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Which versions of Windows does pylon support?

Standard Windows OS (derived from Windows NT)

These are the Windows variants we all know because we daily work with them. They are designed to run on Desktop PCs with an x86 (mostly Intel) Processor. It started With Windows NT 3.1, followed by NT 4.0, Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 8.1 and the newest member of this family is Windows 10. The current pylon release (pylon 5) supports Windows version 7 or higher, older Windows versions are supported by older pylon versions (down to Windows XP). Windows 10 is only supported by pylon 5 and higher.

Windows FES (“Windows for embedded Systems")

This is actually the same as Standard Windows OS but for OEMs and with long term support. While the standard version e.g. of Windows XP is not supported by Microsoft anymore the same version as an FES variant still is. As this is just a normal Windows it is supported by pylon in the same way as the standard Windows OS.

Windows Embedded Standard (WES)

Again this is the same Windows as Standard Windows OS but in a modularized version. The concept is to let the user create a modularized custom version of a standard Windows which only contains those Windows modules which a specific application actually needs. It is for instance possible to create a Windows version which has no graphical user interface (GUI). WES is very often used as OS for ATMs.

WES started with Windows XP Embedded followed by Windows 2009 Embedded (which is just an XP with SP3 ), Windows Embedded 7 and Windows Embedded 8 Standard. The most recent member of this family is Windows IoT which is based on Windows 10.

Does pylon support WES? Generally yes – if the modularized version that the user created also contains all components needed by pylon. There are users that successfully using WES along with pylon but it cannot officially be stated that WES as a supported platform as it is impossible to test each and every possible permutation of WES. Typically Windows XP Embedded poses more issues than newer versions of WES.

Windows Embedded Compact

Formerly known as Windows CE is a real time variant of Windows and is _not_ compatible with the Windows versions described above. It does not only run on x86 based platform but also on ARM, MIPS and some more. It is typically used in handheld devices. It has a lot of sub variants such as Windows Phone. Compared to Linux or Android the market share is very low. It is not supported by pylon!

Windows RT

RT is a standard Windows (like Standard Windows OS) but not build to run on Desktop x86 PCs but on ARM based Tablets (e.g. Windows Surface I). As it did not perform well on ARM and as there was only little software available for this platform RT was no success and is now succeeded by UWP (see below). As pylon supports Windows only on x86 based computers Windows RT is not supported by pylon.

UWP (Universal Windows Platform)

Is Windows 10 based and allows to create Applications which can run on various processor architectures (x86 and ARM). There a two important subvariants:

  • Windows IoT Mobile, available for huge OEMs only (e.g. cellphone makers)
  • Windows IoT Core, available for free for everybody. This variant addresses the maker scene and runs e.g. on platforms lie Raspberry Pi, Dragonboard and some others.

The UWP market share is relatively low (but it's also quite new) and represents Microsoft’s enduring trial to position an OS against Android and Linux. Its success has to be watched. Actually UWP is not supported by pylon!