Updates". Retrieved August 21, 2020.
  3. ^ a b "Windows Embedded Version Overview" (PDF). PROXIS. Retrieved August 29, 2020.
  4. ^ "IoT Enterprise FAQ". Microsoft. Retrieved July 2, 2021.
  5. ^ "IoT Enterprise Features by Release". Microsoft. Retrieved July 2, 2021.
  6. ^ "The next Windows 10 Long Term Servicing Channel (LTSC) release". Microsoft. February 18, 2021. Retrieved July 2, 2021.
  7. ^ "Windows 10 on Thin Clients: Deliver Best Results with Scout Agents (Part 1 of 2)". Fujitsu. Archived from the original on January 23, 2021. Retrieved August 25, 2020.
  8. ^ "Supported operating systems and browsers in Intune". Microsoft. Retrieved August 25, 2020.
  9. ^ "What is Windows Server IoT 2019". February 7, 2019. Retrieved December 9, 2020.
  10. ^ "Windows for IoT Datasheet" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on March 13, 2020. Retrieved December 9, 2020.
  11. ^ a b "Microsoft Charts Its Road Map for Windows Embedded Business". News Center. Microsoft. April 15, 2008. Retrieved January 19, 2012.
  12. ^ a b c "Which Windows Embedded Product is Right for Me?". Windows Embedded portal. Microsoft. Retrieved January 19, 2012.
  13. ^ "Microsoft announces general availability of Windows Embedded Compact 2013". Microsoft News Center. Microsoft. Retrieved July 14, 2013.
  14. ^ "Windows Embedded". June 30, 2016. Retrieved January 30, 2017.
  15. ^ "Microsoft Brings Rich User Experiences to Smart, Connected, Service-Oriented Enterprise Devices With Windows Embedded Standard 2009". News Center. Microsoft. June 4, 2008. Retrieved January 19, 2013.
  16. ^ "Microsoft Announces the Next Version of Windows Embedded Standard to Be Built on Windows 7". News Center. Microsoft. October 28, 2008. Retrieved January 19, 2013.
  17. ^ a b Foley, Mary Jo (June 6, 2008). "Windows Embedded 'Quebec' due in 2010". ZDNet. CBS Interactive. Retrieved January 19, 2013.
  18. ^ "Microsoft Delivers Windows 7 Technologies to Device Manufacturers With Release of Windows Embedded Standard 7". News Center. Microsoft. April 27, 2010. Retrieved January 19, 2013.
  19. ^ "Windows Embedded 8 Generally Available | News Center". March 20, 2013. Retrieved May 3, 2016.
  20. ^ a b Foley, Mary Jo. "Microsoft makes first of its Windows Embedded 8 releases generally available | ZDNet". ZDNet. Retrieved May 3, 2016.
  21. ^ Tung, Liam. "Microsoft makes final push to rid world of Internet Explorer 10". ZDNet. Retrieved March 13, 2019.
  22. ^ Keizer, Gregg (December 1, 2015). "Nearly 370M IE users have just 6 weeks to upgrade". Computerworld. Retrieved May 17, 2020.
  23. ^ GitHub-Name. "Lifecycle FAQ – Internet Explorer and Edge – Microsoft Lifecycle". Retrieved May 17, 2020.
  24. ^ "Internet Explorer Support Lifecycle Policy FAQ". Archived from the original on November 6, 2015. Retrieved May 13, 2016.
  25. ^ "Windows Embedded Server". Windows Embedded portal. Microsoft. Retrieved January 19, 2013.
  26. ^ "Microsoft Drives the Future of In-Vehicle Infotainment | News Center". October 19, 2010. Retrieved May 3, 2016.
  27. ^ Foley, Mary Jo. "Microsoft delivers Windows Embedded Automotive 7 | ZDNet". ZDNet. Retrieved May 3, 2016.
  28. ^ "Windows Embedded Handheld 6.5 Key Features". Windows Embedded portal. Microsoft. Retrieved January 19, 2013.
  29. ^ "Windows Embedded 8.1 Handheld has been released to manufacturing; SDK is now generally available". Windows Embedded Blog. April 23, 2014. Retrieved April 25, 2016.
  30. ^ "Windows Embedded 8.1 Handheld". Microsoft. Retrieved January 30, 2017.

Further reading