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Windows CE

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Windows CE
Company / developerMicrosoft Corporation
OS familyWindows CE
Working stateCurrent
Source modelClosed source (shared source kernel[1])
Latest stable release2013 / June 2013
Latest unstable release7.4 / 9 March 2012
Available language(s)Multilingual
Supported platformsx86, MIPS, ARM, SuperH
Kernel typeMonolithic kernel
Hybrid kernel
LicenseProprietary software(Microsoft EULA)
Official websiteWindows CE

Windows CE (also known officially as Windows Embedded Compact post version 6.0,[2][3] and sometimes abbreviated WinCE) is Microsoft's operating system for embedded devices and minimal computers. Windows CE is a different operating system and kernel. It is not a trimmed-down version of desktop Windows. It is not Windows XP Embedded which is NT-based.

The Zune portable media player, as well as the Windows Mobile and Windows Phone 7 smartphone platforms are based on Windows CE.

Version 8, or Windows Embedded Compact 2013, released in June 2013 is the only still supported version (until October 10, 2023).


Version Changes
1.0 Released in November 1996 [MSCE1].[4] Codenames "Pegasus/Alder".[5]
  • Devices named "handheld PC" (HPC).[4]
2.0 Released in September 1997 [MSCE2].[4] Codename "Birch".[5]
  • Devices named "Palm-sized PC".[4]
  • Real-time deterministic task scheduling.
  • Architectures: ARM, MIPS, PowerPC, StrongARM, SuperH and x86.
  • 32-bit color screens.
  • SSL 2.0 and SSL 3.0.
3.0 Released in June 2000 [MSCE3].[4] Codename "Cedar".[5]
  • Major recode that made CE hard real time down to the microsecond level.
  • Base for the Pocket PC 2000, Pocket PC 2002 and Smartphone 2002.[4]
  • Priority levels was increased from 8 to 256.[4]
  • Object store was increased from 65 536 to 4,19 million allowed objects.[4]
  • Restricted access to critical APIs or restricting write access to parts of the registry.[4]
4.x Released in January 2002 [MSCE4].[4] Codename "Talisker/Jameson/McKendric".[5]

Changed the driver structure a lot. And added Features.

  • Base for "Pocket PC 2003".[4]
  • Bluetooth support.[4][6]
  • TLS (SSL 3.1), IPsec L2TP VPN, or Kerberos.[4]
5.0 Released in August 2004.[5] Adds lots of features. Codename "Macallan".[5]
  • Automatic report of bugs to the manufacturer.[7]
  • Direct3D Mobile, a COM-based version of Windows XP's DirectX multimedia API.[7]
  • DirectDraw for 2D graphics and DirectShow for camera and video digitisation support.[7]
  • Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) support.[8]
6.x Released in September 2006. Codename "Yamazaki".[5]
  • Process address space is increased from 32 MB to 1 GB.
  • Number of processes has been increased from 32 to 32 768.[9]
  • User mode and kernel mode device drivers are possible.
  • Device.exe, filesys.exe, GWES.exe has been moved to Kernel mode.
  • SetKMode and set process permissions not possible.
  • System call performance improved.[10]