Maintain Images (Standard 8)


Review maintenance information and scenarios for your Windows Embedded 8 Standard (Standard 8) images.

This section provides information about maintaining an image. Windows Embedded 8 Standard Toolkit (Standard 8 Toolkit) provides tools that you can use to add feature packages, language packs, drivers, and software updates to the Windows Embedded 8 Standard (Standard 8) installation on your device. You can perform maintenance tasks on an installation regardless of whether it's currently running or not. An installation that is running is called an online image, and an installation that you have captured to a .wim file is called an offline image


Maintaining an image is important to ensure that the device is running with the latest software which, in turn, improves the user experience. One of the many advantages to Standard 8 over previous versions is that it now follows the same serviceability principles as Windows 8 and can use Windows Update for not only the security updates but also all other types of updates. All of these updates are easily downloadable from System Center, WSUS, or other management suites. Issues unique to devices , such as limited disk space, restricted network connectivity, or security concerns, can influence how you service your device.

Compared to previous versions, servicing in Standard 8 includes the following improvements:

  • Windows Update is a proven mechanism for servicing. Using Windows Update for all types of updates makes the process easier for the IT admin to apply these updates than the same process in Windows Embedded Standard 7 (where only security updates were released in Windows Update).
  • Sharing the servicing code base with Windows 8 means that any issues discovered with servicing are more likely to be discovered and corrected quickly.
  • Using packaging and distribution mechanisms similar to those used by Windows 8 greatly reduces the chance for delays in providing all update types to Standard 8 devices.

When considering the advantages provided by the changes described above, you should also consider some aspects of servicing that could affect your device.

Disk Space or Network Connectivity Restrictions

Unlike desktop computers, which can have gigabytes of free space, devices can have very limited storage space. In Windows 8 and Standard 8, there are enhancements to the disk cleanup functionality in the Disk Cleanup Utility and in DISM that help to reduce the image bloat that is caused from applying a lot of updates to the image. For more information, see Remove Superseded and Unused System Files with DISM.


An automatically applied update could require a restart, which might not be desirable or even feasible for certain classes of devices. In Windows 8 and Standard 8, the restarts required after automatic updating in Windows Update have been minimized. Delaying the automatic restarting if there is a potential of losing user data, ensuring minimal interruption to user activity, and enhancing the update notifications to the users are examples of how Windows Update has changed in Windows 8 and Standard 8. For more information, see Minimizing restarts in Windows 8.


Embedded devices in high-risk scenarios such as medical devices might need to be tested with an update before returning it to service.


There are situations, such as low disk space, low memory, and power failure, when installation of an update is unsuccessful. In nearly all situations, though, the servicing features of the operating system manage updates so that they’re either installed successfully or not at all. Once the trouble area has been corrected, the update can be reinstalled.

The Overall Size of the Operating System

While it's obvious that including more modules in your image results in a larger operating system footprint, it also increases the likelihood that updates will be required. This, in turn, can cause the installation to grow even more quickly over time as progressively more updates are released. Given some of the other constraints described above, even a few additional modules can have a servicing impact far greater than the utility their presence provides.

For example, suppose an organization wanted to include several modules on an installation that would provide the technician who serviced the device with access to additional diagnostic tools. These extra modules would also be subject to security updates and the attendant restarts, testing, and so on. It would make for a simpler servicing scenario if the technician simply included those modules in a configuration set and then applied them to the device as needed, removing them later.

Lockdown and Branding Features

Lockdown and branding features pose a unique challenge for servicing devices using Windows Update. These features have dependencies on many core Windows 8 modules.

It’s also important to note that updates cannot be applied when File-Based Write Filter (FBWF), Enhanced Write Filter (EWF), or UWF are running on a device as they prevent writing to the protected volumes. Updating a device using these lockdown features requires stopping the feature, restarting the device, applying the update and restarting the device if the update requires it, restarting the lockdown feature, and then restarting the device again.

Custom Applications

In addition to any issues specific to their design and implementation, custom applications can raise concerns about servicing devices. Your answers to the following questions might affect your application design and the devices on which it is installed:

  • How will an update to your application be distributed to the devices with it installed? Are you assuming the devices have network access or will a technician have to visit some or all of them in order to apply your update?
  • Will installing an update to your application require a reboot or other downtime for the device?
  • Is storage space already a concern on the device? If so, what effect might an update to your application have on it?
  • Does your application have user-configurable settings? How are those settings maintained on the devices where the application is installed? Will an update to your application have an effect on those user settings or how they are stored?
  • Is it important that all devices where your application is installed be synchronized to the same release of the application?

In order to use Windows Update with your device, you must include the Windows Update Standalone Installer module and its dependencies in your Standard 8 image.

The following four options install updates using Windows Update:

  • Install updates automatically (recommended)
  • Install Download updates but let me choose whether to install them
  • Check for updates but let me choose whether to download and install them
  • Never check for updates (not recommended)
    For Standard 8, all update types are published on Windows Update.

The PackageScanner tool from Windows Embedded Standard 7 has been discontinued in Standard 8. For more information about how to update your image, see Add Updates to an Image.

Add Updates to an Image

Describes how to update an image with the latest updates from Microsoft.

Remove Superseded and Unused System Files with DISM

Describes how to use Deployment Image Servicing and Management (DISM) to remove superseded and unused system files from an online or offline image.