The software maker announced the release Tuesday at the Embedded Systems Conference in San Jose, Calif. Equipment manufacturers use the OS to build specialized products, such as thin clients, digital signage and industrial controls.
A major advantage of Windows Embedded, first introduced in September 2009, is its built-in connectivity with Windows-based PCs, servers and online services.
"With the release of Windows Embedded Standard 7, Microsoft has furthered its commitment to the integration of Windows 7 technologies in the specialized consumer and enterprise device markets by providing OEMs with the latest innovative technologies to differentiate through rich, immersive user experiences and streamlined connectivity," Kevin Dallas, general manager of the Windows Embedded Business Unit at Microsoft, said in a statement.
Microsoft has added Windows Media Center to the embedded OS, making it possible for use in centralized home media hubs that can connect to set-top boxes, media devices and televisions, and manage content from the Internet, broadcast TV and personal libraries of photos, music and video.
Applications and drivers for Windows 7 work on the embedded version of the OS. In addition, the Windows Embedded offers support for Active Directory and for Microsoft Windows management software.
Other features include desktop technology, such as Internet Explorer 8, Windows Media Player 12, Remote Desktop Protocol 7, Silverlight 3 and .Net Framework 3.5 SP1.
Manufacturers that plan to begin shipping products with Windows Embedded Standard 7 include AOpen, C-nario, DT Research, Micro Industries and YCD Multimedia, which will use the OS for digital signage; Hewlett-Packard and Wyse Technology, for thin clients, and Heber, for industrial control systems.