Migrate from Standard 7 to Standard 8 (Standard 8)


Review the differences between Windows Embedded Standard 7 (Standard 7) and Windows Embedded 8 Standard (Standard 8).

The information in this section will help you determine changes that you may need to make to your image if you migrate from Windows Embedded Standard 7 to Windows Embedded 8 Standard (Standard 8).

This section describes some of the new functionality in Standard 8.


In Standard 7, packages to use when creating the runtime image were in a distribution share. In Standard 8, there is a catalog for each architecture that has modules to use when creating the image. The default installation location for Standard 8 catalogs is C:\Windows Embedded Catalog.

The structure of the catalog has changed dramatically from what was available in a distribution share, and many features have been moved to Windows Embedded Core, making the minimum image size 2 GB.

The following list shows how OS building blocks have changed in Standard 8:

  • Instead of feature packages, there are approximately 50 feature groups in Embedded Core, 810 feature modules, and 554 settings.
  • The number of driver modules has decreased from 1000 to approximately 700.


In Standard 8, the functionality of the Windows 8 operating system is available in pieces called modules. Modules can contain packages and files, and are the smallest unit of functionality that you can add to your Standard 8 OS design. Module names and descriptions have been improved from the package names and descriptions in Standard 7.

All deployable images must contain the Embedded Core module, which is automatically added by ICE to any new configuration file and forms the foundation for all Standard 8 operating systems. It contains the drivers and functionality that are critical to start the device and to provide basic support for security, servicing, and networking. You can add other modules to your image to add features, device drivers, or language support. You may also create custom modules for custom functionality.

For more information about modules, see Modules. For more information about Embedded Core, see Embedded Core.

Dependency resolution and error reporting have been improved in ICE and IBW.

Languages and Language Packs

By default, the catalog includes the following languages:

  • Chinese (Simplified)
  • Chinese (Traditional)
  • English (United States)
  • French
  • German
  • Japanese
  • Korean

You can import the following additional supported language packs to the catalog to provide localized user interface and corresponding local customer preferred settings:

  • Arabic
  • Dutch
  • Italian
  • Portuguese (Brazil)
  • Russian
  • Spanish
  • Swedish
  • Traditional Chinese (Taiwan)
  • Turkish

For more information about additional languages, see Additional Languages.


To quickly start an image for a type of device, you can choose a template in IBW. A template provides a starting point for a type of device. When you use a template, relevant modules, drivers, and programs are automatically added to your image to provide all that is needed for the OS to support a particular scenario. Some examples of templates include those for Thin Client, Retail, and Digital Signage.

For more information about templates, see Templates and Templates Technical Reference.

General Functionality

  • Users and administrators can schedule maintenance tasks to keep devices current. For more information, see Maintenance Scheduler.
  • Users can specify the preferred power plan to use for device power settings. For more information, see PreferredPlan and powercpl.
  • Users and administrators can reset the entire OS partition to a predefined state as represented by a Windows image (.wim) file. For more information, see the “Reset Your Device” section of Use Push Button Reset in Standard 8.
  • Users can reset or refresh an image from an external storage device, such as USB. For more information, see the “Reset or Refresh an Image from an External Storage Device” section of Use Push Button Reset in Standard 8.
  • Using Windows activation that has been integrated with Action Center, users can learn about the licensing status of the system, learn more about what it means to have a genuine version of Windows, and purchase a genuine license. For more information about activation, see Activate an Image.
  • Customer Experience Improvement Program (CEIP) is now on the run-time image. CEIP collects information about how customers use Microsoft programs and about some of the issues they encounter. Microsoft uses this information to improve the product and features that customers use most. We do not use the information collected to identify or contact the user.


  • Shell Launcher can launch any application as a shell instead of the standard Windows Explorer shell. For more information, see Shell Launcher Overview.

Windows 8 User Interface

  • Users see a new Windows 8 Start screen and use a new touch-optimized user interface. They can use the following charms: Search, Share, Devices, and Settings. For information about the Start screen, see Tiles Overview.
  • You can associate Tiles with default Windows Runtime-based apps. For information about Tiles, see Tiles Overview.
  • You can specify apps to appear on the Start and lock screens for different regions. For information about regional overrides, see Tiles Overview.
  • You can block predefined key combinations used for accessibility, applications, shell, modifier, security, browser and media. For more information, see Predefined Key Combinations.
  • You can hide the startup logo, the progress indicator, and the user Tile during device startup and logon. For more information, see Unbranded Boot.
  • You can choose apps to appear as a badge on the lock screen. For more information, see Tiles Overview and Shell-Setup.
  • You can create a Tile that is a custom representation of your app that uses large images and can also add a badge to the Tile that provides simple app status information, such as the number of email messages received. You can dynamically update the Tile with images and other content. For information about tiles, see Tiles Overview.
  • You can disable the toast notifications displayed on the lock screen by Windows 8 apps. For more information, see Disable Windows Toast Notifications.

Windows 8 Apps

  • You can create Windows 8 apps for Standard 8 by using the same methods and tools that you use to create apps for Windows 8. For more information about developing Windows 8 apps, see Windows 8 app development. For information about how to developing specialized Windows 8 apps that take advantage of features that are available in Standard 8 but are not available in Windows 8, see Guidelines for Developing Windows 8 Apps for Standard 8.
  • The Windows 8 runtime makes data available from accelerometers, gyros, compasses, GPS devices, ambient light sensors, human presence sensors, and other hardware. For information about sensors, see Proximity, Sensor and Location.
  • End users can install and use the Kinect for Windows Runtime. You can create devices that provide rich end-user experiences when the user adds the Kinect for Windows Runtime and sensor technology. For more information, see Kinect for Windows Compatibility.

Input and Search Navigation

  • On-screen keyboard layouts are optimized for efficient input of the supported languages. For information about the keyboard, see Keyboard Filter Overview.
  • By using the handwriting panel, users can enter text with a pen and the system converts it automatically into typed characters in the apps they use. For more information, see Personalized Handwriting Recognition.
  • Using the input method editors (IMEs) supported by Windows Search, users can enter complex characters and symbols, such as Japanese characters, using a standard keyboard. For more information about the input language and keyboard layout, see InputLocale.
  • The Keyboard Filter supports on-screen keyboards. For more information, see Keyboard Filter Overview.


  • The following list shows changes to image build tools:
    • Improved Image Builder Wizard (IBW) and Image Configuration Editor (ICE) 
    • Target Analyzer has been renamed to Target Analyzer Probe (TAP) 
    • New Module Designer (MOD) 
    • New BCDBoot
    • New BCDEdit
    • New Catalog Manager (Catman.exe) 
    • New Deployment Image Servicing and Management (DISM) 
    • New DiskPart
    • New Dynamic Dependency Analyzer (DDA) 
    • New Embedded Lockdown Manager (ELM) 
    • New ImageX
  • You can use the new Module Designer to create a custom module, which enables you to easily and automatically deploy custom software and device drivers to your devices. By creating modules in Module Designer, you can add files and programs to your module and specify how these files should be installed on your device. After creation, the module can be imported directly into ICE or IBW, so you can incorporate your custom module with the operating system modules that make up your device configuration. For more information, see Create Custom Modules.
  • You can run the ELM on the device to configure lockdown features on your device, or run it on the development computer to configure lockdown features on a remotely connected device. For information about ELM, see Embedded Lockdown Manager (ELM) Technical Reference.
  • You can run DDA on the device to output a list of dynamic dependencies for the device to use with Module Designer, or run it on the development computer to output a list of dynamic dependencies for a remotely connected device. For information about DDA, see Dynamic Dependency Analyzer (DDA) Technical Reference.
  • Run Module Designer on your development computer to create a custom module either from scratch or by using a file created by DDA. For more information about Module Designer, see Module Designer User Interface. For information about how to create a custom module, see Create Custom Modules.
  • Run Catman.exe on the development computer to either import an update, .wim file, module, or CBS package into a Standard 8 catalog, or to rebuild a Standard 8 catalog index file. For information about Module Designer, see Catalog Manager Technical Reference.
  • Windows Embedded Developer Update 1.2 (WEDU 1.2) 

Performance Analysis and Certification

  • The Assessment and Deployment Kit (ADK) is the new Windows end-to-end imaging kit that combines the tools and documentation needed to manufacture, deploy, customize, and maintain Windows as one deliverable for devices. For more information, see Windows Assessment and Deployment Kit (Windows ADK) Technical Reference on the Download Center.
  • DDA, a new command-line tool in the Standard 8 Toolkit, analyzes an application while it is running and creates a list of the dependencies being called. You can then import this list into Module Designer and then create a custom module to fulfill those dependencies. You can configure DDA to start and analyze applications, or you can attach it to an existing process to analyze that process. For more information, see Analyze Application Dependencies Using Dynamic Dependency Analyzer and Dynamic Dependency Analyzer (DDA) Technical Reference.
  • Hard linking between language packs reduces the size each language pack adds to a 64-bit image by removing the need for both the 32-bit and 64-bit versions of files inside the image. For information about languages, see Languages.
  • Manufacturers can now customize the Windows Help and Support home page, escalation page, browse page, supply logo, and links to support apps and websites. Manufacturer Help topics appear in the search results, and the manufacturer can launch apps from Windows Help and Support (support chat apps, for example). Manufacturers can send search queries to Windows Help and Support from external UI (for example, a user searches in the manufacturer's support assistance and the search is sent to Windows Help and Support). Manufacturer topics can now be authored in standard XHTML instead of a proprietary format. For more information, see HelpAndSupport.
  • Multimedia Class Scheduler Service (MMCSS) gives multimedia applications higher priority than other background services so that music and video playback is not disturbed. For more information, see MMCSS.
  • Windows System Assessment Tool (WinSAT) enables the users to view performance about the current performance and hardware capabilities of their device, including all non-removable drives on the system. For more information, see Performance Monitoring.

Deployment and Servicing

  • Windows Deployment Services (WDS) replaces Remote Installation Services (RIS). Use WDS to set up new computers through a network-based, unattended installation. For more information about WDS, see Setup and Windows Deployment Services on MSDN.

Windows Update

  • By using an Unattend.xml file that contains the details of a specific system to target, you can control which drivers to offer for the internal components of systems you own. For more information, see Unattended Servicing Command-Line Options.
  • Windows Update provides a new updating experience for users. If a user configured automatic update mode, notifications of update availability appears on the logon screen. The users will choose either to install security and definition updates or all important updates. Updates take effect when the device restarts, but there is now a grace period before the restart, allowing users to pick a time that is convenient for them. The time remaining is updated and displayed every time the user signs in. For more information about Windows Update, see Windows Update Standalone Installer.


  • Windows Sensor and Location provides a standard way to integrate sensor and location devices into the system and a standard programming interface so that applications can use them. These devices enable the system and applications to react to changes in ambient light, motion, human proximity, and location. Proximity, sensor, and location functionality also enables end users to use a tap gesture to establish a connection between peer applications on separate devices. The system can subscribe for and publish messages while devices are within range. For more information, see Proximity, Sensor and Location.
  • Users can connect two or more devices running Windows or Windows Embedded on a home network to automatically start sharing printers, media and document libraries with multiple people in the home. For more information, see HomeGroup.
  • The redesigned Task Manager enables users to end processes quickly and efficiently, and to diagnose performance issues and reclaim device resources. A larger view of the apps list displays detailed information about the resource usage in color-coded tiles to help draw the user's eye to items that use the bulk of a resource. The App history tab presents historical resource use (like network and CPU usage, for example) on a per-app basis for Windows 8 apps. Users can see a list of the apps that are set to start when they start up their device and can disable any app that they don’t want to start at startup time. They can also see information about the relative impact that each app has on the time it takes for the computer to start up. For information about Task Manager, see Task Manager.
  • The Windows Help and Support experience is modernized and now also uses content available on the Windows website. Help topics include links to the two most popular content forums on the Windows website (video and tutorials). For more information, see HelpAndSupport.


  • File History continually and transparently copies a user's most important data to unused storage on their computer, to a USB drive, or a drive shared across their network. If a user loses data, they simply open File History and find the file they want to recover. The File History explorer makes it easy to find not only lost files, but also previous versions of all of files File History protects, which are easily compared in the user interface so the user can select the version they want. For more information, see File History.
  • Users can use the new push-button reset to repair their devices quickly while preserving their data and important customizations. Instead of restoring the device back to some predefined settings, the user can roll the device back to a previous state and even save their data if desired. For more information, see Use Push Button Reset in Standard 8.


  • The following list shows the elements used in device lockdown:
    • Unified Write Filter (UWF) 
      • UWF antimalware support
      • UWF application support for System Center Endpoint Protection (SCEP/Forefront)
    • Standard 7 Compatibility Write Filters
      • File-Based Write Filter (FBWF) 
      • Enhanced Write Filter (EWF) 
    • Registry Filter
    • Dialog Filter
    • Keyboard Filter
    • Gesture Filter
    • Embedded Lockdown Manager (ELM) module and MMC snap-in tool
  • New Embedded Lockdown Manager (ELM) provides the following:
    • Enhanced connectivity UI can connect to multiple machines at the same time.
    • Many improvements to lockdown feature configuration.
    • Ability to export configuration settings to PowerShell scripts.
    For more information, see Embedded Lockdown Manager (ELM) Technical Reference.
  • UWF combines the functionality of both EWF and FBWF, which are available mainly for backwards compatibility. Improvements for UWF include:
    • Increased general reliability and stability.
    • Configurable in ICE.
    • Added disk-based mode for overlays.
    • Added UWF HORM functionality.
    • Added support for servicing a UWF-protected device.
    • Added support for updating and persisting antimalware signature files.
    • Added application support for SCEP/Forefront.
    For more information about write filters, see Write Filters Overview. For more information about UWF, see Unified Write Filter (UWF) Overview.
  • Gesture Filter enables you to individually block the new edge gestures available in Windows 8. For more information, see Gesture Filter Overview.


  • The following list shows the elements used in branding
    • Branded Screens
    • Unbranded Screens
    • Custom Logon
    • Unbranded Boot
    • Windows 8 Application Launcher 
  • Unbranded Boot suppresses Windows 8 brand elements during the device startup when the OS is loading. For more information, see Unbranded Boot Overview.
  • Custom Logon suppresses Windows 8 UI elements during the logon and shutdown sequences on a device UI. For information, see Custom Logon Overview.
  • You can start Windows 8 apps immediately after a user signs in to a Standard 8 device and restart the app when the app exits. You can launch different apps for different users. For more information, see Windows 8 Application Launcher Overview.

Standard 8 for Organizations

  • Administrators can use Trusted Platform Module (TPM)-based authentication to configure a device’s TPM chip to act as a smart card that provides two-factor authentications to their corporate network. For more information, see Trusted Platform Module (TPM) Support.
  • The Volume Activation Management Tool (VAMT) supports Microsoft Management Console 3.0, Active Directory Activation (ADA), and additional reporting, and lets organizations manage device activation using Multiple Activation Key (MAK) keys. For more information, see Manage Activation Using Volume Activation Management Tool and Activate a Device Over the Internet Using VAMT 3.0.
  • Using redesigned Task Manager, an administrator can view information about the apps running in other user accounts, including the resources being used by those apps (disk, network, memory, and CPU). Administrators can also sign other users out or manage their accounts. For information about Task Manager, see Task Manager.

The following table shows items that have been deprecated in Standard 8.

Feature area

Items deprecated

Command-line tools

  • PEimg
  • Intlcfg
  • Bootsect
  • drvload
  • Oscdimg
  • Wpeinit

Lockdown and Branding

  • SD Boot
  • WSDAPI for .NET
  • EWF/HORM. HORM was removed from EWF and is now only in UWF.
  • Bootable Windows USB Stack. This is now supported through Windows To Go devices. For more information, see Create an OS Image on a USB Flash Drive.
  • CD/DVD Boot. There is no longer specific support for CD/DVD Boot.
  • Enhanced Write Filter Boot Environment.

EWF API functions

  • EwfMgrActivateHORM. Use the methods and properties of the UWF_Filter WMI class instead.
  • EwfMgrDeactivateHORM. Use the methods and properties of the UWF_Filter WMI class instead
  • EwfMgrIsHORMActivated. Use the methods and properties of the UWF_Filter WMI class instead.

EWF class

  • HormActivated. Always returns false. Setting this property fails with an ERROR_NOT_SUPPORTED error.

EWF Manager

  • ActivateHorm
  • DeactivateHorm

EwfVolumeConfiguration Class

  • HormState. Always returns "Disabled".


  • CDefaultValue
  • GHideDefaultValue
  • GMenuDefaultValue
  • GOpenDefaultValue
  • IndexSearchFilesDefaultValue
  • IndexSearchFilesDefaultValue
  • NoSearchFilesDefaultValue
  • Start_SearchFiles
  • UserSearchFilesDefaultValue

FBWF API functions and settings

FBWF API structures and settings

  • FbwfCacheDetail
  • FbwfMemoryUsage

Graphics and multimedia

  • DirectMusic


  • WillShowUI


  • This feature and the child setting ReferralID.


  • ShowMediaCenter
  • SkipMachineOOBE. To skip the Welcome screens, either add values for Windows Welcome screens, or start in audit mode as described in Mode.
  • SkipUserOOBE
  • DefaultThemesOff


  • Gadget1
  • Gadget2
  • Gadget3
  • Gadget4
  • Gadget5
  • LayoutPosition
  • SidebarOnByDefault
  • SidebarVisible



  • -nosidgen. Use the Sysprep command /generalize instead.


  • TouchUI
  • TouchUISize


  • This feature and the child setting ServiceStartType.


  • This feature and the child setting ServiceStartType.