This is the first part in a 2-part series on how to install Microsoft Windows 10 IoT Core on an Internet-of-Things (IoT) device. This article will focus on the steps required to install Windows 10 IoT Core on a Raspberry Pi 3. Part 2 will focus on installation on an x86/x64 device.
What is Windows 10 IoT Core?
Windows 10 IoT Core is a version of Microsoft’s Windows 10 operating system that has been optimized for smaller devices that can run on either ARM or x86/x64 devices. These devices can run with or without a display device.
When we talk about the different IoT devices, the processor type needs some explanation. ARM devices are called Advanced RISC Machines, with RISC standing for Reduced Instruction Set Computer. What this means is that the processor has been slimmed down to only include a reduced set of commands it can process. While this means that the processor can’t do certain things, it requires a low amount of power to execute what it can do, so that translates to increased battery life. The Raspberry Pi is classified as an ARM device.
Devices with the x86/x64 architecture are classified as CISC processors, which stands for Complex Instruction Set Computer. These processors do not have their instruction sets slimmed down, so they can perform more complex operations, at the cost of increased power consumption (and therefore lower battery life). Intel’s Baytrail devices running the Intel Atom processor E3800 is an example of an x64 device.
Before you can install on the Raspberry Pi, you need to make sure you have a PC that is running Windows 10 1507 (version 10.0.10240) or higher. You can find out what version you are running by clicking on the search box (next to the Start button) and typing ‘winver’. This will display a dialog as shown here:
You will also need to download and install the Windows 10 IoT Core Dashboard from here.
Of course you will also need a Raspberry Pi device to install onto. There are several different kits available on Amazon – I used the Canakit Starter Kit here.
Finally, you will need an SD card reader so that you can write the installation files to the SD card that will be placed in the Raspberry Pi.
Once you have the prerequisites, you are now ready to begin the installation process.
First off, run the Windows 10 IoT Core Dashboard program, and click on Set up a new device from the menu on the left. This will display a screen that allows you to select the Device Type, OS Build and other information to configure as part of the installation.
Select Broadcomm [Raspberry Pi 2 & 3] as the Device Type, and Windows 10 IoT Core (17134) as the OS Build. You can also select Windows Insider Preview or Custom if you want to install a preview build of Windows 10 IoT Core, or a custom image file (flash.ffu file).
Next, insert your SD card into the Windows 10 PC you are using. Be aware that your SD card should be at least 8GB in size and I prefer formatting it prior to this step (this is optional – understand that the installation process will overwrite any pre-existing data on the SD card). The IoT Core Dashboard program should recognize the SD card and display it in the Drive selection.
You can then enter values for the Device Name and Password, and whether you want to use a Wi-Fi Network Connection when the Raspberry Pi starts up with our installation.
Check the box to accept the software license term and click on the Download and Install button. This will begin the installation process. During this process, Windows 10 IoT Core will be downloaded and the installation process will flash the files to the SD card.
If you see a prompt for UAC (User Access Control), click Yes to continue. The process may then open a command window to clean the SD card (if you had something on it previously) before it flashes the new installation onto it.
The installation process will then run the DISM program (Deployment Image Servicing and Management tool) to flash the installation files onto your SD card.
Once this is complete, the command window will close, and IoT Core Dashboard will state that your SD card is ready to be placed in the Raspberry Pi and started up.
Eject the SD card from your PC and place it in your Raspberry Pi. Connect an HDMI cable to a display source (monitor) and then plug in the power to start the device. If you didn’t choose to use a Wi-Fi network connection on startup you will need to plug in an Ethernet cable if you want Internet access.
You will first see the Windows logo with a spinner when the device is first powered on:
Let the device power itself on, it usually takes a minute or two (and might reboot itself). Once you get to the following screen, plugin a USB mouse and make your language selection.
Clicking Next will display a screen asking if you want to configure Cortana – I selected Maybe Later.
Windows 10 IoT Core will then run the default application, which looks like this:
Congratulations! You have now completed the installation process and you have a standard Windows 10 IoT Core installation on your Raspberry Pi! You are now ready to begin deploying your applications to this device!