What is the diiference between Windows XP and Windows XP Embedded environment and pros/cons of both these environments.

  • 3
    I can't believe this got migrated to Super User. Windows XP Embedded is not an OS a user can buy but something developers use to build an embedded device based on Windows.
    – Sam
    May 4 '11 at 21:54

One of the best things about XPE is its Enhanced Write Filter functionality.

You can set up your boot drive exactly as it should be, enable EWF on it and all writes to that drive will be written to ram. If the PC is shut down or restarted, the ram is obviously cleared and the drive appears to revert to whatever it was before.

This means people can't mess around with system settings, can't corrupt the hard drive by switching it off in the middle of a write (as there is no write) and you can guarantee that if there is no hardware failure, the system will always boot (in a predictable time too).

I have used this in vision PC boxes hidden away deep inside an industrial machine, where you can't easily get at it other than being able to remove the power. It means that the maximum downtime for a non faulty (just crashed) system is the time to reboot and restart the application.


Windows XP Embedded is basically a custom operating system that you build from components of Windows XP. By leaving out a lot of components, like Windows Explorer and the standard shell, you can dramatically improve security and make your computer look and feel more like a hardware device and less like a generic computer.

Windows XP Embedded is often treated differently by IT teams which would often would require their management tools and virus scanner on all desktop systems installed on their network, but Embedded is usually exempted from this by the mere fact that there may be no way to install the custom software (depending on the exact decisions that were made in creating the specific Embedded install).

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