Windows CE

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What Does Windows CE Mean?

Windows CE is an operating system developed by Microsoft and designed for small footprint devices or embedded systems. Windows CE is different from the Windows operating systems for desktops but they share similar application programming interfaces for a considerable number of classes. Some of the devices that run Windows CE include industrial controllers, point of sale terminals, cameras, Internet appliances, cable set-top boxes and communications hubs.


Techopedia Explains Windows CE

A typical Windows CE-powered device can have less than a megabyte of memory, no disk storage and can also be placed directly into ROM.

Using Microsoft Platform Builder, developers can build customized Windows CE operating systems as well as components for embedded systems. Platform Builder is an integrated development environment that comes with development tools for designing, creating, building, testing and debugging. Most parts of Windows CE are offered in source code form, enabling hardware vendors to alter it in order to fit the specific needs of their device.

Developers who create Windows CE-based OS designs perform the following:

  • Create BSP or board support packages specifically designed for the target device.
  • Create an OS design, based on either a standard or customized board support package (BSP), that is used for creating a run-time image.
  • Create customized device drivers for the BSP using projects and catalog items.
  • Build the runtime image and download to the standard development board for debugging and testing.
  • Export a software development kit for application developers.

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Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert
Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.