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Win 10 IoT Enterprise deployment

Windows 10 IoT Enterprise images for embedded systems can be either straight “GENERIC” versions which are relatively easy to create and usually take a day or two dependant on the hardware complexities. This involves injecting the hardware specific drivers etc. into the image.

ANY change to the generic image is immediately a CUSTOM image. Even if it is “simply a little tweak” it is still a CUSTOM image. Because of the way that Windows 10 IoT Enterprise installs default settings it can be very difficult to overcome them and it is done differently for different types of settings.

At BVM we have exhaustively tested Windows 10 IoT Enterprise generic image deployment and know it works. This is why a generic Windows 10 IoT Enterprise image can be developed and deployed in such a short time.

However for a custom image, no matter how simple, extensive testing is required to ensure the “simple tweak” can be deployed in production and the change is present in the customers final delivery. This testing & verification is what adds days to the development time.

Custom images can take an extra day or two through to extra weeks depending on the complexity of implementing the change (not how “simple” the change is perceived to be). This causes great frustration because customers assume it is simple “just wanting a little tweak” but that’s not the case!

This is the nature of Microsoft Windows 10 IoT Enterprise deployment. But as we all know this is just the same as the hardware side of things – whenever a customer wants a “simple little tweak” it usually means a lot of work – this is the nature of the business we are in.

But it is a mistake to think that “a simple, little tweak” is simple – IT ISN’T – otherwise everyone would be doing it!

The other alternative is to let customers have the generic image and then after they have Ok’ed the Microsoft OEM agreement they can make the tweaks directly themselves.

We do not advise customers “cloning” deployed Windows 10 IoT Enterprise images with 3rd party cloning tools as this is NOT supported by Microsoft.

Cloning  Windows images causes problems in two ways. When hardware changes subtly – the revision codes in some devices will often change although the overall functionality doesn’t change and this can cause Windows re-activation requests.

If multiple embedded PCs which have cloned images are connected to the same network then the connectivity is likely to fail as each PC’s machine SID (Security Identifier) is supposed to be different but has been left the same by cloning the image.

BVM have developed in-house systems to create Windows 10 IoT Enterprise images using Microsoft’s tools such as sysprep and then deploy the images using Microsoft’s deployment tools to ensure they are fully supported.

DS, BVM Ltd., 20 February 2018

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